Do you want the instant gratification of buying something in a local store for a cheap shave? If you are willing to make some compromises it is possible.
Getting A Cheap Shave
In a previous article I discussed how you could get a good “traditional” shave inexpensively with products purchased online. But what if you don’t have the patience to wait for those products to be shipped? What if you want the instant gratification of buying something in a local store and using for a cheap shave right away? There are actually a few options available to you, assuming you are willing to make some compromises, for a cheap shave (that’s still a good shave).
You may think the key to an cheap shave is a cheap razor but it’s actually the blade. The typical razor cartridge from the store runs around $4 while a double edge blade goes for about a buck…and a lot less than that when bought in bulk. Do the math.
And a single blade can work just as well as a multi-blade cartridge…and in some circumstances can be even better. You just need to adjust your shave technique to use it effectively. More on that later.
One thing you do need to know about though is that double edge razor blades may all look the same but can actually have very different specifications–different metallurgy, coatings, and blade edge grinding. So it is important that you try several brands of blades. You’ll probably find that some work better for you than others.
Of course you’ll need a razor to slip those blades into. Unfortunately, your “brick and mortar” options are pretty limited here. Unless you live in a large city with access to specialty stores, you’re probably only going to find one or two brands of double edge razors in the big “megamarts”–either the Van Der Hagen double edge razor or the Micro Touch One double edge razor. Both are based off the same design, and neither are particularly well-built, but they will be good enough to get the job done. If you have a Target store in your area it would be worth checking to see if they carry the Bevel shaving line. While the Bevel razor is more expensive than the Van Der Hagen or Micro Touch One razors, it’s a much better-build tool and probably worth the higher cost in the long term.
Cheap Creams and Soaps
OK, you’ve found an inexpensive razor and blade, but you’re still not quite done. You’ll need some kind of lubrication for that blade edge to glide across. Don’t get that one dollar can of pressurized goo: it may be a cheap price up front but you won’t be doing your skin or the environment any favors. Spend a bit more to get a product that works effectively. Some good choices that are widely available include Cremo Cream, Pacific Shaving, and Kiss My Face. You may even want to try a shave soap, though you will need a shaving brush to use it properly (and the creams I just mentioned will work even better when applied with a brush).
Like double edge razors, your local options for a shaving brush will also probably be quite limited. More than likely you’ll probably find an inexpensive Van Der Hagen brush. It would be OK to use but you will probably want to upgrade to something better. Cremo Cream recently launched a shaving brush and if you have a Target Store nearby you may find the Bevel shave brush. Those two brushes worth the slightly higher cost if you’re trying to find something in a brick and mortar store.
Luckily aftershave products is an area where you will probably find a pretty decent, inexpensive, widely available option. Just look for an aftershave balm that doesn’t have alcohol as a major ingredient.
How To Get A Cheap Shave With A Double Edge Razor
Shaving technique with a double edge razor is a little different different than a cartridge razor. The main thing is the importance of maintaining the correct angle between the blade edge and the skin. Cartridge razors set this angle for you, and you don’t have much control over it. You must set the angle yourself with a double edge razor. One way to set the angle is to hold the razor so the handle is parallel to the floor, then rock the head down until the blade edge just makes contact with the skin. Then lock your wrist and move your arm as a unit to maintain the angle. You will have to adjust your arm slightly as you move over the various contours of the skin.
It’s also important to use as little pressure as possible on the razor. Just let the razor glide along the skin without pressing down.
You have have learned that you should shave in the direction the hair grows in–the “grain.” This is particularly important if you use a cartridge razor but if you’re using a razor with a single blade you may be able to cheat a little bit, as long as the stubble isn’t too long. While you’re learning to shave with a double edge razor, try just taking strokes that are straight down. You may not get the closes shave right away but it will help you learn to maintain a proper blade angle. If you find yourself getting some razor burn or irritation then try shaving with the grain, but you don’t have to be a slave to it.
Follow these guidelines and take a look at the rest of the videos on my Youtube channel and the Sharpologist website for a ton more information on how to shave properly!