Classic shaving may seem outdated to some, a thing of the past filled with shaving stories and common myths. However, this could not be further from the truth. With the introduction of disposable razors, have we prioritized convenience over a proper shave?
The data suggests that this may be the case. Today, 85% of men prefer to wet shave with straight razors and double-edged razors. The search for the perfect shave has come full circle, and we are now in the age of the renaissance of classic shaving like your grandfather and father used to do. In the past decade, the wet shave industry has grown to become a $20 billion industry, according to Statista.
While some myths may be partially based on facts, the reality is that a comfortable shave depends on technique, and a clean shave requires experience. It could be argued that the art of shaving is more important than the tools used, no matter what type of shaving gear you choose. While a traditional wet shave may take a little extra time, most men become highly efficient wet shavers over time. Let us shed some light on the myths and realities surrounding these infamous shaving myths.
What Is The Point Of A Wet Shave?
There are several misconceptions about classic shaving that are often perpetuated in tales and myths. These include the belief that a classic shave does not provide a close shave, causes ingrown hairs, razor bumps, razor burns, and skin irritations, is dangerous and prone to cuts, requires special and expensive razors and gear, and has a steep learning curve that discourages non-traditional shavers.
However, classic razors offer something that cartridge razors cannot: the opportunity to take a little time for yourself, to focus and plan for the day, and to indulge in the experience of using a high-quality blade. It doesn't matter if you are an occasional wet shaver, a beginner, or an expert —the experience of a morning wet shave can be the perfect way to start your day. That's the point.
14 Common Shaving Myths And Facts Revealed
1. The Shaving Brush Is A Thing Of The Past
With the shaving foam and shaving gel industry valued at almost $500 million since 2022, many people may think that there is no longer a need for the traditional whipping tool—the shaving brush. While foams and gels in aerosol cans are becoming more popular due to their convenience and affordability, shaving brushes still offer some benefits, even if they are your preference.
For example, shaving brushes blend the ingredients of shaving cream and shaving soap better, providing increased hydration and even distribution of skin-healthy nutrients on the surface of your skin. Additionally, using a brush allows you to apply the cream or soap without having to touch it, preventing a mess. A steady grip on the brush also allows for more precise shaving and reduces the risk of dropping the razor or losing grip on the handle.
2. Wet Shaving Stimulates Beard Growth
Science has shown that the only things that can affect your beard growth are your genetics and your body's natural beard-growing capabilities. However, the vitamins and nutrients in wet shaving products like oils, soaps, and creams, which contain essential oils and natural extracts, can help keep your skin and hair healthy, which can, in turn, promote better beard growth.
For example, tamanu oil can stimulate beard growth by providing antioxidants and other nutrients that nourish the skin and hair follicles, as well as vitamins A, B, and E, which can all support healthy facial hair growth.
3. Classic Razors Are Antiquated
Interestingly, the most common wet shaving tools are the oldest razors: straight razors and DE razors. This may be why some people feel that classic razors need to be updated with features that do not match the current generation's shaving needs.
However, many brands like DOVO and Thiers Issard, which have been making razors for centuries, continue to create modern and innovative designs that offer better results than today's modern razors. And with their years of experience in crafting high-quality razors, you can be assured that the quality will be the best you've ever experienced.
4. Shaving Cream And Soaps Are Expensive
Many wet shaving products today still adhere to their classical roots by being made from natural ingredients and produce using traditional and artisanal techniques. As a result, these shaving creams and soaps often have a higher price compared to mass-produced and synthetic alternatives found in most retail stores. Despite the cost, shaving soaps and creams last for more uses and provide a more beneficial shaving experience.
5. Shaving With A Classic Razor Like A Straight Razor Or Safety Razor Is Difficult And Takes A Long Time
There is no denying that shaving with a straight razor or a safety razor does require some learning. It can take a lot of practice and patience to master the technique of using these razors, which some people may not be willing to invest.
However, if you are an avid shaver who shaves every day or a few times a week, going through the learning phases will be easier. You will soon master the techniques. Remember, you were once unsure of how to use a cartridge razor for the first time as well. Every tool has its own learning curve.
6. Wet Shaving Is Damaging To Your Skin
This myth stems from the belief that water further dehydrates the skin. However, dermatologists say that prolonged exposure to hot water can strip the skin's natural oils, leading to dry skin, which is more difficult to shave. Wet shaving products can help mitigate these risks.
To keep your skin hydrated and protected from damage, use a pre-shave oil before shaving and follow it with a nourishing shave soap that provides extra hydration. The oil helps create a protective barrier between the skin and the razor, while the shave soap is formulated to provide extra hydration for the skin.
7. Wet Shaving Causes Skin Irritation
The reality of this wet shaving myth is that shaving with a traditional razor blade can irritate the skin due to the bluntness of the blade and its difficulty in moving smoothly across the skin. While the traditional wet shaving process can often provide a closer shave than dry shaving, it also carries a risk of skin irritation, such as razor burn or rash.
To debunk this myth, make sure to keep your straight-edge razor blade sharp and always use a sharp double-edge blade if using a safety razor for wet shaving.
8. The More Blades, The Closer The Shave
Misconceptions about the relation of the number of blades to the closeness of one's shaving result are the most common shaving myth. This is expected as many modern razor brands have established through their marketing claims that more blades give a closer shave, and the truth is: it is not.
What more blades actually give you is more irritation. Some dermatologists think that the five-blade design is too much since more blades mean more friction, and friction makes the skin irritated. Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Ezra Kest recommends that patients not use more than two blades because "when you add more blades, there's a greater chance of nicks and razor burn."
On the other hand, traditional razors only have one blade that you can easily bevel on the skin for the perfect angle you need to get a truly close shave. It can give you a baby butt smooth result in one to two passes, hence lessening the risk of shaving irritation, making it perfect for shaving on sensitive skin.
9. A Razor Blade Should Be Changed Weekly
Whether dry shaving or wet shaving, you probably wonder how often you should change your razor blades. Some people claim that a razor blade should be changed weekly, but the reality is that you should change blades as soon as you notice any sign of dullness, like tugging and rough gliding on the skin and hair.
However, generally, disposable cartridge razors and multi-blade razors last up to 6 weeks if not used daily, shavette and DE razor blades last 1-7 weeks depending on how often you shave, and straight razors that are stropped before use can stay sharp for months with occasional honing every 3-6 months.
10. Using New And Sharp Razor Blades Increases The Risk Of Nicks And Cuts
New razors can be intimidating due to their sharpness. Therefore, it is important to be cautious and pay attention to any nicks or cuts when using a new blade. The only time a new razor is likely to cut or cause harm while shaving is when it is not used properly. To avoid nicks, it is best to use your razor, whether new or old, with care. However, if you tend to shave aggressively, you are more likely to injure yourself.
11. Facial Hair Doesn't Need To Be Washed As Often
Contrary to popular belief, washing your hair frequently does not cause damage. In fact, dermatologists and trichologists agree that washing your hair every day is the best thing you can do for it unless you have extremely dry, coarse hair. Washing your hair regularly helps to replenish oils and prevent the build-up of oil and grease, which can cause odor and support the growth of yeast that leads to dandruff and flat hair. It is impossible to "overwash" your hair, as oil molecules are too large to penetrate the hair and simply sit on its surface.
12. Aftershaves Are Just Colognes
Using aftershaves is an often overlooked part of a man's shaving routine, but they are essential for wet shavers. Aftershaves come in various forms, including balms, lotions, and splashes, each of which provides different benefits. Aftershave balms have the thickest consistency and are great for dry skin, while aftershave lotions, which are thicker than colognes but less thick than balms, are best for normal skin types. Aftershave colognes have the lightest consistency and are suitable for oily skin due to their astringent properties, but keep in mind that colognes contain the most alcohol. Alternatively, natural aftershaves, such as witch hazel and alum, can be used for those who prefer alcohol-free skincare products.
13. Wet Shaving Gives The Same Results As Dry Shaving
Some people believe that dry shaving and wet shaving produce the same quality results, but this is a myth. In reality, wet shaving provides a superior shave. Dermatologists recommend against dry shaving and recommend shaving when the skin and hair are soft, which can be achieved by shaving after a warm shower or by placing a warm towel over the beard. Using shave soap and pre-shave oil can help to hydrate the skin and prepare it for the razor. The initial cost and learning curve of wet shaving may be intimidating, but the results are worth it.
14. Only Licensed Barbers Can Use Straight Razors
It is true. Straight razors can only be used for commercial and professional purposes by licensed barbers, who are required by law to hold a license for their use. This regulation was implemented due to concerns that unclean straight razors could spread diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. Some places also require barbershops to use autoclaves to clean their straight razors. However, owning a straight razor for personal use at home does not require a license from any governing body. Many men are drawn to collecting straight razors due to the benefits of wet shaving, which are numerous and not to be missed due to myths and misconceptions.
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