A Grown Man’s Guide To Wet Shaving

About Wet Shaving

Traditional wet shaving is a philosophy. It embraces minimalism, an appreciation for beauty and the environment, mindfulness, ritual and the sheer bliss of finding joy in the mundane.  

Grown Man Shave has a humble yet ambitious goal: to help you transform the daily chore of shaving into an exquisite ritual. I believe that traditional shaving can help men start their day fresh, confident and relaxed, ready to take on the world.

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Getting Started

Getting started is simple!  You don’t need much of an initial investment—only a small one.  

This investment repays itself many times over not only economically and environmentally... but in sheer satisfaction.   To get started you’ll need a safety razor, a shaving brush and some shaving soap or shaving cream and you are ready to start wet shaving and improving your morning.

Which products to start with can often be confusing.  Our advice is to start small; you can pick up the Rockwell R1 Safety Razor and Rockwell Synthetic Brush for under $30 and see if wet shaving is for you.  Sampler packs of soaps and creams, and sampler packs of razor blades are a good way to go to see what works best for your skin.   

 

A Grown Man's Guide to Wet Shaving from Grown Man Shave

 

How to Shave

Preparation, Hydration

Relax and enjoy the process.

Your facial hairs can soak up to about a third of their volume in water. This softens and makes your whiskers pliable, ensuring a smoother, easier shave. If you shower in hot water before shaving, this’ll happen naturally. Alternatively, you could apply a hot, wet towel to your face for a couple minutes (this feels really nice and relaxing!). Regardless of how you accomplish hydration, it’s good to wash your face and neck well with a good facial soap first for cleanliness and to remove dead skin cells.

Many wet shavers massage a pre-shave gel, lotion or oil to further moisturize their skin and beard, prepare their face for shaving and ensure an even better razor glide across their skin.  A favorite of shavers on Grown Man Shave is D.R. Harris’s Almond Oil which make an excellent preshave treatment and will nourish your skin and improve your complexion.

 

A Grown Man's Guide to Wet Shaving from Grown Man Shave

The Lather, Make It Creamy!

It’s time to whip up a good lather!

badger shaving brush has hairs that will absorb water and soften just like your facial whiskers. So fill your shaving bowl, mug or whatever vessel you have appropriated for this purpose with hot water before you shower or apply a wet towel, leaving the brush inside to soak in the meanwhile. You could also use your wash basin for this. Squeeze the water out of your badger brush, leaving in enough to keep it damp but not dripping water.

If you have a synthetic brush, you only need to wet it.  

If you have a puck of hard soap, whip up the lather directly on it, using circular motions (for about a minute). With cream, dab about a dime’s worth into your bowl, add a few drops of water and use circular motions to whip up a lather in the bowl. You could also load your brush with soap or cream and build the lather directly on your face, adding drops of water as you go.  With soft soaps you can build your lather directly in the soap’s tub. Whip up your lather with quick circular motions as if you’re beating an egg.

It takes a little practice to get a shiny, slick, hydrated and protective lather.   Don’t get discouraged. You want to be getting a yogurt-like consistency, so add water or soap as necessary. Don’t worry if it’s more like a thick smoothie or melted ice-cream initially—you’ll get it right after a few shaves.  If you need more advice here is a good video on how to build the perfect lather.  

Once you have your lather, apply it liberally on your face and neck, and work it into the hairs.  It’s good to let it sit for a few minutes before shaving so take the opportunity to brush your teeth.

 

A Grown Man's Guide to Wet Shaving from Grown Man Shave

 

The Shave, Let Gravity Do The Work!

You’ll notice that your safety razor has a reassuring heft and a nice balance to it. It’s extremely important that you let its weight and gravity do the work, rather than dragging and pulling it across your face.

Holding the razor at about a forty-five-degree angle to your face, make contact and let it glide down in slightly overlapping passes.  Avoid the desire to repeat strokes over skin that is no longer covered in lather. There will be an opportunity to lather up and get any areas you missed.

A decent blade should last for around five shaves. You’ll know it’s time to put in a fresh one when it starts pulling, instead of shearing, your hair. One easy way to make sure you’re using both sides of the blade evenly is to rotate the handle between each pass so that you’re using the other edge (remember, unlike disposable razors, both sides of a safety razor can be used, hence the “double-edge” in the name).

There’s a lot of advice out there about going with, against, or in all kinds of configurations in relation to the grain.   A simple technique that works well is to shave with the grain, across the grain and then finally, and optionally, against the grain.   You’ll want to build a mental map of your hair growth so you can follow this; with, across and against approach. If you are prone to ingrown hairs then you may want to skip the last pass.  Unlike disposable, many-bladed razors, you will need to make a few passes. Your goal shouldn't be to complete your shave in one pass

Once you start getting the hang of it, feel free to experiment with different angles and directions to see what gives you the closest and most comfortable shave.

If you cut yourself (and really, we all have in the beginning, it’s okay!), an alum block will stymie the flow of blood and act as a natural antiseptic.   You can this for more about how to use an alum block here.

If you are more of a visual person there is a great series of tutorial videos.

IMPORTANT! Don’t check your phone, invest in the stock market, check the latest bitcoin price or hold a conversation while you do this! It’s not just about handling a sharp object, but you want to be enjoying this! Remember, it’s about philosophy, mindset. Slowing down, making it into a meditative ritual, a pause in the day you enjoy and look forward to, a time all your own.

Grown Man's Guide to Wet Shaving

 

Post-Shave Skincare

Wash with cold water to soothe and tighten the skin and wash away any remaining lather and shorn hairs.

This is a great time to apply a soothing, natural aftershave followed by a moisturizing cream.  These will not only nourish and hydrate your skin, but protect it throughout the day.  Add your favorite eau de cologne or eau de toilette.

Grown Man's Guide to Wet Shaving

Congratulations!

If everything went according to plan, you should be looking at a handsome man in the mirror whose skin is baby-smooth!

Make sure you’ve cleaned both your razor and brush carefully. If you have a stand, leave them suspended to dry out fully until your next shave. You could also use a fresh, dry towel for this. If you have kids, make sure all your stuff is out of reach.

If you have questions, are not sure what products are best for you or want personalized recommendations, please contact us and we would be glad to help you find the perfect shaving set-up to get you started with wet shaving.

 

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