A few months ago I came across a blog post and accompanying video on the Art of Manliness website called “How To Shave Like Your Grandpa”. I decided I would skim through it, but I had no idea it was about to change my life. At the ripe old age of 22, I have come to terms with the fact that I am a man who has not been burdened with an overabundance of facial hair. Thankfully my sideburns came in complete so I could hide some of the baby face, but the rest is a follicle purgatory stuck somewhere between patchy and complete beard. Because of this, regular shaving is a mandatory part of my routine. To add to the shame of not being able to grow a beard like all other males in my family, I suffer from razor burn and bumps after every shave. Well, I should say that I used to prior to reading that blog post. Here are my reasons why you need to save your skin and switch to the safety razor:
1) It’s Just Fun
The process of shaving with a safety razor turned a daunting task into a fun exercise that boosted my confidence and made me feel extra manly. You begin with soaking your brush in hot water while you take your shower. After that, you get to lather up the brush with either shave soap or a cream. Swirling the warm, soapy brush on your face is one of the best feelings in the world. It’s the swirling of the bristles that lift your whiskers off your face, a key component to preventing razor burn. Next, holding a solid piece of metal craftsmanship in your hands and gliding the blade gently down your face provides a feeling of cleanliness surpassed only by a cold shower after an afternoon of yard work. Lastly, splashing the aftershave on your face refreshes you and doesn’t hurt like Home Alone would lead you to believe.
2) It Prevents Razor Burn
Modern razors advertise that more blades equal a better shave. That is a bald headed lie. You only need one of those 5 blades to cut the hair and then the other 4 just tear up your skin. Holding a safety razor for the first time can be intimidating since there is just one very sharp blade, but after all, they are called safety razors for a reason so relax. Keep in mind that preparation is the key to prevention. Follow the steps listed on the AoM post and you’ll be just fine. The keys to a good safety razor shave are “beard reduction, not removal” and “don’t go against the grain”.
3) You’ll Save A Lot Of Money
Cartridges for modern razors can run anywhere from $4-$8 a piece and last maybe 2 weeks with regular use. The average blade for a safety razor costs $0.15 a piece. Amazon sells packs of 100 blades for around $12 for crying out loud! So an $8 cartridge lasting 2 weeks will cost you $208 annually, not including shave gel. A safety razor blade lasting the same amount of time will set you back $3.90 annually. On top of that, modern shave gels are a mix of chemicals that come pressurized in a can and do not last very long. A bar of shave soap to be lathered by your brush can last well over a year and will only set you back a few bucks per bar.
4) You Can Carry On A Legacy
Chances are that you can go talk to your grandfather or other sentimental relatives and ask for their safety razor. These razors are machines built to last and he probably has his stored away somewhere if he isn’t using it. By using a family razor with a new blade, not only saves money on purchasing a new razor, but you can pass this heirloom and tradition on to your son. When I approached my dad about this, he gave me his grandfather’s Gillette Safety Razor that dated to 1920. But should you not have access to an heirloom razor, head on out to some antique shops and see what they have. I picked up another Gillette razor that was covered in soap scum and Lord knows what else for $6 and restored it to like-new with some whitening toothpaste and elbow grease. As it turns out, this razor was one of the razors distributed to American soldiers during the First World War. I felt like a true patriot when I shaved with my newly restored 100-year-old razor and got one of the best shaves of my life.