7:22:12 Old-School Shaving

The last time I used double-edged shaving blades is time out of mind. I know, however, I was never tempted by Gillette's heavily promoted blade cartridge systems. It seemed but an ongoing extension of the "blades-and-razor" sales strategy pioneered by King Camp Gillette early in the 20th Century, securing a permanent place in textbooks on business marketing.

Instead, when I gave up on double-edged blades, I converted to Bic disposables. Cheap, convenient, if indifferent, tools for the job.

I've been on autopilot with plastic disposables ever since. In recent years, I've been shaving in the shower sans mirror.

Then my brother-in-law pointed out the merit of double-edged blade shaving: a small, affordable luxury to start one's day.

Plus, why add to America's two billion landfill-bound, disposable plastic razors each year?

Alas, not all old-school shaving tools are stocked in your local Walgreen's.

So here's my setup:

From eBay, a Weishi aluminum razor whose butterfly flaps open and close with twist of the knurled knob at the end of the shaft. Flown directly from Hong Kong, made in China, relatively light, good razor for one used to the lightness of plastic disposables.

For lather, the basic Williams Shaving Soap, still around. A boar bristle brush from Walgreen's. And the blades. Oh, the blades. I use a reasonable beginner blade (not aggressively sharp): the Dorco Platinum ST300 from Korea.

[weishi razor]

Shaving itself is the exquisite tension of letting the heft of the metal razor drift the blade across your beard. More a guiding action than the bad habit of dragging encouraged by plastic disposables.

The real secret to a good shave, though, is to find the blade whose sharpness matches your beard. This takes time. I'm working on a sampler pack (thanks again, eBay) for months of choice. Blades from Bangladesh, Egypt, Germany, India, Israel, Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Switzerland, and the UK. I'm leaving Japan's Feather brand for last. Supposedly the most aggressive, sharpest blade on the planet.

And to keep my blade use in check, my blades get special attention for extra shaves. When done, they come out of the razor, get rinsed off and patted dry. Then edges get a light coat of blade oil: generic mineral oil resists oxidation.

And why is this more satisfying? Well, there is the slowdown to start the day. You can't really rush without having some styptic-pencil events. But it's the finish: the splashes of cold water to wash away remaining lather. Your face feels great!

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The Cat at Light's End

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