#153: Go old timey for a year and only shave using a straight razor.
Due Date: 6-2-2015
Resolution: Is it just me or do all guys have a fascination with straight razor shaving? I think for me, it started when I was a kid, watching cartoons. I found every animated step in the process to be a magical mix of mystery and danger.
The steaming hot moist towel that's been know to wipe a customer's features clear off their face in more than one occasion.
The barber running the blade back and forth over the leather strap, his focus on the conversation without a second thought about this weapon that's getting sharper and sharper with ever absent minded flick of the wrist.
The foaming lather that magical meringues when whipped with that tiny brush.
Then there's the shave. As a youngin' I didn't fully understand how the safe guarded disposable razors were not a hazard to ones life let alone a straight razor. Every depiction of shaving in film and television, no matter what the technique, ends with blood.
Granted this blood is usually from tiny nicks but at the time I felt cutting yourself was an inevitable part of shaving and couldn't see how using a straight razor wouldn't end up taking off an entire layer of skin in the process.
Now that I'm older I understand the concept behind shaving with a straight razor just a tad bit better. I'm still fascinated by every step in the process and want to give it a shot. Sure I can go to a barber that offers a straight razor shave but then I would miss out on performing all the other steps in the process.
So, for the next year, whether I'm cleaning up my beard or taking it off I will do so with a straight razor and all the rituals involved.
Update #1: The Conclusion.
First off, It's probably been about a decade since I've been completely shaven. I openly admit that I us my beard to hide my double chin and various other flaws on my fat face, but I resolved to shave with a straight razor, so shave with a straight razor I did.
I've had the straight razor for quite a while now. Up until tonight I only used it to shave patches of hair from my forearm just to see how it works. My arm hair came off pretty easy and painlessly so I thought this was going to be a walk in the park.
Then tonight I moved up to the face. Using the brush to apply the lather was fun but boy howdy, did the actual shaving hurt. I'm sure part of the problem is that the razor may have needed to be sharpened. Though it's not in the photo I do have a leather sharpening strap that I tried to use, but I'm not sure it I did it right.
I think another problem was that I didn't trim down my facial hair first. When I do shave with a Gillette that has a billion blade I trim down with clippers first. I was just afraid that would be considered cheating in this case so I just went at it.
It took me a while to figure out how to hold the razor to get the right angles needed to remove the hair. I got my cheeks nice and shaved but when I moved to the mustache, chin and neck it felt like the razor was just yanking out the hair. At that point I brought out the clippers to trim things down before moving on. With the shorter hairs things went a little more smoothly as I finished things up.
I doubt that I'll never use my straight razor again but more because I like just having facial hair. Where or not I do use the straight razor ever again, I did use it the one time I shaved this year, so this resolution is a success.