Friday, December 3, 2010


This post is not about drinking but is a lifestyle entry.

I have been wetshaving for about 4 years, and I'll never look back.  Prior to that, I was a consumer of the Mach 3, which I thought at the time was a fantastic innovation.  Now I realize it's all a sham.  Disclaimer: I don't want to offend anyone and how they perform their personal grooming, but I am very particular about my shaving.

What is wetshaving?  Wetshaving is shaving the way grandpa used to do it.  With a lot of hot water and a double edged safety razor.  For a detailed overview of wetshaving, check out this article by Corey Greenberg  I use some of his concepts and directions in this post.

I'll give you a quick "how to" and include some product recommendations.  All products I name can be purchased either at and/or on Amazon.  The biggest distinction between modern shaving and wetshaving for me is the use of a double edged (DE) safety razor.  Prior to DE, men were using a single edged blade like Sweeney Todd uses to slice open his victim's throats.  The DE safety razor is the pinnacle of shaving technology; all of the other stuff only appeared because the razorblade patent ran out and Gillette had to pretend it was improving it's technology.  First with disposables, then adding a blade, etc. until we wound up with these bizarre vibrating razors with 9 blades and moisturizers, etc., etc.  What a crock.  All you need is one good, sharp blade.  And the DE safety provides that in a, well, safe manner.

Ideally you want to shower first to open your pores and get your skin ready for the shave.  Personally, I shower after shaving so as not to deal with a fogged up mirror and also to post wash my face to seal up any minor nicks.  If you don't shower first then definitely wash your face with hot water before shaving.  I use Musgo Lime Oil face soap from Portugal.  It does a fantastic job of cleansing my oily Italian face without drying it out.  I also use it post shave and sometimes just in general.  With a clean, damp, warm/hot face, you are ready to proceed.  Your initial tools: a mug, some quality shave cream, and a badger hair shaving brush.  Over the counter you can find boar hair brushes pretty readily, but badger hair is so much more luxurious it's worth the initial investment.  I got my Vulvix brand British made brush in the $40 range.  If I had it to do over I would spend $50-$75 and get a bigger brush to hold more lather but my brush works just fine.  As far as cream, if you want value go with Proraso, an Italian cream you can get for around $9.  It sounds expensive until you realize it will last you months and months.  Proraso also makes a nice pre/post shave cream that makes for a better shave but it's an unnecessary step, especially if you upgrade your cream a bit.  I use Truefitt and Hill's West Indian Limes, it's a few bucks more than Proraso for sure, but provides a fantastic lather and scent, and the tube or tub lasts quite a while.  Dip your brush in hot water and let it drip for a few seconds.  Then work up some lather in the mug with the cream.  Depending on if you have a tub or tube of cream you may put some cream directly on the brush or squeeze some into the mug.  The idea is to combine hot water with the cream using the brush and a mug.  Spread it on your face, as you apply the lather should increase and should be thick and rich.  It takes a while to learn the right amount of cream to use.  Then use your DE razor and hack away.  Just kidding.  The DE razor is safe, but it is sharp, as well.  Modern razors are designed for laziness, classic razors for precision.  You don't need to press hard, but don't be afraid to let the blade work.  Again, practice makes perfect.  As far as the razor, I use a German Merkur brand razor that is a replica of the Gillete 1904 original safety razor.  I got it for around $25.  I would actually recommend a bigger handled razor, maybe the Merkur Hefty Classic for a better grip and control.  For the blades, my favorite are the Feather brand, I think they are the most delicate as far as getting a close shave.  If your skin can tolerate it, after shaving once lather up again and go against the grain for a very close shave.  I love doing this I feel it makes my shave lasts a bit longer.  Then use a quality aftershave or moisturizer.  I use the Truefitt and Hill West Indian Limes to pair with the cream I use.  I prefer a balm to an alcohol based aftershave, but it's your face, maybe you like the burn.  The alcohol does heal up any nicks if you can tolerate it.  Like I said, I just rewash using a facesoap that has trace alcohol.

It sounds a bit overwhelming at first.  And yes, it will add a few minutes to your routine.  And costs around $100-150 to get started.  But once you do, you can buy replacement blades for around 50 cents.  Compare that to a few bucks for Mach 3 replacement heads.  You will enjoy shaving this way, reduce if not eliminate bumps and razor burn, and feel like Cary Grant.  Wetshaving feels like an upgrade, but it's actually a return.  A return to something better.  It's like being told all your life to order steak well done because it's safer, and then eating a medium rare steak by mistake--no pun intended--and realize you've been missing out on life.  Or drinking Bud Light for years and than having your first craft beer.  Or like traveling to a new country and gaining an entirely different worldview.  I think you get the picture.  Also, if you ever get the chance to get a straight razor barber shop shave, do it.  Nothing like a hot towel on your face to prep for a perfect shave.

A note on travel: They sell travel brushes, etc.  But I usually just get by on my travels with a disposable razor and some cheap cream.  I don't want to have to worry about leaving my razor in the hotel or packing my mug and brush or buying travel versions of everything I own.  And while I hate shaving with disposable razors, it makes me appreciate the classic shave when I get home all that much more.


  1. I've got a few videos on how to shave like this, it might help those new to traditional wetshaving:

  2. you're really opening up the blog to all areas of life now. I guess if you're covering personal health maybe you'd like to get into entertainment as well. Perhaps a post of favorite always sunny episodes or reasons the Eagles could win the superbowl.
    also, after that post of cary grant and italian moisturizers, i'm ashamed that i shave with a crappy vibrating 12 bladed razor.

  3. everytime i look at that bottle of truefitt hill i think of tullamore dew

  4. Brad,
    Don't feel bad about your shaving habits. You've just been overtaking by the ad men haha. If you wanted to try this out cheaply they sell most of the stuff at grocery stores, but like I said it will be a boar brush and much cheaper shave soaps so not a true indicator of how good a shave can be.

    Yeah I plan to do some posting about some entertainment and whatnot. Part of it is I haven't been able to enjoy drinking since I took antibiotics. They are still in my system bc/ whiskey and beer both taste nasty still. I better get it out by the party...

    The bottle does look like Tullamore.