Back to the Method
For several different reasons I have spent the last couple of months experimenting with traditional wet shaving products: creams (both English and otherwise), soaps of every kind, and even a few brushless preparations. Since I received my new Shavemaster brush a few weeks ago, I have gone back to a pure Method Shaving set up. It was interesting to come back after being away for so long.
Myself and others have written that Method Shaving is more about skin care than pure shaving. After being away for a while I have found out just how true that is. Getting a skin close shave is not hard and once you develop good blade technique, getting one with minimal irritation isn't a major challenge either. Shaving every day, day in and day out, with skin that is smooth, blemish free, and maintains its normal color, is no mean feat. Method Shaving is the only way that I have found to do it.
The first thing I notice after Method Shaving for three or four days is the color of my skin. Most gents do not realize how red their skin gets, and stays, while using traditional products. It isn't until that color is gone that you see what your natural skin tone is supposed to be. The other thing that you can't get anywhere else is the "wet crushed velvet" finish (CAR's term, not mine.) The combination of HydroLast, Cutting Balm, and copious amounts of water, leave a warm smoothness that I have been unable to duplicate with anything else.
During my extended foray into the traditional world, I found myself enjoying some of the brushless products that are out there for the sole reason that they do not dry the skin. Traditional creams and soaps contain surfactants and thus are drying. Many of them contain moisturizing agents to fight the inherent drying action of something that lathers, but I have not found a single traditional cream or soap that does not dry my face to some degree, particularly in the winter. Method Shaving is the only way I can use a brush and not dry my skin (which is probably why it is not red anymore.) Yes, you do use soap (The Cube) to prime the brush, but it is a gentle soap and is counteracted by the emollients in HydroLast and the Cutting Balm.
The big selling point of the HydroLast/Cube combo is that it is all natural and free of chemicals. One of the experiments I will be conducting in the future is using other all-natural soaps in place of the Cube. The Cube is still great, but I find myself wishing for more variety on that end.
"Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left."
- Zen philosopher Basha