I thought I'd share my story of my first DE acquisition and of course give thanks to all those at B&B who have generously given their time and knowledge to newbies to DE shaving like me (even if unwittingly). I have to say, though, that one thing did give me pause. In lurking on these boards acquiring tons of free and useful information I clicked on a poll asking the number of razors, that's razors not blades, that people owned. The highest percentage was 3-5 and a disturbing number admitted to owning over 40! Are you people high?
I've found a secret society of obsessive-compulsive shavers. Is this place safe? Seriously I only signed up so that I could view the pictures attached to posts.
You people also worry me with all this talk of getting varying forms of some medical condition called "AD". Is this some type of extensive razor burn from shaving too much?
Anyways, with some reservations, here is my story. My previous shaving experience started quite unspectacularly with the Gillette cartridge system. However, my deep displeasure at spending so much money on what was a chore eventually got to me so I switched to the cheaper disposables. My experience with these was predictably horrible so I resorted to shaving about once a week. Thankfully, my coworkers appear to never have had high expectations as to my hygiene in the first place and didnít bat an eye. As for electric razors, I was gifted one once, but after running the darn thing up and down my neck 40 times to no effect I put it away and forgot about it.
On an impulse a few weeks ago, and after a quick Google search for "shaving alternatives" (I guess I was hoping for something in pill form), I discovered DE shaving.
The selling points were simple, itís cheap, you get a close shave, itís cheap, thereís no pulling of hairs andÖ 100 blades for $12! I was sold. If I shaved once a week and got four shaves from each blade thatís like enough blades for 7 years!!! (memo to self: check the math on that) Thereís a guy here with a tag that fits just my mindset about DE shaving, I think itís something like ďWetshaving is going to save me money ...Alright!Ē So who cares if it would take more time than my normal shave, I only do this once a week anyway, no big deal.
I bought a Merkur HD (passed on a Edwin Jagger as the HD had a grippy handle good for a newbie), got a sweet deal on two pots of Proraso soap (itíll last for months!), and a Parker "best" badger brushÖ with a free stand! Did you know you can spend $100+ for a brush? Crazy. Has anyone here ever done that? Donít answer that.
I didnít buy a shaving bowl because who need to buy a special bowl for making lather? Thatís absurd. I used a soup bowl instead. You donít really need anything fancy. Though I did find that I couldnít fit my soup bowl in the bathroom cupboard, and so it sat on the sink. I didnít like that so I switched to an old bowl I used for camping. See, any old bowl will do. This one fits away in the cabinet. And I want this stuff in the cabinet. Who needs it laying out on the countertop? The camping bowl does have an issue though. Itís too light and tilts over in the sink when I fill it with water to soak my brush. I need a heavier bowl that fits in my cabinet. I did see one on westcoastshaving.com thatís really cool. Itís an Edwin Jagger one, comes in two colors. Itís neat. Itíll fit in my cabinet. Itís heavy enough. I like the black one. But Iím doing this to save money and I donít need it. The camping bowl will do.
Another thing I donít need is a silly razor stand. I just balance the razor on its end to dry and then put it in the cupboard. Who needs a stand? Though I have to say some of the stands I have seen are nice. So nice youíd want to put them on the counter to display. I could get one, but I wonít. Iím doing this to save money. But if I did, I would have to get that Edwin Jagger bowl, it would look nice sitting next to the stand on the counter.
I did the smart thing with blades too. I heard of some buying these sample packs of blades and getting some really bad blades. So I decided to be smart and not buy a bunch of blades, and just get a couple select ones that people liked. So I got Derby and Crystals. Thatís enough. Two types, keep it simple. Donít go crazy.
The razor came with a blade. And it was good. Got a couple of nicks but no problem. Iím just starting out. Tried the Derby. Wonít do that again. Had to buy more blades, but they were cheap. Bought some more Merkur (because my first shaves with them were good). And some Feathers (because they had good reviews). And some Wilkinson Sword (found out my grandfather used to use them). But Iím not going crazy about it. Taking it slow, playing it smart. Eventually I'll get that 100 pack and stop buying blades.
I may have to keep buying (blades) for now but at least Iím set for soap for a while. I wonít need to get refills for at least a year. Though I did find some Crabtree and Evelyn soap locally here. Never knew they sold it. They didnít have Sienna though but offered to order some for me. I shouldnít have said yes, I only need one soap. Who needs more than one, and Iíve got the Proraso. Two tubs of it even. Iím here to save money, Alright! I donít need another soap, but it is on order. I canít back out now. Maybe a variety would be nice.
Seriously, this is just a shave. Sure it requires some education, but B&B and YouTube are there. I never knew that people posted videos of themselves shaving. I canít imagine anyone watching such a thing. I only watched a few. I watched one that was 30 minutes long! A few more were shorter. I saw maybe 3 that were only 10 minutes long. I couldnít imagine spending an hour watching people shave, thatís silly, and weird.
Iím keeping a level head about this. Itís just a shave. Donít get me wrong; I want it to be a good shave. Thereís nothing wrong with that. So Iíve been taking notes of each shave on an Excel Workbook it improve my technique. I have also written out a set of directions for each pass, but it gets wet every time I shave. I should get it laminated. That would help. Iím not obsessing about this, just doing the smart thing.
And Iíll go back to shaving once a week. Once I get my technique down.