Minimal can be optimal (not compromise)
A minimalist at heart, I find there is increased joy by - simplifying - the shaving process. This does not mean to compromise, but rather to optimize.
In my experience:
Shave with a safety razor as you would with a straight razor (aka Paying attention).
Brain AWOL (Away With Out Leave) = cuts & nicks.
Shaving is not like sleeping / watching TV / talking on a cell phone ...
Do NOT shave with this - The Motorola "RAZR"
If you are unwilling or unable to attend to the task and adjust as you go, you need a barber or an electric razor.
There is no dial setting that is equal to a map of your face so you adjust the angle of the blade by ear (aka listen the sound of the whiskers being cut). Luckily (for most of us) our ears are not too far from where the action is!
The final result depends on the pre-shave (see Lyle's posts - for why this is so).
There is a reason that more of your brain is used to process the feeling in your hand than any other sensory process. For example: it is easier to feel stubble than to see stubble. [I'm in my 60's and need to take off my glasses to see stuff close up ... anyway ... ]
If our bodies were proportional to our brains sensory areas we would look like this -
Clearly touching your face with your hands is the way to know what's going on.
A Minimal / Optimum Process in 3 steps: Pre-Shave, Shave, Finish
1) Pre-shave - to get at least 3 minutes of hot, wet, soapy beard prep ...
a) While showering - first shampoo and rinse your hair
b) With your finger tips - coat WELL all of your beard with a little water and a small amount of shaving cream (or soap)
c) Finish showering and drying yourself - BUT LEAVE THE BEARD SOAPY!
d) Prepare a shaving lather as you like on face, hand or in a bowl
e) Apply lather over the cream you used to prep beard
2) Shave - applying little or no pressure, with a sharp blade on the stick of your choice ...
a) 1st stroke, down adjusting the blade angle as you go - by ear
b) FEEL with your finger tips to establish growth direction (grain) of the whiskers in that area.
c) next stroke - go against the grain
d) FEEL to see if your done
e) Done? Move on to next area
Not Done? Repeat 1x against grain & Move on to next area
f) Continue, an area at a time, until your shave is complete
3) Finish - Touchups required?
After rinsing with hot water, apply a little lather and feel your skin.
Carefully note the location and the direction of any remaining whisker growth.
Shave 1x against the grain only where you feel stubble.
Rinse with cool water. Pat dry with a towel.
Apply a moisturizer and/or balm or "Blind man test" confirming your face = baby butt
Optonal extra - Limbic brain inclusion
If the act of shaving must rival a week on the beach in Hawaii, add to your lather
a drop of coconut extract
sunscreen you used on your last vacation.
Last edited by 2bits; 01-20-2008 at 09:18 AM.
Reason: error correction
The view that shaving (or any aspect of one's life) may be artful is not shared by all - because it is civilized, lyric and pure. These are acquired obsessions.