Some thoughts I've had about shaving over the years. Note: What works for me, may not work for you.
Soap vs. Cream: I prefer soap over cream for two reasons. It give me great satisfaction to be able to whip up a good lather from something that starts out as a solid puck. And creams inevitably require another container (plastic, metal, glass) that will end up in the trash.
Passes: The ideal number of passes is probably somewhere between two and three. More than three seems to border on the obsessive, and risks irritation. Done right, two passes will ensure that no whisker will remain unshaved.
Straight Razors: A straight razor was designed to be handled by someone other than the person being shaved. Keeping them sharp also requires a level of expertise, to say nothing of honing equipment, that I'm not really interested in acquiring.
Brushes: Should really only be made from the hair of the badger. Nylon or other artificial materials don't work, and feel unpleasant. Boars? I don't dig on swine...
Hot Towels: A part of the barbershop experience. I shave straight after I shower, so I figure that the heat and moisture of that process has already taken care of whatever the hot towels might do. I do enough laundry during a week as it is.
Scents: The shampoo I use, as well as the body wash, deodorant, and aftershave I buy all have scents. Not one of them is the same. At some point, I begin to worry that these different scents may combine in some potentially toxic brew.
Grooming: Not all of the hairs you need to be concerned about are cut with a razor. The effect of the smoothest, closest shave will be ruined by the presence of follicles straggling from your nostrils and ears, or by wild, shaggy eyebrows. Jus' sayin.
Blades: Back in the 1960s Gillette almost got beat out of the shaving business by Wilkinson Sword, who first introduced stainless steel blades. (Early carbon steel DE blades rusted horribly after the first couple of uses). Gillette responded by introducing the Trac II, which started mankind on the dreadful road which led us to the Fusion, M3Power, etc. Wilkinson Sword reverted to making ceremonial swords for the British military, although it no longer does that either, as they sold the tooling to a company in India. I'm sure there is some sort of lesson on the role of technology and globalization of business. I'm just not sure what it is.
Movies: One of the more memorable shaving scenes in movies is in the Steve McQueen classic Papillon. Entombed in the horrors of solitary confinement of Devil's Island's La Reclusión the prisoner sticks his head through a hole in the cell door once a month to be shaved by the prison barber. Who lathers him up with a badger brush and shaves him with a straight razor. Typical French! Pampering their prisoners like that.