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Face Time: My First Wet Shave

The first day of “wet shaving” went pretty well. The first shave wasn’t really any closer or smoother, but it was a lot more fun. I have a low-maintenance face and never had any problems with irritation or ingrown hairs, so I can’t report that wet shaving will cure any issues you might have. I would like to mention, however, that I learned that I have always been shaving the wrong way. Like everything else, it’s more about the technique than the equipment.

Merkur Hefty Classic razor and Vulfix shaving brush

Merkur Hefty Classic razor with Merkur blade and Vulfix shaving brush loaded with Truefitt and Hill Ultimate Comfort Shaving Cream lather.

If I had to pick one item from the classic shaving toolset (shaving cream, brush, double-edge razor) that most improved my shave, it would be the cream. The lather you make from this stuff is significantly more hydrated than the canned foam or even what I used to use, Edge gel. I think it’s the lather that makes the razor (any razor) work so well. The other factor is technique.

Among the wealth of information I found online was a series of videos on YouTube illustrating the technique of making lather and shaving with a double-edged razor. (Even if you don’t care about shaving, the videos are short, entertaining, and just generally well-made.) The principle I learned was to never shave unlathered skin. In contrast what I have always done is make an initial pass, which cut whiskers, of course, but also removed all the lather, and then scrape over the same now-dry area to get any missed spots. The right way is to make one pass over each area and move on. Finish your whole face and then if necessary lather and repeat. The second pass will likely go very fast.

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The secret to wet-shaving is getting yourself a good double-edge Merkur razor, shaving soap or cream and a shaving brush. Different people prefer different razors and with time you will find the one that works best for you. For starters a medium size, moderately priced, new razor will do the job.

Peter, I guess you couldn’t be bothered to actually read the post before commenting, but I did get a Merkur Hefty Classic and have been using it happily for two years now. That’s mine in the picture above.

I apologize for I overlooked the photo. Always have a great shave day! Visit also my blog if you have time.

Okay, so the original post has some age on it. But most modern-day double egde shaving guys are not too fond of the Merkur blades. The razors are favored, but the blades just don't "cut it." Iridium Supers or Gillette 7 O'Clock SharpEdge are excellent and sharp. Everything else is right on.

Roger, Totally agree. I started with a sample pack from West Coast Shaving (Merkur, Feather, Crystal, Derby Extra, and Personna) and the Merkur was clearly the worst. I liked the Derby best because it was the only blade I never cut myself with. See this related post (http://merecat.org/misc/2008/nancy-boy-signature-shave-cream.html) about blades. After two years I am still using Derby Extra and Nancy Boy Signature cream. I'll have to give the Iridium Supers and Gillette SharpEdges a try, though, when the Derbys run out. Thanks!

looks like an old school razor! :)

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