Long Time Coming
I intended to continue the blogging of my DE razor incursion much sooner than this, but plans don’t always go the way we think. You know what they say: “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans!”
I believe somewhere around the end of April or the beginning of May this year will mark my two year anniversary with the DE razor. Before I continue any further, however, there is something I must confess. I’m, by no means, a DE “purist”. What I mean is that I still use cartridges on occasion when I’m in a hurry (or feeling lazy), especially when I need to shave both my face and head. I make no apologies.
With this in mind, it’s your decision whether or not to continue reading.
Practice and Progress
I do believe I’ve got it down to a science now. I can shave my entire face and head in less than thirty minutes and get a close shave every time. I’m still using my Edwin Jagger DE89L safety razor and Feather blades. I haven’t tried any other soaps or creams beside the D.R. Harris Windsor Shaving Soap. I’m not really an “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” kind of guy. My priorities were on things other than shaving experiments. I do intend to try some other blades, soaps, and creams sometime in the future. (What is it that they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men?)
It does take some time to master the angles. Different parts of my face, neck, and head require slightly different angles to acquire the closest possible shave. I can now get a nice close shave on my face and head with one shave. I can get a really, really close shave if I go over everything twice. Really! I rarely get any skin irritation any more except occasionally on my neck, but even then, it’s trivial. I still get an occasional nick every now and then, but those are much less frequent as well.
When I have the time and am not in a rush, I can still enjoy the ritual of shaving with the DE razor. I like lathering up the soap with my badger brush and the perfect amount of water, I enjoy applying the lather with the brush, and I don’t even mind the careful, methodical shave. It’s nice. Sometimes. Most of the time shaving is still a chore.
Although I did not experiment with any new blades, soaps, or creams I did do a bit of testing. I wanted to know if it was actually possible to get a closer shave with my DE razor than with my former (mostly former I should say) Mach 3 cartridges. The short answer is, “Yes.”
Here’s what I did: For the first two weeks I did my normal routines. I shaved my face twice during the week and my head once. The first week I used my Mach 3 cartridges, the second week my DE razor. Under the normal circumstances, I didn’t notice any difference. So, for the next two weeks, I shaved my face and head every day. One week with cartridges, the next with the trusty DE. It seemed like the DE shave might be closer, but it was really hard to tell. So for my final “closeness” experiment I did another two weeks, but this time I took my time with each method to try to get the closest shave possible no matter how many times I had to go over my face and head. I can say confidently that the DE razor can give you a closer shave than cartridges. With that said, I don’t believe the difference is significant enough to warrant a switch to the DE razor just for the purpose of a closer shave.
I also wanted to experiment a bit with shaving soap vs. shaving foam from a can. I remember reading some blog posts and articles where the authors claimed that shaving foam provides zero lubrication. I challenge those people to splash some water on their face and shave without any foam and then try it again with foam; after that I’m sure they would have a change of heart. The truth is, shaving foam does provide some amount of lubrication. After shaving with foam for week and then soap for a week I’ve concluded that soap (at least the soap I was using) provides substantially better lubrication than foam. I applied the soap and foam both by hand and by brush during those weeks.
When all is said and done I’m happy with my switch from cartridges to the double-edged safety razor. It provides a nice close shave and you can’t beat the price. Even though I still occasionally use cartridges, I only have to purchase them every four months or so. And Walmart now has their own brand of triple-bladed cartridges that shave just as well as the Mach 3, but are significantly cheaper (but still more expensive than DE blades).
Until next time… Happy shaving! God Bless!