Friday, October 2, 2015

20 Questions with WhyIWetShave

Matt Broderick runs; A blog that he describes as a newbie friendly place to learn about the basics of wet shaving.  He is also from the Puget Sound area of Washington State and coordinated the Seattle Shaving Convention. 

We wanted to find out more about and the Seattle Shave Con.  So we asked Matt a series of questions to learn a little more.  If you want to find out even more about him, please check out his blog at ,or at  Matt hasn’t ventured into the depths of YouTube (yet), but you can also find him on any of the shave forums under the handle MattCB.

1.    How old are you? 

           Not quite 40 years….

2.    What do you do for a living? 
Up until just recently I was a civilian employee of the DoD.  Currently a stay at home dad to my twin boys.

3.    What’s your favorite type of music?

Usually some flavor of rock and roll.  If it has drums, bass, and a guitar then chances are I will like it.  Though a good vocalist in any genre will get my attention.

4.    What would you consider to be the last good movie you watched?
Tinker, Tailor, Solder Spy was one of the better movies I have watched recently.  I usually prefer the cheesy horror genre (Original Evil Dead series, Shaun of the Dead, etc..)

5.    What was the first razor that you recall shaving with?
I remember getting a package in the mail that contained a Gillette Mach 3.  There was a little letter saying something to the effect of congratulations on becoming a man, and a few pictures on how to shave.  Many decades later I actually figured out how to shave properly.  “A newbie friendly place to learn about the basics of wet shaving.”
6.    What kind of razor do you prefer?
I go between straight razors and a closed comb safety razor.  I have been keeping my eyes open for a slant to try out as I am curious about them.  I have had a touch of trouble with joint pain in my hands recently and have found the safety razors to be a bit easier on the tougher mornings.

7.    What is your pre-shave prep routine?

a). Place boar brush in water to soak
b). Take a nice warm shower

c). Load brush and proceed to face lather with cold water.  The face lathering is great for exfoliating the skin and helping to prevent ingrown hairs and the cold water aspect seems to help as far as the shave itself.

8.    How would you finish this sentence? The thing I love about traditional wet shaving is ____
The many and varied aspects of our hobby.  I thoroughly enjoy my shave routine and the great shave I get from it.  However, depending on what you are interested in you can find many a rabbit hole to get lost in such as woodworking, metal working, restoration, historical research, honing, antiquing, scent pairing, flipping for profit, and a ton more I can’t think of off the top of my head.  All of this is tied together by the community of people who share our hobby.

9.    How many passes do you do?
During a normal daily shave I will perform a two pass shave and a touch up.  WTG, XTG, and touchup the jaw line.  For a special occasion I will do a four pass; WTG, XTG, XTG (other direction), ATG, touch up.  I try not to go after the perfect shave on my neck as I have a tendency to irritate it if I do.

10.    Would you describe your hair/stubble as coarse or fine?
Definitely not a fine hair follicle, but I am not cursed by overly tough hair either.

11.    Do you have problems shaving against the grain?
Only on my neck.  I can do it fine on my cheeks and sideburns, but rarely feel the need to.  My hair grows from East to West on my neck, so getting a true ATG pass is rather difficult.  I usually settle with two passes on my neck and call it good.  A WTG/XTG pass, and a true XTG pass from the other direction.

Wet shaving goodies on display at the Seattle Shave Con
12.    Are you an Aftershave Balm or Aftershave Splash kind of person?
It depends on the time of year it is.  During the summer months when I am sweating more I will usually use an alcohol based aftershave splash.  This helps keep the oily skin under control.  In the winter months, or when I have dry skin issues, I will use an aftershave balm more often.

13.    Favorite type of shaving brush?
My current favorite brush is my Omega brand boar brush.  I really enjoy face lathering and have been extremely pleased with the performance.  For under $20 you can’t go wrong.

14.    “Why I Wet Shave” is a blog geared towards shavers new to the world of wet shaving.  What led you to start a blog specifically for the new wet shaver?

A few things got me started on the blogging route.  When I first started off wet shaving I only had a vague idea about what I was looking to do.  I searched the web and finally found the shaving forums.  It was great, but it turned out to be a bit of information overload.  Some of the forums have Wiki pages with some great information, but a lot of the information is gleaned from digging through LOTS of old posts.  After being a member for a while I kept seeing people asking the same questions and often times being directed to an obscure forum post or Wiki article.

I thought about writing up a few articles to post on the forum wiki pages, but thought it would be fun to try and build a blog instead.  The blog is not meant to supplant information that can be found on the forums, but rather be another resource that is available to new wet shavers.

15.    So you also started the Seattle Shave Convention.   What was your driving motive to start this get together?
Similar to why I started the blog actually.  I was lucky enough to be able to attend a get together over in Spokane, WA.  I drove for 8 hours each way and stayed in a hotel while I was there.  It wasn’t cheap and I think we only had five or six people show up, but it was a real eye opener for me.  I learned more in the 6 or so hours than I had in the past six months.  On top of that, getting to speak with people who share your passion is a great way to spend the day.

About a year went by and I started putting out feelers for the next meet up.  I didn’t get much of a firm response so I decided to see if I could put one together that was a little closer to home.  I kept waiting for someone to call me out for being so new to the hobby and thinking I could put together a meet up.  No one ended up calling me out and a lot of people said they were happy to attend.  We called the first meetup the Greater Pacific Northwest Wet Shave Meet Up.  That was kind of a mouthful so I shortened it to the Seattle Shave Con.  Easier to say and it rolls off of the tongue easier.

16.    This was the 2nd annual Seattle Shave Con, did the attendance meet your expectations?
To be honest, I was surprised we had as many people as we did.  The first year I just hoped for enough people to show up that it would be worth everyone’s time.  We had a total of 19 people show up and was considered a success.  For the 2nd annual Seattle Shave Con I got a head count of 45 people and someone else said they counted 50 people at one point.  Considering I was aiming for 40 attendees, we met and exceeded our expectations!  I’m hoping we see a similar increase next year.

Matt delivers a few words at the 2015 Seattle Shave Con
17.    So, can we expect a 2016 Seattle Shave Convention?
There will most defiantly be a 2016 convention.  A lot of people at the 2015 convention specifically asked about the next years meet up and even offered to help out.  We are currently trying to book a larger, and better laid out, event venue for next year.

18.    What makes it a “can’t miss” event?
This is still a “young” event and as such we are still growing and learning.  We have a few ideas for next year.

a). Next year’s convention will be a little more structured and have some dedicated “events” happening.  We already have the raffle, and a great honing demo this year.  Looking into some vendor sponsored events for next year.
b). We are also talking with vendors and well-known names in the shaving community to attend the convention.
c). Looking to incorporate some other traditional men’s grooming products such as mustache wax, beard oil, and pomades.  There is a large cross over in these groups with the wet shaving crowd.

The Location for the 2014 and 2015 Seattle Shave Con: Fado’s Irish Pub in Downtown Seattle
19.    What advice would you give to someone getting into traditional wet shaving?
a). Master what you have before you buy more stuff.  So many of us get caught up in trying a new product every day to try and get a better shave.  When we actually get a memorable shave we don’t know exactly what changed that made the difference.  Stick with a shave set up for a full week.  Change out ONE aspect and try that for a week.  Was it better, worse, about the same?
b). Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  There are a lot of people in our hobby and most of them are extremely helpful
c). While there are a lot of people who will give advice, feel free to get a second opinion and take everything with a grain of salt.

20.    If money were no option, where would you go for the best possible shave?  
I have been really interested in finding a place near me to get the full barbershop experience.  The hot towels, talc, the works.  That would be the best possible shave experience I  could think of… or ½ hour without one of my boys poking their head in the bathroom during my shave  :)

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