Monday, May 30, 2016

How I Learned To Shave – How Did You?

I never had one of those Father-Son moments where my dad stood with me in front of the mirror and taught me how to prep, apply shave cream, drag the razor across my face, and apply aftershave. Though, as a child I do recall watching him shave from time to time.  I remember seeing on TV, in movies, and advertisements men with faces covered in a foamy lather before shaving.  But during his shaves, my father’s face did not resemble theirs.  His face was wet from washing and occasionally I would see a couple of bubbles.  But nothing resembling a foamy Santa Claus Beard.  

One of Those Bonding Moments I Never Experienced
I asked him what he used because there was no foam.  In is traditional, abrupt, non-explanatory way he stated “soap” and went back to what he was doing.  With the bar still wet and covered in a modest amount of bubbles it was apparent he was using whatever hand soap my mother decided to buy.  

When I was older and when I felt it was time, I took my father’s (what I would later learn to be) Gillette Fat Boy razor that was already loaded with a blade and started using it to remove the light whiskers that were beginning to emerge from my upper lip.  No prep. I just did what my father did:  I wet my face, rubbed some soap on my hands and then my face; and I started going to town.   I don’t recall how my skin felt afterwards. But I can’t imagine that I had escaped the irritation. 

My Father's Gillette Fatboy Razor

I guess after a while my father was getting a bit annoyed that I was using his razor.  So one day, they came home with a Gillette Sensor Excel (which I still have). They handed it to me and that was it.   The World Wide Web didn’t exist yet, let alone YouTube. Apart from the information I gleaned from my dad when I was a kid, discovering what to do was left to me. 

I don’t think my experience is the norm.  But, I learned to think of shaving as a very unpleasant and routine chore - nicks and cuts were a regular occurrence and irritation was common.   I didn’t know any better and this is how it went for years.

My 25+ Year Old, Worn, and Fairly Neglected Sensor Excel Razor
Once I started shaving my head things changed.  I experienced probably the worst razor rash of my life on my head.  So, I began to try things.  I figured irritation was just a regular part of shaving and figured that I just needed a better balm. It spiraled from there.  I began to look for different razors, blades, creams, and anything (even tried an electric razor) that could sooth the irritation I would experience.  Some things would work and some things didn’t.   

Even Experimenting with Shavettes Nowadays
Along the way, I would eventually find my way to traditional wet shaving.   Even though the nicks, cuts, and irritation became less frequent; the experimentation didn’t stop.  However, experimenting is now a little different.  I feel that, in many ways, I am no longer looking for products to improve my shave quality.  Rather, shaving no longer feels like an unpleasant chore and I find that I seek out new products simply because I now enjoy shaving.

This is how I learned to shave.  

How did you learn?  Please leave a comment below.  We'd love to hear how you started.

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