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I'm a progressive sort of guy.  I like technology, especially when it makes my life more enjoyable and makes a difficult chore easier.  But sometimes, very rarely, the oldest ways of doing a thing are still the cheapest and least wasteful.  Such is the case with shaving.

Let me begin by telling you my own story of my re-discovery of the joys of straight razor shaving.  Roughly five years ago or so, I was getting sick of shaving.  I was old enough by that point that my beard was fully developed (late 20's), the hairs were thick and stiff and pretty tightly packed.  Shaving with disposable cartridges worked decently well, but in order to get a good, close shave, one that didn't leave me looking like Homer Simpson only six or so hours later, I had to subject myself to razor-burn and ingrown hairs.

Growing my beard out was another option, and one that I took several times in the past 5 years, and will probably take in the future as well.  And it's a decent solution with just one problem: I still had to shave.   If I don't shave the straggly hairs on my neck or the hairs on my upper cheeks where the beard starts thinning out, I end up looking like a dirty hobo.  In other words, it's not a well-groomed look.  And of course, I was most susceptible to razor-burn and ingrown hairs on my neck and cheeks, so maintaining a well-groomed beard didn't really help with that much.  Add in the other common problem with beards; they're itchy growing in, food gets caught in 'em and can go unnoticed for hours, and they still have to be regularly trimmed and maintained, and I was getting pretty desperate for some way to take care of my face.

I contemplated Nair, but didn't want to forgo the option of ever growing a beard again.  Then I did an internet search for how to deal with problems shaving.  That's when I (re)discovered the option of shaving with a straight razor.

I was, like many of you no doubt are, skeptical.  "How," I thought, "could running a 3 inch piece of cold steel that's sharper than a surgeon's scalpel across my face be less irritating than these new-fangled cartridges?"  After all, most of these new cartridges have 3 or 4 or even 5 blades that shave you smooth in a single stroke, they've got guards and moisturizing strips and little ridges of plastic that grip and stretch your skin to get at those little hairs.  And people stopped using straight razors regularly, what, 50 years ago and more?  Surely a straight razor can't shave better than something that's at the peak of modern science and tool design.

It turns out that I was right, but I was also very wrong.  I decided to give it a try, because setting yourself up to shave with a straight razor isn't very expensive, and, if it worked, I'd never have to buy cartridges again.  I went to a local antiques shop and found a couple of old straight razors that looked to be in excellent condition, which I bought for $15 each.  So far, the razor itself cost about as much as a replacement pack of disposable cartridges.  Now, I knew, thanks to the research I'd done online, that I wouldn't be able to shave with these razors as soon as I got 'em.  They'd been banged around and handled in that antique's store for who knows how long, and I found that both of the old razors I bought were more than 60 years old, the oldest of the two was in its 80's decade.  

So, I went to a Woodcrafter's and picked up a Norton 4000/8000 composite hone, spent hours watching videos and reading about how to sharpen a straight razor, and purchased a $15 leather and nylon strop.  I sharpened my razor as best I could, stropped, and attempted my first shave.

And it went about as well as anyone could expect.  Since this was my first attempt with a straight razor, I was actually surprised the thing took off hair.  Not only did it remove the hair, it did it extremely well.  On the other hand, this was my first attempt at maneuvering three inches of very sharp steel along the surface of my face.  Not only did I nick myself (several times), but the razor burn was actually worse than what I'd had with a cartridge and I was nowhere nearly as cleanly shaven as I could have done with a cartridge.  

But that was nearly three years ago, and I'm still using a straight razor to shave.  Am I a masochist?  Maybe, but I do want to report that it didn't really take very long to get the hang of it.  About three months in, I was getting a closer shave with the straight than I could have done with a cartridge, evidenced by my not needing another shave until the evening of the next day when I shaved in the morning.  There were still some spots I had trouble getting close, such as right around my jawline and on my upper lip, but the only razor-burn I got by that point was a direct result of trying for perfection in those areas and over-doing it.  I rarely nicked or cut myself anymore, and when I did, I knew it was because I was being careless.  And even from the very first shave, I no longer had any ingrown hairs.

I tell you this story to show that learning to shave with a straight razor is doable, and without an unwarranted amount of pain and suffering.  Should you, the reader, attempt to switch to a straight razor?  Unfortunately, I can't give you a blanket "yes" or "no," it all depends on your individual situation.  All I can do is provide some pros and cons, and a bit of advice about what you'll need, to help you decide for yourselves.

If you decide to make the attempt, you'll need a razor, obviously.  This can be very cheap, even free if you've got a grandfather or great-grandfather who still has his old straight blade and is willing to donate it to you.  You can go the cheap route, like I did, and scour the antiques stores for old blades.  If you do, there are a number of brands and stamps to look out for as being good razors, and I'll provide a link at the bottom to a website that has extensive reviews of razors both old and new.  You can also go the more expensive route and buy a new razor or a refurbished antique.  Yes, believe it or not, they're still making straight razor blades, and not just as novelties.  You'll want to be careful buying a new razor, however, as most of the cheapest new razors really are just novelties.  The Gold Dollar Razors, Kreigar razors, and almost anything produced in the last 30 years that comes from Pakistan are definitely razors to avoid.  Theirs-Issgard and Dovo Solingen are well-respected brands of new razors, but be prepared to pay for them, as the cheapest I am aware of is still above $100.

Everything after the razor is completely optional, but it's usually a good idea to go ahead and spring for this stuff, for a variety of reasons.  In order of how good an idea it is to get it are the following:

A razor strop:  You can get just a strip of clean, flat, flexible leather and it will do just fine as a strop.  If you've got a flat belt with no stitching, that'll work.  Many strops come with two parts, a nylon or canvas belt, and a leather belt.  The nylon or canvas is more "aggressive" in smoothing out the edge of the razor, so you usually do a few strokes on the nylon/canvas, then double those on the leather.  A strop is necessary to keep the edge of the razor in good shape, but you don't have to go out and buy some expensive thing.  In fact, you can strop your razor on the palm of your hand or on a bunch of newspaper laid flat on a book.  Stropping a straight razor is a skill just as much as shaving with one is, so you'll want to make sure that you take it very slowly at first.  Whatever you do, don't try to imitate the flamboyant stropping you see in cartoons and old movies.  Improper stropping can take a shave ready edge and turn it into something that feels like you're trying to shave with a hacksaw, so, when in doubt, go very slowly and if you're still in doubt, skip it altogether.

A shaving brush/shaving soap:  This is getting into luxury territory.  It's perfectly possible to shave with a straight razor using the aerosol shaving creams or gels you can find at your local grocery store.  One thing to keep in mind: those creams and gels are designed to work with cartridges, so they often are very slippery and have less "cushion" than the soaps or creams you use a brush with.  The brush helps create a lather from the soap and massage it into your face, getting the soap up under the whiskers to help hold them up when the razor comes by, as well as lubricating the blade as it glides along the skin.  I will say this, however;  most people who try straight shaving and pick up the shaving soap and brush, keep the shaving soap and brush even if they decide to drop the straight shaving and stick with cartridges or safety razors.  Nothing beats warm lather massaged into your face with a soft brush.  And if you still want to be a cheapskate, you don't have to use the more expensive Proraso or Col. Conk's.  William's mug soap costs about a buck, lasts twice as long as a can of Barbasol, and once you figure it out, gives a lather every bit as good as the more expensive brands.

A Styptic pencil/alum block:  Ironically, this is less a luxury than the soap and brush.  Let's face it, your first few tries with a straight razor will probably see you nick yourself, sometimes pretty badly, and you will often burn yourself.  A styptic pencil stops the bleeding and sanitizes the area around your wound.  There have been many times when I've nicked myself enough to see blood running down my face, but when I applied the pencil, I couldn't even see where the nick was after I was done shaving.  An alum block performs much the same role, but for the whole face.  Both styptic pencils and alum blocks are powerful astringents, and using them on your whole face after you shave will help tighten and condition the skin, as well as prevent infection.  It will also let you know in no uncertain terms exactly where your technique needs improvement.  You can get an alum block at any natural or organic foods store sold as a natural deoderant.  It works pretty good for that too, but if you get a block to use as deoderant, keep it separate from the one you use on your face.  There's one final advantage to a styptic pencil/alum block.  When you shave with a straight razor, you'll need to grab your skin and pull it tight to get the best shave without irritation.  This can be tricky on a wet face covered in slippery soap.  Rub your wet fingertips on the alum block or styptic pencil, and you'll have no trouble with that whatsoever.

Other aftershaves/skin treatments:  A lot of guys pick up straight razor shaving just because they have sensitive skin, so they tend to crow about their aftershave/post-shave treatments.  Again, there's a wide range of expense you can choose.  You can go all out with Trumper's Skin Food and fancy cooling aftershaves and colognes.  Or you can stick with the cheap method and use plain old witchhazel.  If you want, you can skip the aftershaves altogether and just stick with the alum block.  

A pasted strop/razor hones:  A pasted strop is just a strop that's been impregnated with a kind of metal polish.  The most common kinds are Chromium Oxide, Diamond grit and Aluminum Oxide.  These are used to bring back an edge that's just too far gone for regular stropping to smooth out.  With proper stropping on a regular strop and proper storage of your razors, you should only need to use a pasted strop to touch-up the edge maybe once a month or once every other month.  They're used by making very few (~15-20) stropping strokes on the paste.  Because they're used so rarely, they tend to last a long time.  You can tell when they need to be cleaned and re-pasted; when they turn completely black and look all shiny.  Hones are in the same vein.  They're used to bring back the edge, or to take out small nicks or cracks in the blade.  If using a pasted strop, a straight blade should only need to be honed about once a year, maybe once every six months, at most.  They have to be flattened, or lapped, before each use.  And if improper stropping can damage the edge of a straight blade, improper honing can completely destroy it, requiring a new bevel to be set.  There are places you can send a razor to be honed for $15-$20, so owning a hone or learning to hone your razors really isn't necessary at all.  If you're interested in maximizing your savings for the long haul, though, it's a good idea to pick up the Norton 4000/8000 combo hone.  Learning to hone, like learning to shave, isn't hard, it just takes practice, patience and dedication.

Why?  That's the question I'm sure those of you who've stuck with me thus far are asking yourselves.  "Why should I spend roughly $100 on new equipment and re-learn how to do something I'm doing just fine on now?"  Below are the list of pros and cons, in my experience, of the switch to straight razor blades.

Pros:
You can save a lot of money-  A pack of replacement cartridges for a Mach 4 razor can cost $15.  You'll probably buy 4 or 5 such packs throughout the year, which means you can recoup your costs in as little as three years.  I don't know about you, but I will be shaving for more than three years of my life.  A single straight blade, properly taken care of, will last the whole of your life, your son's life, and his son's life.  Just the cartridges themselves will cost you around $3,600 in the ~60 years you'll be shaving.  Add in the cost of those aerosol creams or gels, and you can spend more than the cost of a brand new luxury car on your shaving.

You can reduce a lot of waste- Think about all those cartridges you throw away.  If you use canned shaving cream or shave gel, think about all those cans you throw away.  With a straight, unless you break it, you'll never throw it away, and a box of William's mug soap comes in a thin, biodegradable cardboard box.  The only thing you might use more of is hot water, and with proper planning and preparation, you can even end up using roughly the same amount.

It's romantic- Not so much of a pro for us practical-minded people, but a pro nonetheless.  Just like you get a sense of pride and satisfaction from splitting a pile of logs by hand, or trimming your grass with one of those old push-mowers, so too do you get that sense when you finally give yourself a baby-bottom smooth shave with an old-fashioned straight.  

Cons:
Time:  In my mind, this is the biggest con to shaving with a straight.  I'm more than four years into shaving with a straight, and I still can't shave as fast as I could with a cartridge.  You have to take your time, and you usually have to shave, relather, shave in a different direction, relather, then shave in a third direction to get the closest possible shave with a straight.  This takes time.  It does take a lot less time now than it used to.  I used to spend an hour shaving with my straight.  Now, I can get a good close shave in 20 minutes.  Some folks out there who are really good can shave with a straight in about 5 minutes, which I feel compares well to cartridges.  But you'll take some time getting to that level of proficiency.  You may find, like I did initially, that it's better to shave in the evening, so you're not rushed in the morning, or you may have to get up earlier to get your daily shave done.

Experience:  Let's face it.  Most of us don't grow up with our dads teaching us to shave with a straight razor anymore.  When we first pick up a straight, we don't really know what we're doing.  As a result, you're gonna get some bad shaves while you're learning, and you'll be learning for a long time.  Every razor is a little bit different, and every face is a little bit different, and both change over time.  Any moron can shave themselves with a cartridge, but it takes skill and patience to shave with a straight.

Acquisition disorder:  If you catch the straight shaving bug, you're gonna have to exercise some discipline.  There are some very pretty straight razors out there, many of them custom made.  You can spend over $1000 on a seven-day set.  Once you've figured out your razor and your face, you're gonna want to see how other razors perform.  The same thing goes with hones, especially the natural stones from China or Belgium or Arkansas.  Only you can decide how much you want to spend, but if you're in this to save money and reduce waste, it's best to stay off the 'Bay.  

If anybody is still with me, and thinks giving straight razors a try might be a good idea, I have a few last suggestions.  First, read, read, read.  When you think you've read enough, read some more.  The two best places to go on the web are Badger and Blade and the Straight Razor Place Forums.  Especially at the latter, you'll find essays and videos that will definitely help you not only make up your mind to give it a try or not, but guide you in your first attempts.  (their community forums could definitely use a stronger progressive influence as well, but that's largely irrelevant to this diary).  

Next, I'd highly recommend heading to Whippeddog and picking up his sight-unseen newbie razor package.  You get a strop, a pasted strop and a razor that the owner picks out for you, sharpens and tests to be sure it's ready to shave with, all for less than $50 if you don't mind dings in the handle or a bit of tarnish on the blade.  And if you don't like the razor you get, you can send it back and trade it in for a different one for only $15, which is less than the price to hone a new razor.  I'm not affiliated with the owner of this site, nor am I getting anything in return for plugging him, but he does have an excellent reputation and his business model is to provide new straight razor users with an inexpensive introduction to the art.

My own preference for brushes and soap is the $5 boar brush you can get at CVS or Walgreens, and William's mug soap, but if you want to splurge, you can get the silver-tipped badger hair brushes and fancy-schmancy tallow soaps to go with it.  If you still want to save some money on the brush, I'd suggest building your own using a badger hair knot from The Golden Nib and a handle of your own make, or one you buy from various dealers.

And of course, you can get all of this stuff in the Classifieds section of both the Badger and Blade, and the Straight Razor Place.

My final, and very last piece of advice (I promise) for those daring enough to try this: don't throw away your disposable razor or cartridges.  You'll want them to clean up after your first few shaves.  It's better to stop shaving while it's still comfortable and clean up with your cartridge than push through with your straight and butcher your face.  That'll just get you discouraged and it'll be days before you'll heal enough to shave again.  I still have my disposable razor in the medicine cabinet, and I still use it to touch up occasionally or when I just don't have the time to spend 20 minutes on a shave.  You're still reducing waste and saving money, and the more often you can put the straight blade to your face and take off some whiskers, you're learning more about how to do it properly.  Using the cartridge to clean up or finish the job means you can try again tomorrow, and maybe do it better.  Pushing yourself too far with the straight means days of downtime healing, and fear and apprehension when you do try again, so keep the crutch and don't be afraid to use it.

Edit:
The following video is not of me, but of a man called Lynn Abrams, the owner and operator of the Straight Razor Place website I mentioned above.  In it, he discusses and demonstrates the techniques involved with actually removing hair from your face with a razor.

Originally posted to Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 03:56 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for the detailed idea description... (6+ / 0-)

    ...but I think I'll stick with my five blade gillette fusion cartridges... sure, they are expensive, but with my slightly protruding jaw I would have a real hard time with a simple steel blade...besides, those days are passee, don't you think?  Too old school to be cool, methinks!

    GOP = Grossly Ostentatiously Preposterous

    by Poetic Mind on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 04:24:43 PM PST

  •  I shaved with a straight razor (18+ / 0-)

    for many years. You've done a good job of describing the process. It's not as difficult as it might seem and does a good job. The biggest drawback is the time required to maintain the blade.

  •  Thanks for a very interesting piece (12+ / 0-)

    Never tried the straight razor before, but I can certainly second the soap-and-brush option.  Nothing like it!!  

    P.S.  You just had to throw in that "butcher your face" bit, didn't you?  And you almost had me!!!  

    Liberal = We're all in this together
    Conservative = Every man for himself
    Who you gonna call?

    •  Don't let that scare you off (13+ / 0-)

      Believe me, I could tell you some stories about my early experience which probably would scare off some folks.  But if you've got sensitive skin or get razor burn or ingrown hairs from the cartridges and safety razors, it's worth putting in the effort to try a straight.  As I said, I never get ingrown hairs anymore, and what razor burn I do suffer is now almost always a result of my trying too hard.  Of course, that's also why I recommend keeping your cartridges around for a while, so you don't have to give in to the pressure of trying for a perfect shave every time.  And you don't have to tell anybody you finished up with a cartridge, so they'll be suitably impressed with your shaving skills early on.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 04:46:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yep, I've used a mug and brush for years (12+ / 0-)

      Though it's gotten harder and harder to find good shaving soap. I'm not a fan of Williams -- it has a citronella odor that I don't particularly like -- but it's the only one I can find consistently at CVS. Burt's Bees bay rum shaving soap was far and away my favorite; unfortunately, it's not made anymore. I may have to browse the selection at Merz Apothecary more closely next time I'm in Lincoln Square.

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 05:11:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Other places to get shaving cream (11+ / 0-)

        They sell C.O. Bigelow, and I believe Proraso green at Bath and Body Works.  I don't care for them because I find the menthol a bit overwhelming.  Unfortunately, anymore, the best places to get wet-shaving soaps and creams is online.  Col. Conks is decent from what I hear, and there are a lot of small-time producers.  The only problem with them is there can be a lack of consistency.

        Most people's problems with Williams is that it's sometimes hard to keep the lather from disappearing on your face.  This can be solved by using a whole lot more water in building your lather and much more brush swirling in your lather bowl than you might be used to using other soaps.  Personally, I rather enjoy the citrusy scent, but to each their own.  It would be nice if Williams came out with different flavors though.

        From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

        by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 05:18:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  portland general store (7+ / 0-)

        has an awesome whiskey shaving soap, although to my knowledge there is no actual whiskey in it.

      •  I liked the BB Bay Rum, now I use (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nellebracht, kyril, rb608, Dvalkure

        the BB baby bee soap in my mug.
        It is very mild and not so over scented,
        and seems to work well for shaving.
        Yeah, I know, Burts sold out to some
        trans national corporation a while back.
        On the other hand, you can find their line
        at just about any drugstore or pharmacy.

        I went with a mug n brush after more than
        one travel related canned shaving cream incident
        in my luggage years and years ago.

        I have my maternal grandfathers old straight,
        and the scars to prove that I used it. I use a cartridge
        now, mostly because it is quicker, and it was a gift.
        Seeing as I only shave once or twice a week
        at the most, I don't use so many carts, maybe one
        a month or every six weeks. They are very pricey.

        You left out the best part- you can put the
        steel in your boot for all the other close shaves.

        Thanks for all of your efforts.

      •  Colonel Conk (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justus, Nellebracht

        I use colonel Conk's  bay rum. Have to order it, but still, a good soap and mild but nice scent. Also, to put an oar in, I went the middle route on shaving and use a merkur safety razor. Blades are cheap, about 20 cents each if you buy in bulk, and last, give a great shave. I'll admit to being too old and too chicken to have a straight razor.

      •  I haven't been to Merz (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Geenius at Wrok, Nellebracht

        in years- but when I lived in Chicago 20 years ago, it was my go to place for toiletries. I guess a lot of things are more available now than they used to be, but it had such wonderful products, I would still go there instead.

      •  I actually work for a small soap (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nellebracht, Kevvboy

        company called Absolutely Fabulous.  We make the soap here in our little shop in Oregon and we have a shaving soap that is, well, fabulous.  I believe the boss is selling it online through Etsy.  We've been shipping it all around the country.  We also sell a nice brush that is cruelty-free (not made from dead badgers or anything.)

        Yes...Burt's Bees sold out a few years ago and they no longer are American made.  Good luck.  It's not easy finding the right product for you and so frustrating when it is changed or discontinued.    

        Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. MLK Jr.

        by koosah on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 09:38:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I like the idea of straight razors (7+ / 0-)

    But Ms. Unoball is worried about using it on her, well, you know......

  •  Yeah, I've got a beard (17+ / 0-)

    And it's a light one. I shave my neck every two days when I'm taking a shower. That's all I need, thank goodness.

    For those who will keep to their various cartridge razors, here is a tip to keep the blades sharp for a lot longer.

    The thing that dulls razors is not your beard, but the slight oxidation/rust of the blade over time. Water and metal (even the metal of razor blades) do not mix.

    So, go to the drugstore and get some 91% rubbing alcohol and pour it into a glass or mug. Keep that on your sink. When done shaving, dry off your razor as best you can, and then store your razor in the alcohol. The alcohol will help keep oxygen off of the blade, preventing rust, and the blade will last considerably longer than previously.

    Yes, I know that I only shave part of my face, and then not every single day. But using this technique, I can buy one 4-pack of razor cartridges and they'll last the better part of a year.

  •  Wow. I admire you, but no way. (7+ / 0-)

    I don't see how a cartridge could possibly kill me or my toddler.

    Straight razors?  That I could see.

    Not saying that I reject them for everyone.  It's just that they scare me.  That's all.

    Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

    by journeyman on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 04:53:36 PM PST

    •  Well, yes (9+ / 0-)

      I certainly wouldn't recommend letting your toddler play with your razors, whether straight or disposable.  And if you go after someone with the intent to cut them badly, a straight razor will certainly do so.  But I've never heard of anybody accidentally killing themselves or anybody they love with a straight razor.

      That said, if you have a tendency towards suicidal depressions, it's probably not a good idea to keep a straight razor in the house, or a gun, or rat poison, or a rope, or ...

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 04:57:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, no, there's nothing like that. (6+ / 0-)

        It's just that straight razors are . . . well . . . scary, I guess.

        I don't know why.  I'm sure it's not entirely rational, but there it is.  Still, there's a part of me that wants to do it.  There's something about efficiency and rationality that appeals to me deeply.  I'm typing this on a Dvorak keyboard because I love those things, but a straight razor?  Okay.  I'll give you that you have me thinking about it, but it's hard to do without thinking about Dr. John's line about

        a pearl handle, double edge, hollow ground, super blue blade, adjustable, stainless steel, honed edge, both blades on the same side so when I cut you once, you gonna bleed twice
        razors.

        I know.  Not rational.  Not at all.  But, there it is.

        Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

        by journeyman on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 05:30:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Now (7+ / 0-)

          Think about how cool you'll feel when you've mastered this thing you fear.  Even if you can't face it, I'd still highly recommend using a brush and bowl to make your lather.  I still feel a bit bad rinsing my unused lather down the drain, but then I think of that can I'm no longer throwing away to take up space in some landfill.

          From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

          by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 05:37:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oooh . . . you, you . . . guy! (5+ / 0-)

            No really, I'm totally imagining wielding the thing like a weapon and shaving myself in a blur of motion lasting, like, maybe, seven seconds and not having even a nick.  I really like that.  It's appealing to me big time.  Then again I can still picture myself as the Super Bowl MVP wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and, I submit, that's probably not particularly good for my health--mental or physical.

            That allowed, I have to admit, you have me thinking.

            Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

            by journeyman on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 05:54:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  haha ! Samurai shaving (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nellebracht

              Really, I am a person of the female persuasion, but this whole thing is charming as hell, to me ! If I were a dude, I'd definitely go this route.

               BTW I get toiletries from Caswell- Massey, online and via their catalog. They have a beautiful array of brushes, mugs and soaps - possibly straight razors, but for sure some handsome looking shavers.

              “Good things don’t come to those who wait. They come to those who agitate!” Julian Bond

              by Dvalkure on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:29:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  And I hate to admit this, but . . . (6+ / 0-)

          Actually the romance appeals to me more than the rationality.

          Ahhhh.... I just can't stand my inner romantic.

          Okay, I admit, every now and then he gets one right.  But not very effing often.

          Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

          by journeyman on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 05:50:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Romance needs reason (4+ / 0-)

            to balance it all out.  That was a nice story, by the way.  Don't be afraid to let your heart push you into this, just make sure you let your head lead the way.  It'll be a while before you can pull off a masterstroke, where you take off all the hair on one whole side of the face with a single swipe, and you can hurt yourself trying before you're ready.

            Just read through the links I provided above, especially SRP, and you'll be fine

            From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

            by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 06:03:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  My gf loves straight razors.... (5+ / 0-)

              ....but it's in the context of Sweeney Todd, so I think I'll pass.

              Thanks for the tip on keeping disposables in alcohol though.

              When we are no longer children, we are already dead. (Constantin Brancusi) And whoever gave it, thanks for the gift!

              by sagesource on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 06:16:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  You know, I'm trying to summon (3+ / 0-)

              inner Jaguar Paw and declare "I am not afraid", but the truth is, I am, just a little bit.

              Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

              by journeyman on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:28:37 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Just channel a little Yoda (4+ / 0-)

                Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.  Or whatever.

                If it makes you feel better, the blade is so sharp that when you do nick yourself, you won't feel it until soap gets into the cut.  Oh, and you'll also feel it when you use your alum block or styptic pencil.  A lot.  But only for like a second.

                Honestly, people are always afraid of cutting themselves.  What you should be afraid of is giving yourself razorburn, because you'll do it a lot more often, and hurts more than any kind of cut you'll likely give yourself.  Plus, it's harder to control for when you first start.  If you treat the blade with proper respect, it's unlikely you'll cut yourself.  Of course, you'll learn the necessary level of respect by cutting yourself, but because you start out respecting the blade, it won't be very bad.

                From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

                by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:56:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Journeyman (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            journeyman, Nellebracht

            I remember reading your story of finding your true love when you posted it before. Lovely. Just lovely.

            Maybe you should give that straight razor a try. :-) Your romantic nature has seemed to work out well for you.

        •  Trepidation (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayBat, journeyman, Nellebracht

          I had a little of this trepidation when I was considering going the straight razor route.  I got over it, and I'm glad I did.  

          I just make sure to store it up high in the medicine cabinet, where my kids won't get into it.  I also made sure to show it to them and let them know that it's a knife, and not to play with it or even touch it.

          The worst story I've heard about an accident with a straight razor, was when I told a good friend that I was thinking of getting one.  When he was a kid, he found his grandfather's razor in a bathroom drawer, and not being too bright, deliberately ran his thumb along the blade to "see how sharp it was."  He found out that it was nice and sharp, and cut himself a good one, and later got in trouble for it, since the bloody cut was hard to hide.

          •  People who don't expect knives to be sharp (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nellebracht

            always astonish me.  Of course, that comes from the modern consumer culture, which generally doesn't include anything like sharpening or honing or, for that matter, having a single knife in the kitchen that's sharp more than a few weeks after it's purchased.

            When I was in college, one of my dormmates came in and started opening up and checking out my swiss army knife that I kept on my desk.  (I kept an edge I could shave arm-hair with on the blades.)  Within a couple of minutes, he was bleeding.  "It's sharp!"

            ...No shit, it's sharp.  It's a goddamned knife.  It's supposed to cut things.  Not being sharp makes it useless.  A smart person handles a knife similarly to how they handle a gun: as you should always assume a gun is loaded until it's proven otherwise, you should always assume that a knife is sharp until proven otherwise.  

            That said ... a knife -- or a straight razor -- is just an inert lump of steel.  It's not going to jump up and attack you.  Excercising ordinary care will keep you away from injuries much worse than a paper cut.

  •  Not even if you pay me . (6+ / 0-)

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 05:21:27 PM PST

  •  I'm with the "too dangerous looking" crowd (3+ / 0-)

    Though I do understand the desire to be rid of the disposable-everything obsession of late capitalism.  

    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 06:03:14 PM PST

  •  Club Man Pinaud (7+ / 0-)

    I very much want to learn how to use a straight razor (might start with an old fashioned safety razor instead though, to get used to the single blade/no cartridge).

    Just wanted to add that a great cheap aftershave is Club Man Pinaud. It really soothes the skin, and it makes you smell like you stepped out of a 1950s barbershop!

    the ladies love it... and I'm sure the fellas do too.

    •  That's the aftershave I use (4+ / 0-)

      They sit it right next to the William's mug soap at my pharmacy, like they know that everyone who buy the one usually buys the other too.

      I used a DE safety razor for about a year in college when I was 19, until I lost the thing somewhere.  I can tell you, you're gonna have a learning curve with both switches.  Using a DE isn't much different than using a cartridge, the handle's aligned the same way, you just have to keep an eye on your angle, and the nature of a safety razor is such that it won't let you mess up the angle too much.

      You hold a straight razor in a completely different way and consequently, manage the blade's angle against the skin in a completely different way.  You will learn to stretch your skin with your free hand in similar ways, and it might be beneficial to learn that without having to focus on the pressure and angle of the blade as well, I don't know.  By the time I switched to a straight, I had to relearn both anyway.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 06:38:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll stick with Nair. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht, Senor Unoball

    There's no reason to ever shave.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 06:24:51 PM PST

  •  I do 18th Cent. reenacting. (6+ / 0-)

    Last year I finally got around to buying a straight razor, brush and soap from one of the reenacting suttlers (Google G. G. Godwin), and my Dad donated his old hone and strop. So far I haven't quite had the nerve to put it all to use, but your diary (and especially the on-line resources) are very encouraging.

    It's also got me wondering if the razor is any good. Fortunately I have a reenacting colleague who's a bit of an expert, so I can hand it to him and see what he thinks.

    This time of year I wear a beard, but come June it's back to the 18th Cent. clean-shaven look for me.

    -8.38, -7.74 My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. - Jack Layton

    by Wreck Smurfy on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 06:59:27 PM PST

    •  A simple test (8+ / 0-)

      Try to shave some hair off the back of your hand.  Hold the blade at about 30 degrees to the surface of the skin and scrape.  If it takes off all the hair it's in contact with down to the skin using no pressure other than what it takes to move the razor, it's sharp enough to shave.  Make sure you test the whole length of the blade.  If that works all the way down the whole length, see if it'll cut arm hair 1/8"-1/4" above the skin.  This doesn't always work for everybody as a valid test, depends on the hair, humidity, whether you've just showered, and so on.

      However, when in doubt, just visit the Classifieds section of the two shaving forums I listed above, and find yourself a honer.  The prices are usually between $15 and $20 to get a razor honed, and when you get it back, you'll know it's ready to shave with.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:12:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks. I did just check it and it seems good. (5+ / 0-)

        Your comment about newer razors and novelties gave me pause.

        My colleague that I mentioned is a honer, so if need be I can get him to get it in shape.

        Incidentally, the blade on this razor is about 2", not 3". Seems to me that would be easier to control (noting your point above re. shaving for the ladies in delicate areas).

        -8.38, -7.74 My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. - Jack Layton

        by Wreck Smurfy on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:23:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I went and looked up your razor (5+ / 0-)

          To tell the truth, I'm a little worried for you.  I can't find any reviews from the usual places I look on those razors, I looked for G. Gedney Godwin and couldn't find a thing.  That worries me 'cause the guys that look for these kinds of things would jump on a $17.00 straight shaver like ducks on a junebug.

          The real problem with the pakistani and "novelty" razors (and a lot of them are sold as "functional") is the consistency of the steel.  With some of them, they simply will not hold an edge fine enough to shave with, but others of the exact same brand will be fine.  You might have gotten lucky and got one of the novelty razors that will actually hold an edge.

          Nevertheless, I wouldn't try actually shaving your face with it until you've had it honed by a straight razor honer.  A straight razor honer is a guy who uses straight razors as well as sharpening them, and may or may not also sharpen knives or other tools.  

          From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

          by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:42:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Godwin's a period sutler; they get period accurate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nellebracht

            (or period almost-accurate) goods from a variety of small makers and put them in one place.

            The problem with modern straight razors, at least for a reenactor using them at an event, is that they have a considerably different blade and handle shape from a period one.

            I don't generally use my period gear in everyday life (save for the musical instruments), and Wreck Smurfy might wish to get a modern one for daily use, and keep the Godwin one in his kit.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:18:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Ditto here; I do a Jacobite Highlander, and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, Nellebracht

      as a gentleman of the clan (piper), I go clean-shaven. Clearly, considering who I'm portraying, I can have little fear of sharp steel, as usually trounce around with three or more blades on my person already.

      Never had to shave at an event, but I have shaved with a straight razor before, and it's actually quite nice when you get used to it. I never learned to sharpen well myself, which is why I fell out of the habit.

      Nonetheless, this diary inspired me to pick up a near-replica of an 18th century straight razor for my kit.

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:14:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Safety Razor (9+ / 0-)

    I went the safety razor route, which is a bit safer. I use the old blades with an edge on each side. Put it in the razor, screw it together, and let her rip. Blades coast about $20 for 100, which will last for a very long time. I use the badger brush and Proraso shave creme. Shaving is a pleasure now.

    Visit www.badgerandblade.com for lots of shaving info!

    Signature Impaired.

    by gttim on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 08:44:38 PM PST

    •  A good route to go! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Senor Unoball, Larsstephens

      I had a DE for about a year when I was 19.  I remember that thing taking a swath of skin off my jawline one time.  Of course, it never scarred me, and I do have a very faint scar along my cheekbone from attempting an ill-advised maneuver with the straight.  

      Another thing for new folks to keep in mind is that those disposable blades start out far sharper than anything produced on a traditional straight razor; they're laser sharpened by a laser guided computer program.  There's no way a guy with a stone and elbow grease is gonna match that.  That's actually one of the reasons you can get a more comfortable, close shave with the straight.  Because you have greater control over the angle and pressure of the blade against the hair and the skin, the blade doesn't need to be quite as sharp to give as close a shave, resulting in less skin irritation.  Still has to be sharp enough though.  But that's one reason why I don't recommend new straight razor users go with shavettes or featherblades, which are basically disposable straights.  You have to be even more skilled to use them than a traditional straight; they're so sharp, it's super easy to burn yourself or dig in with 'em.

      Of course, ultimately, how good a shave you get with a DE is just as much a matter of technique as with a straight, and I'm glad to see so many people going the less-waste route.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 09:20:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Went This Route As Well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mkor7, Nellebracht

      Now I feel like my own father.

      As for the cartridge rip-off kind: You can get a lot more shaves out of one of those cartridges than the manufacturer wants you to get. Ignore the colored strip that tells you the cartridge needs to be replaced -- it's nonsense. In the past, I've gotten several weeks of use out of one cartridge.

      This head movie makes my eyes rain.

      by The Lone Apple on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:56:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for th epost, Nell.. (6+ / 0-)

    You struck a chord with me. I got all crazy about learning straight razor techniques a few years back too. I studied all of the sites you listed and pulled the plug on a nice Dovo before the prices went sky high.

    Got a nice silver tip, soaps, mug and all the trimmings. I was really terribly afraid of the straight razor though. I concurrently purchased a decent safety razor and ended up using that after one attempt with the straight.

    I was rather surprised that the straight razor actually worked really well, but it scared me just the same. So, I have set it aside for the past few years and just kept using the safety razor.

    After reading your great post, my desire to begin mastering this technique has once again resurfaced!

    All of your advice is dead on based on my reading and trials so I think you for inspiring me to try once again!

    No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts.

    by verdeo on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 09:08:03 PM PST

  •  Another option: a disposable razor sharpener (4+ / 0-)

    http://www.lehmans.com/...

    I have one, and it works ok.  It doesn't really sharpen the blade as much as it smoothes it out so it doesn't catch.  I've been shaving with the same Mach 3 blade for a few months now and it still works fine.  (I usually shave in the shower under hot water and don't use any shaving cream so I keep the waste to near zero.)

    contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

    by barath on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 09:37:19 PM PST

    •  That's basically a strop (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      verdeo, Larsstephens, subtropolis

      And unfortunately, it only strops one side, which is why it doesn't extend the life of your blade basically forever.

      And actually, when you're shaving in the shower, you're rarely doing anything else, with all that hot water just running off you and down the drain.  With that, I can pretty much guarantee you I use less hot water shaving than you do.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 09:46:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  true about hot water (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nellebracht, Larsstephens

        Though I'm not sure it's made my showers longer - I think I'm still in the 10 minute range.  (Otherwise I would have just been using the time to wake up under the hot water without shaving.)

        contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

        by barath on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 10:18:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Water can be cheaply heated (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          barath, Larsstephens, subtropolis

          by using solar thermal water heaters, but in many places, water is a dwindling resource, so it's always better to conserve if one can.  I know the feeling about using the shower to wake up though.

          One way I've found to do it without wasting a bunch of water (and I have been known to take long, very hot showers that completely drain the tank), is to use a peppermint or spearmint scented shampoo and conditioner.  That's always perked me up rather nicely with a pleasant cooling sensation on my scalp.

          From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

          by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 10:26:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Lol have fun cheating death (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball

    Srsly, there's a reason we don't carve hair off our adam's apples with 5 inch long pieces of razor sharp steel anymore. And that reason is called, "Not accidentally killing yourself."

    I'll keep my overly-expensive cartridges thank you. I'll just have to save the planet in some other way.

    "Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives."--John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

    by preciousroy on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 09:38:03 PM PST

    •  Believe it or not (4+ / 0-)

      but I don't think bleeding to death from shaving injuries were ever all that common.

      And after all, it's not like I'm asking you to try this.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 09:44:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, it's called 'lazy wins out...' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nellebracht

      ...Perhaps combined with 'advertising made me do it."

      Unless you have a seizure or have some other spastic disorder while shaving, it'd take deliberate action (or inattention of rather impressive magnitude) to cause serious injury to yourself, even with a five inch long piece of razor sharp steel.

      Straight razors are used with only light pressure, and at an angle that doesn't encourage slicing deeply into the skin if you do screw up.  Furthermore, you scrape, you don't slice; it takes a whole lot more pressure to cut deeply by pushing the blade in, as opposed to using a slicing motion.

  •  You have some serious blood supply (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    in your neck. The carotid artery, if I'm not mistaken, feeds the brain. Aren't you the tiniest bit worried about slitting your throat by accident?

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 09:43:54 PM PST

  •  I've been using a straight edge for ten yrs. (6+ / 0-)

    Love it.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 09:50:11 PM PST

  •  The Cossack's Story (11+ / 0-)

    Not Kossack, Cossack. The Russian ones. They were known for being pretty merciless occupiers when they wanted to be, and there was a town where one particular Cossack was billeted. He went into the local barbershop and announced, "You will give me a perfect shave, for free, and if you should so much as nick the skin, I shall execute you on the spot."

    Naturally, this terrified the barber, who hastily held up his shaking hands and declared, "I cannot shave you, sir, I am far too old, see? But my assistant surely can!" For though he felt great guilt about sacrificing his assistant, he felt more fear than guilt.

    And the assistant, likewise terrified, quickly shook his head. "I cannot shave you, sir, I was struck in the head by my horse this morning, and only came in to tell my master that. But the apprentice surely can!" For though he felt great guilt about sacrificing the apprentice, he felt more fear than guilt.

    And the apprentice boldly nodded his head and declared, "Sir, please take your seat." And lo and behold, he gave the Cossack a perfect shave. The Cossack, impressed despite himself, gave the boy a golden coin and asked, "How did a mere apprentice come by such confidence in his skill that you would take your life into your hands like that, boy?"

    And the boy smiled. "My life was never in danger, sir. If I had slipped, I already had my razor against your throat."

    And the Cossack roared with laughter and went on his way.

    NH4JL DIT '04, NHDP DIT '08!

    by realnrh on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 10:01:04 PM PST

    •  That's an excellent story! (5+ / 0-)

      And it reinforces an important point about shaving with a straight.  Confidence matters.  If you're too scared you'll cut yourself or mess up, you almost certainly will.  Luckily, if you stick with it, you'll find that you never cut yourself that badly, so it's an easy fear to overcome.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 10:08:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Safety Razor for Me (5+ / 0-)

    I tried a straight razor and got pretty good at using it several years ago.  But I just do not like spending the time it takes.  I have three now.  One was my grandfather's.  I don't remember how I got the other two.

    I find that using a safety razor handed down from my father (with double-edge blades is a good combination for me, along with brush and shaving soap.  My safety razor was old when was a lad 50 years ago.   I get 5-7 shaves out of a decent brand-name double-edge stainless steel blade.  The blue blades aren't even available any more around here, but it is just as well since they only lasted about two shaves.  The safety razor is much less wasteful of resources than a disposable or disposable cartridge model, but of course, the straight razor has no disposable parts.  So there you have it.

    I have to agree with the poster above who opined that Williams is not the best soap.  Though Williams is adequate, I prefer Colgate when I can find it.  The key for either brand, however, is to be sure your water is hot enough.  Maybe lack of hot enough water is a contributing factor to my not using the straight blade.

    Thanks for the diary.  It may inspire me to pull out the blade again this weekend.

    PS: The straight razor is unsurpassed when removing a beard or mustache.  

    •  Arko is another good, cheap brand (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      verdeo, Justus, Larsstephens, subtropolis

      Unfortunately, I can't find Arko in any of the stores around here.

      The key with Williams is lots of water and lots of lather-building.  I've found it works best in a two-stage process, where you load the wet and softened soap onto the brush, then build the lather in a second bowl.  Williams likes lots and lots of water.  Like, twice as much as I've had to use with Proraso.  I use almost a quarter of a cup of hot water to a well-loaded brush.  And you have to work it a lot to get a good, stable lather.  If you find the lather disappearing on your face, you didn't work it enough and you need more water.  Williams can also be made a better latherer by adding a few drops of glycerin into the lather.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 10:21:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm learning all sorts of things (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nellebracht, Justus

        I use Williams, but i just build the lather in the mug the soap's in. Maybe i'll try a separate dish.

        I knew about the glycerine but have never tried it.

        On the flip-side of that, the alum bar trick for getting a better grip is a real forehead-slapper (preferably without the straight in one's hand). I already use one for deodorant (over 20 years now) so i'll try that. It also never occurred to me to use it as a stand-in for a stiptic pencil. Good suggestion about keeping a second, dedicated bar.

        All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

        by subtropolis on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 12:39:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for that tip (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nellebracht

        I'll have to try it, as I have a bar of WIlliams soap in the mug now.

  •  What Happened Gillette Bought Out Schick? (3+ / 0-)

    Suddenly the bags of disposable razors disappeared or the quality dropped to the level of paint scrapers, and the cost of cartridges tripled?  

    Gillette is now making cheap quality disposables for countries like India, but they have to keep cost down to less than a dime for what costs us 3 bucks.

    Clearly some Chinese company needs to come and crush Gillettes monopoly.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 10:58:36 PM PST

    •  Old King Gillette's idea (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, subtropolis

      was to come up with a product that people had to use regularly then throw away.  He came up with razors when he was traveling, and found his razor dulled from the trip.

      I'm not saying disposable razors and cartridges aren't convenient, or even that they're too expensive.   But I do think everyone should do as much as they can to limit their trash and waste.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 11:05:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When I think of straight razors (3+ / 0-)

    I think of giallos.

    I do find electric razors to be a good example of inappropriate technology, though.

  •  You've scared the fuck out of me.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht, subtropolis, renska

    ...but it was a valiant effort on your part NOT to scare the fuck out of me or anyone else, and I applaud you for that.

    •  Don't be scared (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      subtropolis, Bensdad

      Just think, only about a hundred years ago or so, every man who shaved any part of their face shaved with a straight razor.  And of all the things they died of, accidental bloodletting during shaving was almost never one of those things.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 11:45:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  OR....try this (3+ / 0-)

    http://www.todayifoundout.com/...

    How to Drastically Increase the Life of Your Shaver Razor Blade Cartridges or Disposable Razors

    Before or after you shave (I prefer before so that the blades are dry), place your jeans on a hard flat surface; then run the razor up the pant legs about 10-15 times quickly; then repeat running it down the pant legs 10-15 times quickly.  No need to press that hard, but a little pressure is necessary.  In both instances, you want to point the top of the razor in the direction you are rubbing the shaver on the pants.  In other words, don’t “shave” the pants; point the razor the other way, so that the blades glide over the surface of the jeans and don’t try to cut them.

    I learned this right around the time I bought a huge refill pack of Mach-3s from Costco (think it was like $30 for 40 razor cartridges).

    I have used this trick and have decided I can make that supply last for many many years using this method described. See link for more details.

    FTR, I had a barber give me a straight edge shave in India and it seemed fine, but I still prefer a Mach 3 any day.

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

    by LaughingPlanet on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 11:48:01 PM PST

  •  take heed of that last tip! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht

    I can remember some nasty "dueling scars" when i first started. Take it slowly, always keep your old razor at hand, and don't hesitate to use it. Even just to get some particular spot done and go back to the straight.

    Oh, and avoid sawing motions.

    All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

    by subtropolis on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 12:04:19 AM PST

    •  Indeed! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      subtropolis

      That's how I got my scar.  Actually, I was trying to accomplish a technique known as "scything" where you sort of swoop the blade in an arc.  Needless to say, I (re)learned my lesson about pushing my boundaries.  No doubt, I'll have to learn that lesson again in the future.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:13:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Did you ever try an old fashioned safety razor? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht

    Not the plastic disposable things, but a metal razor that you buy regular metal blades for?

    I've been thinking of trying that.

    No good?

    If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

    by Bush Bites on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:00:27 AM PST

    •  I did (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bush Bites

      At about the age of 19 I used one for about a year.  They're good, and if you switch to the brush and bowl for making lather, you'll still waste less than if you stuck with disposable or cartridges.  But shaving with them is significantly different enough than with cartridges, there's still a learning curve, albeit not as significant a one.

      I don't know if it helps you make your decision or not, but the disposable blades they sell for those double-edged or single-edged safety razors, and the ones they sell for the disposable straights, are significantly sharper than the edges you'll see on a professionally honed traditional straight blade.  Sharper isn't always better; the straight gives you more control, but it does take some time learning how to use that control properly.  Some people find the edges of the disposable blades to be harsh, and because they are so sharp, they can be less forgiving in some ways than a straight.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:08:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        uffdalib

        I may give it a shot --- even though I'd still be throwing a blade away every once in awhile, it still has to be more environmentally friendly than a disposable plastic razor, which I use now.

        At least, I assume so.........

        If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

        by Bush Bites on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:19:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Indeed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bush Bites

          Moreover, I'm pretty sure those disposable razor blades are recyclable, and even if you can't find a place to recycle 'em, they turn into iron oxide eventually, which is hardly a dangerous pollutant, seeing as that's what makes red clay red.

          From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

          by Nellebracht on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:22:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Started to use this travel Gillette safety razor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matador, Nellebracht

    sorta vintage, but very serviceable and very cheap to buy blades, boar bristle brush, shaving soap.

    The short handle took a little getting used to, but it gives a superlative shave and I've yet to nick myself.

    Profoundly humbled by DKos generosity of spirit and selflessness of nature. Forever grateful beyond measure.

    by wretchedhive on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:57:31 AM PST

    •  I recently bought a similar razor. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bush Bites, Nellebracht

      . . .at an antiques store. I had no trouble finding blades for it and had forgotten how great they work since I wore a beard for two decades. I love the fact that I only throw away the blade when I'm done.

      Someone could reintroduce these razors with a green handle, call them the green razor & sell the blades over the internet.

      •  Been looking online -- there's a whole cult... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nellebracht

        ....of safety razor users that was news to me.

        This seems to be the most popular currently made razor  these days:

        http://www.westcoastshaving.com/...

        It's from a German company.

        But, I guess, the Gillette ones from the 40s through the 60s are also popular. Double edged blades haven't changed, so current blades work in them fine.

        If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

        by Bush Bites on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 05:36:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  and the vintage Gillettes are (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nellebracht

          beautifully made, last forever if you keep them clean and don't drop them, and are much cheaper. Unless eBay prices have soared since I shopped for mine....

          The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. --Dante Alighieri

          by uffdalib on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:36:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I have an old Rolls Razor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht

    It's not a straight edge, but kind of on par. Might be a good alternative for those who are leery of the straight edge.

    Nice little portable razor that can be kept sharpened with its own built-in strop and stone.

    Here's a video Rolls Razor Garden of someone shaving with one. He's out in his garden with a vanity doing his shaving... but it gives you the finer points of using this razor.


    One may live without bread, but not without roses.
    ~Jean Richepin
    Bread & Roses

    by bronte17 on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:03:44 AM PST

  •  De-lurking - now available as an e-book! (5+ / 0-)

    Dang, I so rarely comment on anything at dKos anymore but this is too good to pass by with a mere 'rec and run'.

    I've been wanting to try a straight razor for many years now. Last time I was at the barbershop I asked my regular barber about where I could get my paws on one and he was rather unhelpful. I've seen them hanging around antique shops. I've been honing my own knives and sculpting tools for decades and think I might be able to put a decent edge on a straight razor. We'll see...

    I mean, as long as I can remember barbers have been shaving that bit of sideburn (I like how the singular pisses off spellcheck) or the hairs on my neck with what? why, with a straight razor of course.

    I remember fondly a skit on the Saturday Night Live of my youth that lampooned the disposable twin-bladed razor ads of that long forgotten era. The skit was an ad for a triple-bladed razor which had a first blade to pull up the hair and a second blade to pull it up even higher before the third blade lopped it off. It was comedy back then.

    When I started shaving it was with a double bladed disposable cartridge razor. Plenty of nicks as I learned. Then I was given an electric razor. One of those micro-screen things. It never gave me a smooth shave and when finally, in my yearning for the smooth skin of a razor shave, my desperate application of pressure to the machine caused the vibrating blade to cut through the screen and take a nice slice out of my neck. Worst cut I've ever received while shaving.

    Yeah, electric shavers. Lovely combination of electricity and metal razors held in place by plastic. I trust them near my throat about as much as I'd trust a chainsaw. And I like chainsaws.

    When I was visiting a friend in Germany I discovered that he'd never used anything but electric shavers. He was curious about my double bladed contraption and I taught him to shave with it. He was so amazed by the result he bought his own disposable cartridge razor and stopped using electric razors completely.

    For a time I took over the task of shaving my wife's grandfather. His jittery hands didn't allow him to shave himself but I used his old brush and soap and double-edged, safety razor on him. His loose leathery skin required a bit of stretching like straight razors need. Occasionally I would shave myself with a safety razor.

    I've only used brush and soap on myself since then. I even converted my own shaving foam using father to brush and soap. The working of the lather into the hairs with the brush made his hairs stand up much better than just burying them under a blob of spray foam.

    Now, over me many long, grey years, I've watched the disposable razor circus toss lubra-smooth strips and push button cleaning features at me before they gave up on those miraculous modern ideas and actually started producing triple-track™ razors. Because surely scraping 3 razors over my face is going to produce less razor burn than scraping 2 razors over my face twice. That was the pitch. A lot of people swung at it. I laughed at it for a long time remembering that it used to be parody-- not reality.

    Eventually some company sent me a triple bladed razor to try for some token price and with the cost of the replacement cartridges for my trusty double soaring I thought I'd be saving money by giving in finally. I finally got the joke. And it worked fine. Was it the revolutionary shave I'd been promised? No. I didn't opt for the monthly replacement cartridge pack plan and began wondering what I was going to use.

    My sister-in-law's husband was using a Quatro hunk of plastic and swore it was amazing. I thought back to SNL and remembered the tag line of the ad "Because you'll buy anything!"

    The day after I saw the quintuple-bladed disposable razor displayed by the checkout counter of my local store I bought my first safety razor. It was in a generic looking yellow package featuring the Wilkinson Sword logo at the top and labelled "Classic". It came with 5 replacement blades. Replacement blades for these safety razors are cheaper than dirt here.

    And I'm still thinking I'll enjoy going straight once I find a razor. But perhaps there is something in the addition of the word 'safety' to some razors. I do want to try shaving in it's purest form but I expect most days, when I do shave,  the safety razor will be my choice.

    I hate being forced to jump through hoops in the consumer circus. I'm not that kind of cat. I can feel the results on my own face. Two passes, three on the stubborn spots on my neck with a single-bladed safety razor and I've got the smoothest shave that ever failed to make a credit card go skritch skritch. I've worked for many years in advertising. I know the game and frankly, I'm not buying a 6 bladed wonder to scrape across my face just because the first blade lifts the hair, the second pulls it up even higher, the third blade...

    This ridiculous consumer trap has been on my mind so much lately that I've actually sketched out episodes of a comic strip about it. Seeing this diary struck me as such a strange coincidence. My character in the strip and I have not yet made the leap to using straight razors but thanks for the encouragement!

    Oh, and if anyone replies to this comment it'll be awhile before I get back to comment further. Not exactly regulation dKos spastic hamster blogging I know, but a cat has to have some time away from computers to romp in the snow!

  •  I had a Remington "Electro shave," which was (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Taget, Nellebracht

    a handle to which one could affix the shaving cartridge of one's choice. The handle vibrated, supposedly reducing the possibility of a nick. When I was a child, I thought the Norelco(TM) Tripleheader(TM) was neato keeno and couldn't wait to try one. As it turned out, the electric razor that can do an acceptable job on my face has yet to be invented. I even shelled out some ridiculous amount for a "sharpener" for the Norelco(TM). What arrived was what you'd expect from a late-night TV commercial, or those catalogs that come unbidden and carry all sorts of junk.

    So, it was the Remington as soon as I discovered it. The devices went out of production some years ago, but I found one in a little shaver shop in Utica, NY. Meanwhile, Gillette came out with a vibrating device that supposedly emits a sound that makes the beard hairs stiffen, but other than that, it's the Remington, only with special cartridges that cost $2 apiece. They make my face smooth as a baby's behind, so I just grit my teeth and pay up...and use each cartridge until i can't stand it any longer.

    I also have a liquid styptic. I used to use the pencil (just the way Dad did), but those things were always hitting the floor and breaking. The liquid version is touted as "Stings less!" It stings MORE. Luckily, I don't get many visits from St. Nick.

  •  The Body Shop has a good brush (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht

    It cost $11 a decade ago.  It feels close to a badger bristle brush without the costs and animal rights issues.

  •  another good men's grooming option: hair clippers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht

    I bought an electric clipper by Wahl for $75 a few years ago and have never looked back. Only if you're into very short hair, though.  It takes some practice to be able to do a good job on yourself, but if you stick with it you can recoup the cost very fast.

    Whenever loyalty to the enterprise becomes more important than simple morality, there you will find evil functioning smoothly -Roger Ebert

    by boojieboy on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:12:59 AM PST

  •  I'm not quite there yet. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justus, Nellebracht, uffdalib

    Disposable plastic razors are in my top ten of things I'd outlaw as soon as I'm annointed King of the World.  They an abomination of wastefulness.

    For myself, I've been deleriously happy with a double edged razor.  I happen to have an old antique brass one that is as charming as it is efficient.  Yes, I do have to replace the steel blades, but no plastic is harmed in the shaving of my face.  I'm fortunate to have thin, slow-growing facial hair, and I keep a goatee; so I don't have much to shave, and not very often.  As a result, one blade can easily last me a month; so my contribution to the landfill is pretty minor.

    I have considered the straight razor idea, but as you say, the initial commitment involes time and money.  I'd do it for the "romance", but as a functional alternative, it can't beat what I'm doing now.

    The Confederacy killed more Americans than al Queda.

    by rb608 on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:29:07 AM PST

  •  If I had the confidence (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pozzo, Nellebracht

    I'd do this. But my hand is not that steady. I think I'll be sticking with my 5 bladed titanium razor.

    Just an ordinary guy, doing extra-ordinary things.

    by Dman4Life on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:35:32 AM PST

  •  Razor blades and printer ink (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht

    The biggest ripoffs. I cringe everytime I have to buy one or the other.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:52:56 AM PST

  •  I got hip to the Multi-blade, safety razor scam... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jhop7, Nellebracht

    about 15 years ago. I have been using a mug a brush since I was a young man in the '70's but tried some of the multiblades.  

    I quickly grew tired of the expense and went back to my single blace, adjustable, Shick, injector razor.  Partially also because the hairs of my beard approximate the strenght of steel wool and would  quickly clog the multiblades rendering them useless

    When I realized that the injector blades were beginning to disappear from the grocery/drugstore shelves; got on Ebay and bought enough blades to last the rest of my life and a couple of spare razors, all for pennys on the MSRP dollar.

    I buy a cake of mug shaving soap and a syptic pencil every couple of years; but have no other shaving expense.

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

    by cazcee on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:56:49 AM PST

  •  You know, this is cute, but changing from manu- (0+ / 0-)

    factured razors to straight razors, going from plastic bags at the grocery to paper bags, or paper bags to reusable bags, or weatherstripping your doors...that might make you feel better, but it really accomplishes nothing. What would help? A freaking huge gas tax is what.

  •  Done by a barber it's a great shave (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht

    Don't know if I have the patience and confidence to do it myself, though

  •  A Dubl Duck bravo for a great diary! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht
  •  I have a couple old straight razors somewhere (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht

    that I picked up from my grandparents' neighbor's yard sale when I was a kid.  I never thought about actually using them until now.
       But I made the switch to a brush and Williams Shaving soap already.  I made it originally because I won't buy canned lather and I never found any regular soap that would work.  And I'll never switch back if I can help it!
       I remember watching my Grandfather shave, with a safety razor, though.  The Williams soap was what he used, and the smell always reminds me of him.

  •  I love it! - from a fellow SR user (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    minidriver, Nellebracht

    I switched to a straight razor probably 10 years ago because my skin was very sensitive and in hopes of saving money.  It is by far the superior shave.  I spent maybe $300 on all the start up (razor, strop, etc) and that was 10 years ago.   Compare that to the price of razor blades during that same time and you see how ridiculous the savings are.

    What I find ironic is that all these 4/5 blade razors they come out now are trying desperately, not just to make massive mark up profits, by essentially trying to get closer and closer to the shave a straight razor offers.  That is why all the blades...each one closer to your face.  But what is even closer is just buying a straight razor and putting it directly on your face.

    The reason straight razors work is because when you shave, the blade is a high quality metal, directly on the skin, the blade is much longer and so the pressure is more evenly spread out, AND because the single exposed blade allows the shaved-off stuble to push away from your face.   "Standard" razor blades are made from a very cheap and poor quality metal that quickly and easily chips and breaks down as you use it.  Which is why you need to keep buying new blades.  But consider what those chipped up blades do to your skin as you shave?  Also, disposable blades are encased so when you shave, your stubble gets stuck in between the blades and drags across your skin, causing irritation.  So to solve this, you need moisturizing strips and special shaving cream ,etc.

    What is also interesting is you can walk into walmart and buy even a crappy shaving brush, and basic shaving soap for a combined $10 - $20.  I shave once or twice a week and a $5 - $10 bar of shaving soap lasts me at least a year, if not more.  Plus there is less chemicals in the product to irritate and dry out the sking.  The same price (or likely more) spent on shaving foam/gel/lotion lasts noticeably less time.

    The one possible downside to a straight razor is yes, you have to be a bit more careful while shaving, and it takes a bit longer to shave in general.  However, ask any shaving or dermatologist and they will tell you you should be shaving slowly regardless.

    I would recommend a straight razor to anyone over disposal blade shaving.  The only thing disposable baldes do better is make money for the companies that sell them.  As far as product quality, you pay WAY more over time for a product that is extremely inferior in all ways.

  •  I can't think of straight razors (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht

    without thinking of Sweeney Todd. "At last my right arm is complete again."

    But I commend your article. Well done.

    God be with you, Occupiers. God IS with you.

    by Hohenzollern on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 09:40:30 AM PST

  •  The last time I got a straight razor shave was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht

    the morning of my daughter's wedding.  The barber clipped my ear as he was making a big show, flourishing the blade, and I bled like a stuck pig.   Fortunately, it was a small nick, and a bit of alum powder closed the wound.  

    Never again, and I would never do it myself.  Those things scare me.

    Nincompoopery has never been a bar to high office in our nation. - Molly Ivins

    by SpamNunn on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 09:50:48 AM PST

    •  Famous last words (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SpamNunn

      "Hey everybody, watch this!"  People always get themselves in trouble when they show off.  Shame on that barber for flourishing and nicking you.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 12:05:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  About 10 years ago (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht

    I worked in Downtown Oakland (right across the street from where the occupy activity is now). I used to go to a little salon in City Center to get my hair cut. One fellow renting a chair there was a classic old-fashioned barber (even though he wasn't an old timer himself - mid thirties maybe). He'd always finish off my neck and sideburns with straight razor. I have a beard so I never got a full shave from him, but I was tempted to go that route just for the experience.

  •  Thanks for this. But ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht

    I don't understand how you're not getting ingrowns. Do you have straight beard hair?

    As someone with curly beard hair, the ENEMY is a close shave. I have to buy specialty cartridges that purposefully give me a bad shave. These razors cut the hair above the skin level, rather than at or below my skin. For those of us with curly hair, a close shave means that our hairs in a corkscrew pattern under our skin rather than straight out of our skin.

    I would LOVE to be clean shaven, but my curly beard hair won't allow it. I've grown a bear and I shave my neck once or twice a week. If I shave more regularly than that, even with the specialty cartridges, I get ingrowns.

    Is there some result of using a straight razor that I'm not understanding? I'd love to find an alternative to what I'm doing now!

    •  Believe it or not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShadowRunning

      but those cartridges actually shave "closer" than a straight.  I put "closer" in quotations, because what they actually do is pull the hair ever so slightly out of its pore, then cut it off and let it settle back down below the surface of the skin.  A straight blade shaves your whiskers off right at skin level, and exfoliates and conditions the skin at the same time.

      See if you can find a barber that still gives straight razor shaves and try it out.  He might have to use a disposable blade for hygiene reasons, and those are more difficult to handle than a traditional straight, so find a reputable and respected barber.  Not someone who's gonna show off like SpamNunn's did.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:31:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I use a bar of Ivory. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nellebracht

    I cut it in half and stuff it in a mug. I add heels of used up soaps. And clean out the mug every other year and add a new bar of Ivory.  I figure I'm shaving for under a dollar a year.

    •  Shaving soap (0+ / 0-)

      often has additives in it like silicate clays, or are made with a base of lanolin or tallow, or have a greater proportion of un-saponified fat to help give them more lubrication and cushion than regular soap provides.  

      Of course, not everybody needs all that, and if you're happy with your Ivory soap and bits and pieces, then more power too ya.  I don't know if you already do this, but might I suggest taking a cheese grater and grating up your half-bar, mixing it with about a tablespoon or two of water, and microwaving it until it's all melted in the bottom of the mug?  I often do something similar with my Williams.

      From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

      by Nellebracht on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:53:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm a girl, but I've always wanted to learn (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marko the Werelynx

    to use a straight razor. One of the silly things I miss about nursing in ICU/CCU is that a lot of the male patients were too sick or elderly to manage shaving on their own and I enjoyed making them feel a little pampered amidst all the necessarily unpleasant treatments we had to do. Nuking a wet, (but not sloppy), washcloth for 20 sec or so gives a nice hot, steamy cloth to wrap in and I'd uncover the half I was working on, then switch. Some weren't conscious, but if I had time during the shift I'd try to get them done. I like to think they were aware at some level that they were getting a little extra care.

    Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

    by FarWestGirl on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:04:21 PM PST

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