What is Traditional Wet Shaving?
Back in the day before aerosols and multiple blades, things were simple, and simple worked very well. Unfortunately, it seems to us that the large companies got carried away with large scale marketing, but really got away from a great shave. Traditional wet shaving has made a big comeback as many are coming to find truth in the basic ways of shaving. Now, we know this method might be a little new to people so we’re going to break it down for you in this guide to wet shaving.
Men & Wet Shaving:
A classic wet shave takes you on an aesthetic journey back – back to ritual, back to quality, back to life-long tools, back to basics.
Sometime between the time Babe Ruth was calling his homers and Bonds was pumping ‘roids, we lost our way. Quick became “king”. If we could find a short cut, outsource it, or cut corners, we did it. Hard work, honing our skills, and taking our time, were buried under cheap fixes and gimmicks. It’s time to slow down, return to our roots, and boldly reclaim an age old practice.
You see, back in the day before aerosol cans and multiple blades, things were simple. And simple. . . worked. Unfortunately, marketing mischief ensued and mega corporations got carried away with large scale ad campaigns & competitions that pushed product to the detriment of a good shave.
But don’t despair! Once dismissed as obsolete, traditional shaving has made a big comeback and more and more people have (re)discovered the timeless wisdom of a masterful shave.
So consider this your initiation – a right of passage into wet shaving ritual and routine.
Read on to discover the tools and techniques you need to shave like your ancestors.
Women & Wet Shaving:
Like men, women, too, have bought into the marketing myth of disposable razors, multiple blades heads, and canned goops & foams. But no longer, if we’re going to shave (and hey, that might be a big “if”) we’re going to do it with intention and care.
In the 1920s & 30s, the increasingly successful Gillette company saw an untapped market in women’s shavers. Soon, they were marketing directly to that unshaven lady. And we were duped. Convinced that we needed more blades, fancy colors, clever names, and artificial foams to remove hair, we began to buy products hand over fist.
Join the initiation into a more intentional - and better - shave. Read on to discover more about the tools and techniques.
Water is the star of the show (hence “wet” shaving.)
It softens your hair, lubricates your pores, and preps your face & body for a great shave.
Some guys like to shave at the sink after a nice hot shower, while many women shavers prefer to shave in a warm bath. This is an ideal time, since you’ve just warmed and cleaned your hair. However, you can also skip the shower/bath and just apply a warm towel to prep the area to be shaved.
Water is also used to prepare the lather – you want to adequately soak that brush before you whip up a rich lather on a soap puck or whirl up a cream in your lather bowl.
Barber’s Tip: A glass of water never hurt anyone either.
Shaving Soap or Cream
You want to use a quality shaving soap or cream to create a lather with a shaving brush. There are benefits to using both and it mostly comes down to preference.
For most shavers, we recommend starting with creams – it’s easy to whip up a nice bowl full, and it’s typically pretty rich, too. In some ways, lathering directly on a soap surface feels like one less step, but it tends to take more work to generate a good quantity.
Regardless of which you use, you want to achieve a consistency similar to that of whipped cream. To do so, you may have to play with how much water you need. Start with less and add as needed.
Barber’s Tip: It’s always easier to add water than to take it away.
You use the shaving brush to create the lather . . . oh, man, do you even have options here - badger, horse, boar, and synthetic hair just to name the most popular.
Some hairs work better with soaps and some with creams.
When using cream, you’ll find a soft brush works well AND feels great on the skin. If you’re a soap aficionado, you’ll like a brush with greater backbone (firmer structure to pull more off the soap puck). There are also plenty of options that fall in the middle, if you happen to like toggling between soap and cream.
A brush is something that (with good care and a little sweet talk) will last several years, even decades. Just make sure to rinse it out well, and flick out the excess water.
Barber’s Tip: If Johnny takes good care of his toys, they will last.
The heart of traditional shaving is ONE blade; because - as long as it’s sharp - it is really all you need. Sure, you can add 5 blades and have it sing to you, but that just isn’t necessary.
If you really want to go “old school”, grab a straight razor. One long blade, deftly welded will give you the best shave of your life. Straight razors do require a bit of a learning curve in technique and maintenance as you need to strop/hone your blade regularly.
But most shavers like to roll with the double edge safety razor. Don’t let “double” mislead you. This is still a single blade shave. It isn’t double blades, just that both sides of the blade are exposed and available for cutting. You can whisk away that hair by alternating sides of the razor. This type of shaving lets you experiment with multiple blades to find your sweet spot – and always keep a sharp blade in your tool. ]
Barber’s Tip: More is not always better.
If you have sensitive skin, you might prefer a balm or lotion rather than a traditional alcohol-based splash.
There are so many scents to choose from to finish your shave, but the focus should be on soothing, moisturizing, and healing your skin. Stronger scents can be found in colognes, perfumes, eau de toilettes, etc.
Barber’s Tip: The right scent can really take you places.
Begin Your Wet Shaving Rite of Passage . . . We’ll Help.
Yes, it’s a journey, and HELL YES, it’s one worth making. Just ask the thousands of shavers we’ve served since 2017.
But since no one needs to stumble around in the dark, we have a team of expert shavers and lathering gurus who’d love nothing more than to usher you into your new state of artful being.
Check out our educational blogs, videos, or simply pick up the phone and give us a call. We are ready to serve.
Wet Shaving Techniques
How to Give Yourself the Perfect Shave
There are several steps to a true traditional shave, which some men follow to a tee while others remix to their own tastes. And women shavers may use all of these or skip a few depending on their preferences.
In time, you will find what works best for you, but to get started here are a few basic steps to initiate yourself.
Begin by applying a warm towel or taking a shower/bath to soften the hair and skin. Many men like to use a mirror so they shave in front of the sink. Women tend to prefer shaving in the bath.
Now it is time to apply the blade. Choose a straight razor or double edge safety razor and start by going with the grain. As you do multiple passes, applying your lather between each go is ideal. As long as your skin can handle it, it is best to go with the grain, across the grain, and finally, against the grain.
Finish off your shave with a nice cool rinse to clean off any excess cream, and then apply an aftershave. These splashes & balms are designed to tone, tighten, hydrate and cleanse your skin after the shave. And leave you with a great scent as well.