Saturday, November 22, 2008

Modern Shaving for the Paleolithic Man

He has a totally ripped Superhero body... but after he works out, the man massacres his face with a disposable Bic and still ends up looking like Sonny Crockett... and not in a good way. And so, as promised, here is Richard's Step By Step Guide to Manly Shaving.

0. Find a mirror and a sink.

If you have been following the Evolutionary Fitness way, now would be a good time to reflect on your achievements. Go ahead, take a look. Flex a little. You've earned it.

1. Prepare the lather.

Here's where you will need some new equipment. I have a fancy shaving mug with a handle that Emjay got me last Christmas. Up until then, I used a metal 35mm film developing tank. The brush should be badger hair - don't get boar if you can help it. Badger hair holds and sheds water just right. You might spend $50-$80, but you will have the brush a long time.

My soap comes in a tube from Crabtree & Evelyn. There are a lot of choices. You can also get the soap in cakes, but I have trouble getting a consistent lather from a cake.

With soap in a tube, i just put a dollop in the mug like so. Meanwhile, the brush is heating up in the sink.

2. Prepare the face

Wash your face with hot water. You need to open up the pores so that your hairs stand up well and can be cut close to the skin. You may also want to put a hot towel on your face, like they do in the barbershop.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh..... now, mix up the lather. Shake the excess water off your brush. Experience will show you how much is "excess". Your lather should not quite be the consistency of the cheap stuff that comes out of a can. That crap is only for squirting at cars on Halloween. You are "wet shaving" - using the heat and the fluid to soften your beard and get a closer shave.

Now lather up, cowboy.

3. The Razor

I prefer a clamshell-style safety razor with platinum-coated double edge blades.

I got the razor, a vintage Gilette adjustable, for a few bucks on Ebay. You can spend a lot more and get a new one, of course. The blades are Merkur, good German steel. I buy them by the case from a variety of online dealers. I find I can get 3-4 good shaves out of each of the two edges.

4. Shave

You should know how to do this already... but with a double edge there is a bit of an art to it and you can cut yourself pretty badly if you are not careful.

Your face has a grain - the direction in which the hairs want to lie. Too many guys using electric razors or fancy 7-bladed vibrating monstrosities don't know which way theirs goes. Usually it's down on the cheeks and up on the neck. I have some spots where the grain goes across, from cheek to chin. You can find yours pretty easily with your fingers before shaving, or by testing with the razor which direction seems to be easiest.

Shave with the grain first. The angle of attack varies by user from 30 to 45 degrees. The steeper the angle, the closer - but possibly the rougher - the shave. As in many things, you must find your own path. Note the direction: for me, down above the chin and up below.

After a first pass with the grain, I like to take a second pass AGAINST it for my chin and cheeks. Doing this will give you a very close shave. Be sure to lather up again. It's important to keep the skin warm and wet, or you will get serious razor burn doing this.

5. The Post-Shave

Rinse off all your equipment and splash your face with cold water. Ahhhh. This re-seals the pores.

To complete the shave, you might want one or more products to take care of your skin and make your face smell nice. If there is a particular person from whom you want regular affection, involve that person in the selection process.

My products: "Every Man Jack" lotion from Target followed by a few spriztes of cologne, again from Crabtree and Evelyn. Note that the brush is hung up to dry: this is important for protecting your investment in badger hair.

That's it! You're ready to start the day. It might not be paleolithic, but this way you can save the stone knife for skinning squirrels.

1 comment:

  1. Frikin hilarious and informative. What kind of idiot would use a disposable bic!