Why did men stop shaving traditionally?

Discussion in 'General Shaving Discussion' started by bennyblade28, May 29, 2012.

  1. I have been thinking about this the past few days... I have read comments on here quoting their dad / grandad with regards to traditional DE shaving. Bad comments, saying they wont do it or dont want to do it.

    What brought about this change? What stopped fathers teaching their sons the art of shaving?

    My dad never taught me how to shave, he just told me to go to the shop buy a Mach 3 and shave off my "bum fluff".

    Was it electric shavers that killed off mens desire to carry out the ritual of shaving? Is it just the lack of education / bad experiences?

    Sorry if this subject has been covered before on here, I did a quick search but could not find anything before posting.
  2. The never ending quest for the newest/latest gadget. The desire to be the "modern man". To not look "old fashioned", out of step, or out of touch with today.

    New is the rage (always has been). Why do people get rid of their perfectly working car to get a "new" one. Why are they always "new" items on the fast food menu? I mean how many different ways can you put a piece of meat on a bun?
  3. Marketing. And the desire to make a profit. To "save" time.
  4. I think it's a time thing. Most people think they're too busy to take 20 minutes for themselves a day. In reality, they aren't (now), but 25 years ago, maybe they actually were. Long hours at work combined with trying to squeeze in some time wit friends and family makes a so-so shave that takes 5 minutes max seem acceptable.
    Personally, I love my "shave time". It gives me some time to pamper myself and focus on something different than I had to all day.
    Do I need such a close shave? Well, yes, for work, I do. BUT, my shave takes long enough that I do it before bed, and by the time I wake up, a Mach 3 would have done the trick that morning. I should also point out that I occasionally still use a M3 in the morning, because of time, but I ALWAYS lather up with a shave stick and brush when I do.
  5. As for the time thing, I am sure if you were in a rush you could get away with 2 steady passes instead of 3 or 4 passes and still get a shave that is better than your cartridge razors.

    Its all that tugging and pulling which makes me not look forward to shaving right now. Unless I use the most expense blades (proglide), I get a horrible experience from them.

    I tried electric shave too, which suprisingly got me closer on my face than a single pass using proglide blades gets me, but then I try the electric on my neck and it leaves me in agony for 2 or 3 days, and a very sensitive neck for up to a week.

    It seems DE is the only way for me to go.
  6. Cars do need replacing every now and then :p A newer car will usually be purchased because of cost or comfort. Whereas I see going from DE to a cartridge razor as a decrease in comfort and an increase in cost.
  7. People are lazy. Most people will take the half-assed approach if they're able. Why put effort into it? Changing my own oil in my car is easy and cheaper than taking it somewhere, but many able bodied people just don't bother.
  8. I went through a series of shave systems: Electric - very bad, very painful, SE - worked fine as long as I had no fuzz on my chin, Injector - excellent overall, Electric, revisited - severe skin irritation, DE - twenty years' worth, carts - 19 years' worth, nothing special there.

    I had continued using DEs after I bought some early cart razors, saving their use for particularly hurried occasions. Then, my career came off the tracks, and I had to take what I could get to be working, but being so underemployed as I was, it didn't cover the bills. So with two jobs that didn't reach much more than half of my former income, I was rushing all the time. DE shave became the occasional weekend option instead of the usual. Even when I couldn't stay on past 62 years old on that terrible job (terrible pay, most certainly), I had at least retired my mortgage and paid off my last car loan.

    It took almost ten years after that to realize I had no need for a rushed shave any more.
  9. I was lucky, in the mid-60s my dad was the only father among my friends who still used a brush & soap. So that's what I used and he taught me everything. Unless they used an electric, everyone used a DE, so most guys I knew started with that but quickly gravitated to carts when they became available. I think over the last 30 years or so the modern carts have reduced the need for much instruction. My 22 year old son started traditional shaving a year or two ago and is an evangelist, spreading the word & giving instructions to his friends...appears the tradition will carry on.
  10. In one word "time". I can almost imagine the publicity... Gentleman, its time to toss your obsolet safety razors. Replace it by the new Trac II elaborated by gillette's most qualified engineers. Reduce your shaving time by 2, got more time for breakfast before going to your job. Have more time with your wife and have a pleasant day instead of wasting time with slow devices that can hurt you. The Trac II is the result of 4 years of intensive research, it's 2 blades cartridge system is designed to cut the hair twice time faster than any other devices on the marquet. With its unique safety system, dont be worried anymore with nicks and shave time.

    Of course at the end of the publicity you can see the guy coming home in his royal monaco and kiss his wife before she say 'honey, your face is so soft' wich he answer 'thank to trac II, now I've got more time with you'

  11. As for canned shaving cream replacing soap pucks, that was probably a convenience and time deal. No more wet mugs and brushes to deal with. Rise foam came on the market in the late 1940's and canned goo had a 2/3 market shave a decade later.

    I tend to blame the demise of the DE razor on marketing claims that the cartridge systems could get a closer shave in one pass using less time and with reduced nicks than DE razors. Remember that carts came to the market in the late 1960's and early 1970's when truth in advertising was still a developing concept.
  12. Ease. Convenience. MARKETING.
  13. +1

    What he said
  14. To be honest most men could give a rat's a** about shaving, then or now. It was and is just something you do. Guys were not bemoaning the loss of the straight in the 1930's, the loss of soap and brush in the 50's and so on. Whatever you could use to get it done faster and easier was adopted at the drop of hat.

    I would not call it laziness. People just prioritize things differently. Remember there was a time where shaving everyday was required for your job or social acceptance, no beards or scruff allowed. No shaving every other day to get a better shave etc. Just imagine if you had to get up every morning at 5 am and straight shave in cold water because you had to. Does not matter if you have a nick or razor burn from the day before. If something affordable came alone that made it easier and faster you would probably use it.

    We are lucky today where shaving and a lot of personal grooming habits are optional and we are free to pick our own style. Shaving has become a luxury.
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  15. I asked my father about this very topic recently. He is 58 and told me he never used a brush or a DE. Growing up he used Bic disposables and gel from a can, although there was what I though was an archaic looking cartridge razor in the back of the cabinet that I never remember him using (probably an Atra or Trac II.) When I started shaving, it was the Gillette Sensor and he started using one of those at the same time and I don't think I got much by way of instruction. When the Mach 3 came out, I switched and he started using one of those as well and still does. I asked him about "upgrading" to the Fusion and he said the cartridges were too expensive, so maybe it sounds like Gillette has gone too far there. I also asked him about using something else than gel from a can and he said, "agh... it works." Shaving has always been a chore to him, something that had to be done and he does not shave on the weekends unless he "has to." I don't think I could get him to change anything at this point, but I am going to keep working on getting him to ditch his canned gel habit.
  16. It's not laziness, the people who say it is are the same ones who live in homes full of modern conveniences, drive modern vehicles, and buy groceries and other necessities at modern stores or the internet. Does that make them lazy? It's not marketing and a desire for profit, that's what prompted King Gillette to design the first single ring and disposable blades, and before that the first safety razors made by the Kampfe Brothers and before that the companies that made straight razors. Every company that ever sold a razor or blade did it for profit.

    What caused the demise of the "traditional" shave was the introduction of the Wilkinson Bonded Razor System in 1970 and the Gillette Trac II in 1971. Both were quicker, safer and easier than anything else and that's all that mattered to men and women at the time. I seriously doubt that many men who were shaving at that time used words like "luxurious", "pampering", "zen" or "me time" when they discussed shaving. It was a task no different than brushing their teeth or combing their hair and anything that saved a few minutes was readily accepted. It's no different today than it was in the early 70's or the late 1800's.

    I think it's a bit disingenuous to proclaim the double edge or single edge razor as the only acceptable method of shaving, when in fact, they were originally designed and advertised as a "modern" replacement for the "old fashioned" straight razor because they were easier, safer and quicker to use.

  17. Well said sir!
  18. SuperChris

    SuperChris Contributor

    Well said
  19. Why did men stop shaving traditionally?

    Because shaving wasn't/isn't a hobby for the vast majority of men. That's like asking why people started driving cars with automatic transmissions...it made a task that most people don't care about simpler.
  20. I'm not of those who say 'Sraight, DE & SE are the only real shaving methods', I'm of those who say that cartridges are too expensive for what they're procuring to me. Every time I ever used a Mach3/Fusion, after a 2 days regrownth its like someone spank my face.

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