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How I came to pick up a brush: my decent into “real” wet shaving.


Like many, perhaps most, males of my/our generation (here I make the broad and unfounded assumption that most of the members of this community are approximately the same age – genX, genY or somewhere on a cusp) … what was I saying? Right, like many men my/our age I learned to shave on my own, by trial and error, without the wisdom and/or guidance of an experienced shaver (not that I would have believed at that time that my father was capable of helping, or even knowing anything that I wouldn’t figure out; such was, and probably still is, teenaged angst). I’ve since learned that my father does know a few things, though shaving is not his forte (and the fact that he has had a full beard for +30 years certainly attests to that fact).

After a certain amount of trail and error, and with more than a few cuts and scrapes, I developed my method; shave as infrequently as possible to avoid irritation and try every new, gimmicky product on the market with make shaving a less arduous task. As a direct result of this method I have had a beard (of some form or another) since I was sixteen.

True to my method I tried almost everything; 2 blades, 3 blades, 4 blades, vibrating like an obscene sextoy for my face, oils, creams, gels, et cetera. Almost every “revolutionary” shaving product of the past decade or so has spent a short time in my bathroom (after a short period of time most of them were either thrown out or replaced by a newer breakthrough). Much to my chagrin, none of these products provided me with the shaving experience that I truly desired: a comfortable shave.

Not long ago my curiosity was again tweaked when I heard of the new 5-blade razor to hit the market. Would this be the device that I had been waiting for? When the fusion was released I was so appalled by the price of cartridges that I swore not to purchase one. In fact, I resolved at that time to find a means by which to rid my face and neck of unwanted stubble that would be non-irritating and wouldn’t involve spending a ridiculous amount of money on cartridges.

After a little research (including this site and many others) I decided that I wanted/needed to try “real” wet shaving. So, I purchased a synthetic bristle brush and some Wilkinson Sword soap. Much to my surprise, I found this to be much less irritating than using a cream/gel from a can. Then I found myself thinking, “if products this inexpensive are so much better, what would happen if I actually purchased some high(er)-end stuff?” Never being one to let a good idea go to waste, I ordered a pure badger brush and some soap (Taylor of Old Bond St. & Proraso). I’ve since found out that I paid too much for my products, which I ordered from an online retailer that I choose not to name, but such is life.

To put it succinctly, my old method is gone and I’m developing a new method. As an amateur I feel that I need to experiment some (lather on my face, or in a bowl, use a cream or a soap, if a soap milled or not). I’m certain that my lathering method will perfect itself with a little more practice and experimentation (a somewhat fatalistic way of thinking about it)… but now I think that I’ve reached the point where I have to throw away my M3 and move to the world of DE razors (well, as soon as my research and finances allow for such a purchase). I’ll keep reading the posts here to see if anybody can present an argument solid enough to convince me, one way or another, as to what my first DE should be – so far I’m not convinced that one DE is necessarily better than another for a novice.

As time goes on I’m certain that I’ll be on the board posting my praises of new products I’ve tried and asking for advice that will allow me to master my new art. You know, not long ago I envied my fiancée on account of her infrequent need to shave. Now I pity her; she will never know what she is missing.
Nice post, and glad you found the yellow brick road to wet shaving bliss. Feel free to ask any questions you might have, and welcome!
Welcome aboard NMMB, whatever your real name and/or generation may be.

There's no one path to the ultimate shave or acquisition of ultimate shaving gear. Like most anything else in life that's good, it takes time, experience, and perseverance (althought in taking up wet-shaving as a hobby, it does help to have deep pockets :001_smile ).

I started off with the Merkur HD and have found it to be the ideal starter razor. I've been sampling a number of different blades with it and so far can't seem to find one better than the Feather Hi-Stainless (my thanks to Ron for giving me my first ten-pack).

Many years ago I took up the game of GO as a hobby. I'm one of those guys that demands instant gratification and get pissed off at myself if I can't master something quickly. When I asked one of the guys I played with how I could get better he said, "First play a 1000 games, then we'll talk technique."

Jump right on in and enjoy the world of wet-shaving - you will behold the proof in time!
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