What's new

Is the importance of shaving technique over-emphasized?

OikieStubble and Medivh have it figured out! I figure learning good shaving technique is <10% as hard as learning how to east soup with a spoon. I only say this because I have a grandchild who is trying to learn how to use a spoon ... now THAT is a danged hard skill to master! Shaving ... not so much. Drinking for an open cup: also a hard skill.
This might go under some existing thread - up to to the moderators!

I am bewildered by the emphasis on the importance of technique in DE shaving. Here are notes:

1. I've really only shaved with the following DE razors: Viking Blade the Chieftain, Merkur 34C, King C. Gillette, Baili 171, and Karve Brass SB (B and C plates). So this relative lack of experience might influence my opinion.

2. Among these, the VB Chieftain had by far the most blade exposure. Regardless of trying, I was never able to shave with it without a relative blood bath. Now, it is possible that some technique training would have helped ... I contend that the razor is just 'too much' for me.

3. Among the others, mostly mild to at most medium type razors, there was no issue whatsoever in terms of technique. I mean, the angle is intuitive and obvious based on the design of the head of the razor - you can figure it out immediately, more or less. Granted, there is going WTG and XTG and ATG .... that isn't much in terms of technique. Pressing harder or not as hard is just sort of intuitive too ... not much in terms of technique.

4. In terms of pre-shave and soap and all that: it doesn't matter much for me as long as I have some soap on my face when I shave. Hand soap works as well as anything else for me.

So I guess my point is this: the razor made all the difference for me, not the technique. The technique was 2%, the razor was 98%. The notion that you can shave with anything as long as you learn the technique seems ... iffy to me, at best ... it's mainly about the razor. I think this is what should be emphasized to newbies. It seems misleading to me to tell them to stick with on razor and work on the technique until they get it down. If you are experiencing a blood bath, you need to get a milder razor, not just keep using the offending razor until you learn how not to cut yourself (which could be never). With a milder razor, the newbie won't cut themselves ... regardless of technique considerations ... I think ... YMMV: I am just throwing this out there.
I think you're right in the big picture. Sticking with a single razor doesn't teach you technique in general, it teaches you technique on that razor. You adapt to the limitations of that razor and get the best results for your own situation.

It's also true that some razors don't require much technique because there's such a small range of angles that they'll cut at. You can't practice the difference between going shallow and steep on a razor that doesn't contact the skin at all if you adjust your angle slightly to either direction.

The motto on here is YMMV, but it's easy to forget. People will tell you to keep trying with a razor because that razor works for them. It may never work for your face even with perfect technique.
I'm with technique. I'm in my mid-70s and have been wetshaving since retirement about 12 years ago. I've been down all the rabbit holes and have multiple DEs, blades, brushes and soaps to choose from. Since covid, and a move late last year, I now shave less frequently, usually late in the day after downing half a fifth of gin or more. I choose my gear on a whim, but sober or half in the bag, the gear doesn't matter. The shaves are always good, with no cuts or weepers. It's all technique.
The VB Chieftain is your ticket to great technique. Once you tame that razor and you're able to get good consistent results you will know that your technique has improved. You won't get "punished" by your bad technique when using a mild razor (King C, Merkur 34c, Karve B-C) But you will definitely need a proper angle and featherweight touch to get a good irritation-free shave with an aggressive razor. I suggest you stick to your Chieftain, try a couple of blades and play around with the angle


Goose Poop Connoisseur
I believe experience trumps all. Just keep shaving and your “technique” will come along with it. Most of us who came along years before carts and disposables were even imagined, had little or no instruction. Dad just gave us a razor a can of cream and told us what the styptic pencil was for and let us have at it. The more we shaved the better we got and never forgot what that styptic pencil was for.
Technique matters. I've been doing it for a while now. At first I was looking for the perfect razor and there are some I like better than others, but over the years of doing it and being part of this community I've come to realize that knowing proper technique is crucial. I've retried handles and blades that I used to abhor and get much better results now after shelving them away for many years.

What you could be experiencing is that your style matches a certain razor, which is totally valid. Given more experience you'll start to see the ability to make more and more of the various razors start to shine in their own right.
Top Bottom