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Maybe Not a Convert, but Definitely a Project

This weekend I wandered right into an opportunity to help an old friend discover the joys of traditional wet shaving. Following the arrow that is not aimed, I found myself in the town of an old friend that I haven't been in touch with since last November. I called him up and went to his house and we spent a nice afternoon catching up.

Almost immediately he mentioned that he had recently Googled me, and what had come up was the Mess Hall thread on making pizza with the bread machine. I explained B&B to him in terms that he would understand, that we are to wet shaving what Vans Air Force is to building his own airplane. I continued that wouldn't matter to him as he was a dedicated Norelco electric razor user. It turns out that he switched to a Mach 3 several months ago in search of a better shave and was not impressed! He was genuinely interested in whatever other shaving options were out there. I agreed to get him a starter set

I referred him to this site, specifically the tutorials, and told him to look up the Mantic59 videos on YouTube.

By the end of the week I should be able to send him a starter set with VDH Select soap, my old VDH boar brush, an old shaving mug from my collection, and a razor. The razor is the big question. Should I send him a used 1950's Gillette Super Speed, a NOS 1970's vintage long handled Gillete Tech, or a single user Yuma? Maybe I should put a quarter in the machine and twist the knob to get him a new Yuma?

Would it be uncool to send a newbie a slightly used puck of soap? I am sending a boxed puck of VDH Select, but I have an unscented VDH Deluxe and a Colonel Conk Lime that I used briefly, liked, but don't see me getting back to in the near future.
 
It'd be ok with it as long as you are sending a new one as well. As far as I am concerned. If he has a problem with it, they aren't super expensive, and he has a new one to default to. The 50's super speeds are the bee's knees.
 

OkieStubble

The Men Who Sniff at Goats
I think the superspeed would be a great mild starter, plus the nostalgia factor if he likes that kinda thing.
 
thats awesome. i agree that the ss would be the best choice. if u want him to get into it the older ss would do that. like the okie said above me its the nostalgia. nostalgia is what got me in it and i havent looked back since :thumbup:
 
Well, last Saturday I dropped off a bag of goodies for my friend. Basically I decided not to make any decisions so gave him all of the above. He now has a Yuma and Super Speed to shave with. The brush was an old one I had around, and the soaps were a boxed puck of VDH Deluxe (which I had mistakenly called Select) and the used Col. Conk Lime, which I had washed off then melted in the microwave to pour it back into the clamshell from which it came. I grabbed a shaving mug without realizing there was most of a puck of VDH Luxury (which I had mistakenly called Deluxe in my original post) in it. Five packs of Derby and Astra blades plus a couple of Gillette ASBs that I had lying around and I figure he's good for the next six months, should he decide to embrace DE shaving.

I gave him a quick lecture on building lather and performing a three pass shave, answered a few questions about blade life and the economics of DE shaving, referred him to the tutorials in the newbie forum, and still haven't scared him away.

My friend seems motivated to give DE shaving a try as his wife has become conscious of the cost of cartridges. Every time they go to Sam's Club she asks whether he's buying the 20-pack of Mach 3 cartridges or not so she can budget for it.
 
It looks like my friend is following through with attempts at using the traditional shaving gear I gave him. He had the following comment in a recent e-mail:
"I have tried the razors. I am taking baby steps for now. I’m using my usual shaving crème with the razors (only add one variable at a time J ). I truly have to be careful with that device as a blood-letting can ensue. I do believe there is a very close shave and admittedly, you can’t beat the price."
I'll be seeing him in the next week or two and try to calm his fears about the bloodshed. I have stressed that he should let the weight of the razor do the work and not apply any downward pressure.
 
The project continues. My friend seems to have embraced the DE razors, but is still not into the soaps I keep bringing him. I was up to visit him this weekend and his wife returned from the warehouse store with a bulk pack of Edge gel. He seems quite content with his shaves, but I noticed a lot of razor burn on one side of his neck, one pretty serious nick, and a lot of little red bumps that may be ingrown hairs. That can't be comfortable and I don't want that to put him off DE shaving.

I suspect he has a problem with blade angle. I'm going to suggest that he shave in a quiet environment for the next few times so that he can hear the blade working or not. One of the razors he has is a Yuma with a hollow handle that acts as a megaphone. I'm going to nudge him to use that instead of the Super Speed for the next few shaves.

He has stated that his goal is a two minute, two pass shave. It can be done, but it won't start that way. I actually did this myself when I got back from his house. The first pass was using Barbasol, which is the closest I have to his canned gel, and the second pass was with a brush and soap. I actually went faster with the mug and soap because the razor didn't drag and tug as much.

One of his shortcuts is to not lather up, or gel up as the case may be, between passes. He asked if he should lather between passes and I told him it was pretty much a requirement. Let's hope he takes that to heart.

I've pointed this guy to the Mantic59 videos and the tutorials at this site. He seems happy to be saving money on shaving no matter what pain he endures. I feel bad that he's chopping his face up doing something that I talked him into doing and just don't know how to make it right if he isn't following the advice I give him. Any suggestions?
 
Wow, you're definitely going the extra mile with this guy! Most kind & impressive.

Would you feel weird shaving at his place one day, while he looks on? That way maybe he can see first-hand how you make your lather (and the fact that it doesn't take very long), how you hold/angle your razor, how your shave sounds, and how good your immediate results are.
 
Wow, you're definitely going the extra mile with this guy! Most kind & impressive.
This fellow was my college room mate and really about the only person I have kept in constant contact with for the past 25 years, so yea, we're kind of tight. I also feel kind of responsible for him butchering the side of his neck after I talked him into trying a DE razor.
Would you feel weird shaving at his place one day, while he looks on? That way maybe he can see first-hand how you make your lather (and the fact that it doesn't take very long), how you hold/angle your razor, how your shave sounds, and how good your immediate results are.
In the past I've done a "dumb show" of how to make lather and shaving technique without actually wetting a brush or putting blade to face. I have thought about a live demo and even packed my shaving kit when I went up to his house this past weekend. I think if I tell him in advance we can cope. After all, we both shaved in the dorm room together. We just didn't do it as a spectator sport.
 
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