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The 1-Pass, Perfect Shave.

Last year, as I began to gently test the waters of wet shaving, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed at the realization that my loving father had never really taught me to shave. My father and I have a great friendship and in nearly all areas of life, I view him as an expert, however, the topic of shaving never really came up between us. In fact, the only thing I can ever remember him saying about the matter was the advice he gave me at the age of 12 that, "when the hair on your face feels the same as the hair on your ***, you know its time to start shaving."

Anyway, after several weeks of fairly intensive research into the topic of wet shaving, I called dad up on the phone and asked his opinion on safety razors and such. My father, fully aware of his son's determination when wanting to try something new, softly laughed and told me to let him know how things went.

As Christmas 2005 neared and I had been wet shaving for several months with some degree of success, I decided to make up for the missed father-to-son shaving tutorial by purchasing the appropriate setup and conducting a son-to-father lesson. Knowing the stubbornness that my father can exhibit (I inherited it), I decided to give him a brush and some soap to use with his M3, and maybe on a later date re-expose him to a DE.

The brush and soap, along with several old barbershop style aftershaves, were a huge hit. Very likely, these were the best presents that he had ever received from me. Of course, I did not hear this from him, but from my loving mother who has watched him continually enjoy the use of these items.

Earlier this week, my parents made the long drive south to pay us a visit, and along with the whole line of Proraso products, I decided that it was finally time to present dad with a safety razor.

Day 1 of the visit, I showed my father how to properly lather a cream (he had only used soaps up to this point, and I wanted to make sure he was getting the most from the new products). This went very well and there were quickly two men in the family in love with these great products.

On the evening of day 2, I finally brought up the issue of DE shaving, but was disappointed to find that dad had zero interest in the idea. Without arguing about the matter, we decided to watch each other's entire shave routine the following morning to see if we could learn anything from one another.

I was first, so I went through my shave prep of warm splash and warm towel (one of the few things I did learn about shaving from watching my father when I was a child). I then built a luxurious lather from my Taylor's Avocado, and proceeded to go through a 3-pass shave with my Derby loaded Merkur HD and then finished with some mild touch and cut. I then completed the routine with hot rinse, cold rinse, Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel, and CAR's hydrosol and a/s conditioner.

Next it was my father's turn. He went through the patented warm splash and warm towel routine and then went to the Proraso pre-shave and lathered with the tube cream. His next action nearly caused me to leap across the room and snatch the razor from his hand. The first strokes from his M3 traveled from S-to-N at a speed capable of decapitating the stoutest of men. I stared in complete awe, as he finished a single S-N trip around his face, rinsed off and applied the Proraso post-shave and a/s cream. There were no arterial spurts of blood, not even so much as a weeper. His skin was not raw or abraded and was almost as smooth to the touch as mine!

Seeing my dismay, my father chuckled. Having mercy on me, he finally went on to explain that only in the last 3 to 4 years had he been able to shave this way (he is in his 60's now). He stated that, like me, he had struggled with shaving his whole life and only recently, with age, had his beard changed to the extent that this technique was actually good for him and that he was in no hurry to change razors with things going so well.

Who am I to argue when presented with that kind of demonstration? I guess there are two very valuable things that I have learned from this.

1. The mythical 1-pass, bbs shave is not a unicorn. It does in fact exist, though I don't know that I'll ever want to try it.
2. Every man has his own best way to shave.
my dad wears a beard and never taught me how to shave. i passed it on already to my younger brother, hoping he can enjoy this since he wasn't ever schooled on it growing up.
Kyle cool story...

Yes now I understand the 1-2-3-4 pass meaning...duh... I always shaved my whole life with one pass never knew it should or could be different. I would just use the gel foam from Gillette lather by rubbing hands on my face with the gel and wham smash the Mach3 into the strokes.. probably almost at speed as your dad I never cut myself and got a smooth shave . I guess I have
soft hair.. Im very happy switched to DE now, for me the first reason was money wise the cartridges are just so $$$$$$ , but to make it more difficult what if the MAc3 were as cheap as razor blades who would go back ? I love the ritual way now... and I see that somehow my beard grows back nicer and slow ! honest with MAch3 its faster but the beard comes back faster aswell atleast for me..people are unique so..to each their own.
Love a good father-son story. I'm looking forward to trying the same thing out with my old man this summer. Thanks for sharing.
Great post, Kyle! I recently did something similar with my dad. I got him hooked on using a brush and cream, but didn't bother to try and get him to dump the M3. Now we have something to talk about, trade items, etc.
Scotto said:
Great post, Kyle! I recently did something similar with my dad. I got him hooked on using a brush and cream, but didn't bother to try and get him to dump the M3. Now we have something to talk about, trade items, etc.

While I am pleased that my dad is enjoying the brush with creams and soaps, he isn't the kind of guy that is ever going to be adventurous and sample anything new unless it is given to him. My only hope is to get mom involved because she is much more likely to purchase products for him that he hasn't already tried.
Kyle, my dad and I also get along famously, he's a man in his mid-80's. He taught me how to shave when I first started at the relatively tender age of 14. I think I was the only one of all my friends who had facial hair, (now, my beard's brutally heavy!) he bought me my first brush, a Schick injector razor or something like that, and a tube of Noxzema lather shaving cream, which I wish I could find again. Well, he showed me how to lather up using the brush, and watched as I started to shave. The first time he saw me doing my N-S pass, he started to holler at me, "no, no, dummie, you're going to slice off your cheek, do it like this!",:lol: and he showed me again. And again, and again. My mom came running into the bathroom, and gave him hell for making me nervous. Well, to make a long story short, I always knew that dad meant well, and he explained to me that shaving is very important for a man, because it helps him to look his best. For many years, he was shaving with an electric razor, and then I bought him a Vision DE, and an Omega brush, and a tub of Taylors almond, when I was visiting my parents in Florida. We joked about the time when he gave me sh*t for not shaving the way he showed me, and he said he wouldn't start using what I gave him til after I left. He said as a joke, that he didn't want me to scream at him! :lol: :lol:

Joseph, Bartelby, Scott, & Jeff,

I think it an interesting fact that so many people believe the demise of wet shaving primarily impacted those who began shaving in the last 40 years. I think it goes back at least one more generation (that of my father). While Gillette was still making safety razors when our fathers began shaving, the ease and acceptance of using cream in a can really cheated these men out of a good experience with their razors (I can't even imagine the bad results from using Barbasol with a DE). As a result, it seems that many older gentlemen will simply refuse to revisit a tool that they had such a bad experience with in their youth.

Now, more than ever, I am determined that if I am blessed with a son one day, we will definitely spend a good amount of time together discussing/learning proper grooming.
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