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Who taught you?

Several of the threads I’ve participated on have raised my curiosity regarding how shaving knowledge was passed on before there were Internet forums – or before we as individuals had them in our lives. It’s beyond my scope to do a true scientific survey – and besides that, we B&B denizens aren’t quite a random sampling of the shaving population at large, so we can’t generalize too much. Still, I think there’s a chance we (or I, anyway) could learn something, so here goes…

For any who are interested in participating, I’d love to hear about when you first started to shave – ladies and gents both. How old were you? Which half of what decade was it? How did you come to decide it was time to start? Did anyone teach you? Who taught you? Did you ask to be taught, or did your shaving teacher bring it to you? Did you feel you were ready for the instruction? Was it a good experience? Did you follow the instruction and obtain good results? What did he/she teach you? Did you pick out your own starter rig, or did someone choose for you? In your youth, did you pass on what you had learned to your peers, or to younger siblings/cousins/whatever? In light of everything you’ve learned between that time and now, do you believe you were taught well? In the full flower of adulthood, did you teach your own offspring how to shave? Was it the same lore you were taught?
I’ll begin…

At about 14 or 15 – in the mid 70’s – I developed a few hairs on the point of my chin that were long enough and dark enough to see; they looked rather silly, so I had to get rid of them periodically, so I bought a Trac II. Didn’t need water for those few hairs, let alone shaving foam. At about 16 or 17, those hairs were thick enough and had developed enough friends and neighbors on my face that I had to start shaving for real. Used whatever canned foam was cheapest. Dad was no help. He had virtues, but patience was not among them. And he used an electric. I didn’t ask either of my brothers – I’m pretty sure they would have taught me wrong just to watch me bleed. I had to work it out for myself. One pass, downward on the cheeks and upward on the neck, just like in the TV commercials. I learned how to do so without bloodshed (though in my circle in high school, a visible shaving injury was manly, if not too severe; a little spot of blood proves you shave, but a gaping wound proves you’re inept). Irritation, bumps, ingrowns, were never an issue. From the age of 18, I worked 24-hour shifts on the ambulance with days off in between; I’d shave before work, and if I had a date on my day off, but usually there was at least one day’s rest between shaves until 2012 when I became a five-day-a-week administrator. Daily shaves did not hurt my face any more than not-daily shaves. (From the subsequent reading I’ve done here, I now consider myself quite blessed in that respect!)

I taught my son to shave before discovering the wonderful world of DE’s and stuff. I believe I started him out with a Mach 3. My instruction to him was to learn to feel when the razor is cutting well on any given spot, then do that every time. Go slow to begin; with the grain, then against the grain if needed (he is a wooly one!). He managed to learn it without significant bloodshed, and never had any questions. Of course, after I got into the DE, I bought him a Merkur 23C, Tabac soap, an Omega boar brush, and a sample pack of blades, and gave him a long tutorial. He still uses it, though he is by no means a daily shaver.


I started shaving when I was 14 (1956). My facial hair was dark and although not wiry was noticeable. My father gave me an old razor and told me to use it. He showed me how to make lather (he used soap chips-powder) that he would put in a mug add water and whip up. He gave me little instruction on how to shave. For a while, I was shaving three times a week. My father was not the best shaver. In fact, I remember my father always cutting himself when he shaved and using toilet tissue to stem the cuts. My grandfather always used a straight razor and never tried a DE.

After a few unscucessful shaves I went to get a haircut and told the barber my not being able to shave without cutting myself. He instructed me on how to shave. He showed me how to hold the razor and told me to use a light touch. The barber gave me a sample of pre-shave oil he used on customer coming in for a shave and I ended up buying a large bottle that lasted me many years. My first razor was a hand-me-down Tech and a year later I bought a Gillette 195 adjustable now know as a Fat Boy. A year later I bought a Slim. At that time I always used a shaving mug. After the proper instruction, my shaves were fairly good. By the time I was 16 I was shaving every day.

My post shave routine was to use cold water on a washcloth and follow that up with WH. Later I began to use other after shaves in addition to WH. My brushes, razors, and blades were purchased at a local Rexal pharmacy. My brushes were cheap no-name badger brushes that would last a few years. My first blades were Gillette Blues and I switched over to Wilkinson Stainless when they came out.

I taught my sons how to shave. Both use a brush and soap but have gone the way of cartridges.
I got a twin blade bic disposable when I was 15 nobody taught me how to use it. It would clog up easily and I would go weeks without shaving cause it was so bad. At 17 I bought a Mach3, definitely an upgrade but still got poor results so I wouldn't shave yet again. Fast forward to 2019 and 20 years old I bought my Rockwell 2C, who taught me to shave with that? Well my many internet dads(we are a big family) PaulH, KevyShaves, KenSurfs, GeoFatBoy, Michael Freedberg, THE Mantic, SinatraLennon. Funny thing is 3 years later I still got 2 blades left from the only refill I bought. Guess I got out of there quick before spending tons on sub-par blades. Now I am glad to spend the little allowance I get for quality soaps and aftershaves :)
1961, age 15, a little more than peach fuzz on my face. My Dad decided it was time to teach me to shave. We walked to our local drug store in Brooklyn, NY and we walked to the mens grooming isle. I think I was the one who picked out the Gillette Slim because my brother and I bought Dad a Fatboy a few years before for his birthday I wanted an adjustable too but he helped pick out the Williams soap, Boar brush Forgot what AS and extra blades.When we got home, Mom had one of her mugs from her Cupboard sitting on the kitchen table for me to have, I wondered why he didn't get the mug at the store.
About a few months before we got my shaving setup, Dad let me stand by the sink while he shaved and gave me instruction as he went eventually letting me use his leftover lather and Razor (no blade) to act shave to show what angle pressure to use when I was ready to really shave. He said I did good.
Saturday morning and my first shave with himself alongside me, I soaked my brush in the sink wet my soap, put new blade in my new razor, I forgot what setting I put it on, washed my face, shook my brush and started my lather. carefully started my shave just like he showed me. I noted a few pink spots in the lather, He allowed 1 pass and then the After Shave WoW my first Face Burn, then bits of toilet paper to patch leftover spots blood.
For the next week I got more lessons for ATG shaving and different angles and strokes to shave with. Later on he showed me how to use a SE razor that I liked.
I've taught my sons to shave. The 3 still use a DE razor. The are keeping an eye on my razor/bruh collection. I'll know they will be kepit in the family and passed down.
I have our Fathers 2 Razors, The Fatboy and Gem MMOC, and recently given to me by my brother Our Grandfathers 1910 single ring. Theses day I still shave ATG with my trusty old Gillette Slim for an average BBS.


When I first started shaving almost 50 years ago, my dad gave me one of his old razors, blades were used until it was obvious they were spent and my brush was left in my shaving mug with the soap.

Shaving was pretty basic: Splash some water on my face, add a little water to the shaving mug, lather up, one pass WTG and that was about it.

Didn't worry much about technique or shaving 'stuff'.

Grew a beard through the 1970s and 1980s. When I got back into shaving, it was with a Gillette Atra (really not a bad two blade razor at all) my father-in-law bought me for Christmas and whatever canned gunk I used. Played with electrics from time to time but always went back to the Atra.

My wife bought me a beautiful Merkur Progress for Christmas 2013 which I used with Proraso Green and the Frank Shaving Synthetic brush. Still pretty basic one pass WTG and maybe some touch up/buffing XTG.

Then I found B&B and now I have completely taken over the first bathroom. ;)
As a small boy, I'd watch my father shave with a DE, first a Gillette Fat Handle Tech, then a Gillette Slim. When my peach fuzz started thickening, I debated shaving. The joke about boys shaving early was well known, and like most teenage boys I wanted to start shaving, but really wanted to wait until I actually had enough beard to shave.

Finally, one day I was in a discount store and looked at the razors. The choice was DE, like my father's, or SE, an adjustable Schick Injector. Went with the injector because I thought it was more modern (had no idea injectors dated to the early 20th Century).

Father said nothing. I shaved as I'd remembered him doing. A few days later, I had to shave again, so I guess it really was time to start.

The most actual instruction was on the issue of razor bumps on my neck and how to use shaving soap. My remaining grandfather thought you could "train" the grain of your beard, and I tried it. That meant ATG in places, and hair bumps. When I finally asked my father about it, he gave me an odd look and said you couldn't "train" how your beard grew, and to shave WTG. When I still had hair bumps, I happened to see an Old Spice mug and soap in a department store, bought it, and bought a brush at the drug store, and tried that instead of foam. Except I didn't remember how my father did it. He said "You just get the brush wet, shake out the excess, and brush it over the soap until you get a lather." That's the method I tend to use now.

The last instruction was simply watching him shave while in the hospital. I observed how he tightened his skin and shaved the jaw area. That turned out well for me - my beard grows in the same pattern.
Learned on my own until 1995.

I started shaving in 1978 (15yrs old) with a Gillette Trac II, used for a week (snagged my Dads blades), I got plenty of irritation, bumps and weepers. I then tried the Atra, (new and shinny but had to talk my Mom into getting me the "special" blades). I used it for a couple weeks, decided shaving was not for me and started to grow a beard. I had a full beard by early 1980.

I kept the beard edges clean with an Atra then a sensor until 1991, then I had to loose the beard for my work. Used can foam and carts. Shaved Monday thru Friday, by Friday my face was hamburger.

After putting up with this for about 4 years I decided to start searching the Web for some advice. None of my family or friends (or their families) were very good at shaving, their advice was shaving was bad for everyone, so learn to live with it (I cleaned up the language they used :001_unsur).

I found advice on Traditional Wet Shaving methods (prep, lather, post shave, etc.) and decided to give that a shot. Using a non-cart razor was out of the question for me, I mean, if a cart was that hard on my face, a safety razor had to be sooo much worse (or so I thought at the time).

Worked my way through the various carts. Mach 3 were decent, I tried the Fusion when it first came out and stuck with that for years until June 2017 when I switched to a DE.

Have a Great One!
I realized between the ages of 15 and 16, in the early 80s, that if I didn't start shaving my upper lip, everybody might start telling me that I needed to. So, one day I picked up one of Dad's disposable razors and had at it with canned Colgate. No instruction, no particular problems. When I did shave, it wasn't terribly obvious, however, so I had a bit of privacy establishing the routine. (I didn't want a huge family fuss over it or a "scrapbook moment" picture of the first shave.) Eventually, my mother noticed that I must have started shaving, since there was no fuzz on my lip, and my father remarked that his tally of shaving supplies didn't quite add up (so he knew).

I only shaved as needed during high school, but I was conscientious about it and shaved with increasing regularity from once a week to about once every two days by the time I graduated. The full daily morning shaving grind set in with a vengance late in the summer before college. At that point, I wished that I'd had better (meaning any) instruction because shaving wiry adult stubble was much harder than adolescent fuzz. I tried a miserable electric for a while, then happily (on my own) mastered using a DE razor a few years before Gillette phased them out around 1990. Alas, I have no sons to pass knowledge to.
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Remember to forget me!
Self taught.

Early teens (mid to late 80's) I started with disposables, used cartridge systems a few times too, but by the late teens (early 90's), I had found a shop near work that sold a Wilkinson Sword DE razor and blades. I knew nobody else who was a DE shaver, and figured it out as I went along.
I was 14 the summer before high school in 1982 when father showed me how to shave. A cartridge of some sort. I shaved once or twice a week for years and probably once or twice in the summers. Once I graduated college I was shaving 5 times a week before work but never on weekends. I did that for about 30 years and in June of this month I got an email advertisement for Manscaped products. They were apparently featured on Shark Tank and Mark Cuban invested in the company. They sell men's grooming products using a humorous angle in their marketing. What interested me most was a DE razor they were offering. With the discount coupon they were offering I impulsively decided give it a shot. I haven't looked back since.

I taught all three of my sons to shave and two still live at home (ages 20 & 23). I think they became intrigued with my newest obsession and slowly started to show an interest. The 20 year old was first and we've had several opportunities to shave together as I showed him the ropes. He was interested enough that I bought him his own kit from Italian Barber. The 23 year old has worn a beard all through college and just decided to shave it off about a month ago. I taught him using a 1941 Gillette Tech (after him trimmed the beard down with clippers). He let it grow out again and just shaved again this morning before going to a friend's wedding. This time, since the growth was so full, I let him use my Game Changer .84. He did pretty well but was going much too slow on his neck. I told him to go a little faster so the beard doesn't catch. He took my advice but, instead of continuing on his neck, he decided to move to his upper lip and take a 90 MPH stroke right across his top lip. I mean right on the lip itself, not above the lip where his mustache growth was, right on the lip. He got a nice gash and lesson all in one.

One more son to work on but he lives about three and half hours away so this one'll take more work.
When I was a teen, my father gave me one of his used electric razors. It was one of those boxy jobs and it didn't cut anything. All it seemed to do was irritate my face. So I went out and bought a Bic disposable and a can of Noxema shave cream. I started with that. No one taught me. I just did it. My first few shaves were really bad. Lots of blood believe it or not. And for the next 37 years all I knew was a cartridge razor and a can of foamin' goo. Then my wife decided to buy me an Art of Shaving travel kit which had pre shave oil, shaving cream, post shave balm and a brush. I had never used a brush before. The saleswoman showed us how to palm lather. So, I went online and started googling how to use a shave brush. And most of the hits I got from my searches were to B&B. I used the brush with a cart for the first few months and was loving it. Then a B&B member pif'd me a double edge razor. I tried the razor and from the very first shave I was blown away at how much closer it shaved and how much better my face felt. I was hooked. So, for the last four years I've been addicted to this hobby and have acquired quite the collection of razors, brushes, creams, soaps, lather bowls, blades and other accoutrements. But my collection is nothing compared to many people's "collections". I've learned tons from the great folks on B&B about how to perfect my craft and I'm getting there. And my son who started to have way too much dirt on his upper lip needed to start shaving. So of course I've taught him everything I've learned. He's not addicted to it like I am so he's happy to have the two or three razors I gave him, a RazoRock Bruce brush, a couple lather bowls, some Voskhod blades, a bottle of Thayers lemon and he seems to only want his one cream....TOBS Almond. That's my story.


I grew up watching my Dad shave and when I was fifteen he told me it was time for me to start shaving. He gave me some of the Gillette Good News disposable razors he used and my own can of Barbasol! He then kindly tried to show me how to shave, but being 15 and knowing everything I said " No problem I can do this myself". I vividly remember him laughing at me said telling to try not to bleed too much.

I eventually figured out how to shave without needing a blood transfusion, but I really should have listened to any tips he could have imparted to me. I transitioned from disposables to the Gillette Sensor and then various carts until I finally found B&B.
Started in the late 60s at the ripe old age of 12/13 years old. My grandfather taught me using brush and DE razor. Continued with that for several years then graduated to single cartridge then multi blade cartridges then electric. Came back to brush and DE, enjoy the old ways....
I was tossed a twenty and told to buy whatever I wanted, “and then you’re on your own.”

I went to the only pharmacy in town and bought an Atra handle and cartridges and a can of Gillette Foamy. It took one shave of the hairs at the corners of my mouth to figure out the blades were plenty sharp and only light pressure was necessary.

That was the only assistance I received until I found B&B. I used Atra Plus carts and Barbasol for the better part of three decades. I have owned two electric shavers, too, but used them infrequently. I finally decided to switch to Surrey glycerin soap and a brush instead of foam. A few years later my wife gifted me an EJ Best Badger and three pucks of GFT Coconut Oil Soap. After going through one of those pucks, I decided to Google reviews of GFT products to see if they were really any good. That’s when I discovered B&B (and the Merkur 34C). The rest is well documented here, I’m afraid!
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