The Traditional Shave

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This post represents my desire to expand the content of SbN. It is categorized under “Lifestyle”, but basically is anything that isn’t tailoring, shoes, or accessories related to those. Now to a little bit about my shaving habits.

I grew up in NY, and have been receiving a straight razor (or cuthroat razor) “finish” from my barbers since I was about 10 years old. For those unfamiliar, after my hair is cut, the barber “lines up” or finishes the edges around my neck and side burns with a straight razor. If you go to a traditional barber or any barber shop next to the corner bodega, then you know what I’m talking about. It is an unparrelled experience, and there is no better way to get a closer and cleaner shave.

As I got older, and the beard hair grew thick (which happened when I was like 11…), I started getting a shave a long with my haircuts. It was so much cleaner, it felt better, and it resulted in less irritation. I thought this type of shave was only left to the pros, using my Fusion up through undergrad. During college, I would cut my friends’ hair, obviously had to save our money for the brews, and one of my boys decided that it would be a good idea to give him a shape up with a straight razor….. I didn’t say no. After a couple of cuts and scrapes, I got the hang of it, and became quite skilled with a straight razor. After graduation, I started experimenting with shaving with a straight razor, and I never looked back.

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I now shave exclusively with a straight razor. I use an old school badger hair brush and stainless steal shave soap dish from Seattle’s Sundries. It makes shaving less of a have-to and more of a want-to. It takes a little longer than a normal shave, but once you get the hang of it, its just as quick. There is certainly a learning curve, and be prepared to cut yourself a few times, but I wholeheartedly endorse it. There’s a reason you see the return of safety razors in drug stores (an easier alternative to traditional shaving), its nostalgic, but is an overall better alternative to the skin-irritating shaves of multiple blades scraping your skin. Not only is it a closer shave, but its a hell-of-a-lot cheaper. I use a straight razor holder with replaceable blades, and you can get 200 Derby blades on Amazon for 10 bucks, and the shave soap lasts longer than any can of shaving cream at about the same price. The only initial investment is the brush, soap dish, and razor. And honestly, you can get all those things pretty cheap – I would recommend a badger hair brush, which is probably the biggest cost and isn’t necessarily an essential depending on what type of shaving cream you prefer.

Badger Hair Brush

Badger Hair Brush

Traditional shaving can be looked at as a fad or trend of the new age hipster, but the bottom line is that it is a better shave, in my opinion. Pour yourself a glass of bourbon, put on some Frank, and shave away.

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– J