The last time I used double-edged shaving blades is time out of
mind. I know, however, I was never tempted by Gillette's heavily
promoted blade cartridge systems. It seemed but an ongoing extension of
the "blades-and-razor" sales strategy pioneered by King Camp Gillette
early in the 20th Century, securing a permanent place in textbooks on
Instead, when I gave up on double-edged blades, I converted to Bic
disposables. Cheap, convenient, if indifferent, tools for the job.
I've been on autopilot with plastic disposables ever since. In
recent years, I've been shaving in the shower sans mirror.
Then my brother-in-law pointed out the merit of double-edged blade
shaving: a small, affordable luxury to start one's day.
Plus, why add to America's two billion landfill-bound, disposable
plastic razors each year?
Alas, not all old-school shaving tools are stocked in your local
So here's my setup:
From eBay, a Weishi aluminum razor whose butterfly flaps open and
close with twist of the knurled knob at the end of the shaft. Flown
directly from Hong Kong, made in China, relatively light, good razor
for one used to the lightness of plastic disposables.
For lather, the basic Williams Shaving Soap, still around. A boar
bristle brush from Walgreen's. And the blades. Oh, the blades. I use a
reasonable beginner blade (not aggressively sharp): the Dorco Platinum
ST300 from Korea.
Shaving itself is the exquisite tension of letting the heft of the
metal razor drift the blade across your beard. More a guiding action
than the bad habit of dragging encouraged by plastic disposables.
The real secret to a good shave, though, is to find the blade whose
sharpness matches your beard. This takes time. I'm working on a sampler
pack (thanks again, eBay) for months of choice. Blades from
Bangladesh, Egypt, Germany, India, Israel, Korea, Pakistan, Russia,
Switzerland, and the UK. I'm leaving Japan's Feather brand for last.
Supposedly the most aggressive, sharpest blade on the planet.
And to keep my blade use in check, my blades get special attention
for extra shaves. When done, they come out of the razor, get rinsed off
and patted dry. Then edges get a light coat of blade oil: generic
mineral oil resists oxidation.
And why is this more satisfying? Well, there is the slowdown to
start the day. You can't really rush without having some styptic-pencil
events. But it's the finish: the splashes of cold water to wash away remaining
lather. Your face feels great!
Read Charlie Dickinson's
story collection, The Cat
at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable
.epub (most other readers)
.pdf (for PCs)
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