In recent years there has been a renewed interest in what I call “Traditional Wet Shaving.” By traditional wet shaving, I mean the use of single-blade safety and straight razors and the use of “old time” products. For example using a vintage Gillette safety razor and applying shaving soap or cream with a shaving brush instead of a can of chemicals and a multi-blade contraption. Many are also retuning to the old aftershaves such as Bay Rum or Old Spice. Many traditional wet shavers have their own reasons for returning to this old style way of shaving. Here are mine.
1. The Nostalgia of it…
For me there is something about using the tools and products of Traditional Wet Shaving that give me a connection to another time and place. My Grandfather was a barber and how well I remember the wonderful smells of his barbershop. There is something special about being able to find and use the products and tools that he used in his shop in the 50’s and 60’s. . I distinctly remember him using a Gillette safety razor, not only to shave himself, but he used it on customers as well. I can remember the bottle of Clubman aftershave as well as hair tonics, talcum powder, and other mysteries (to me) liquids in pretty bottles.
I actually have one of my Grandfathers straight razors and pull it out occasionally to strop it up and use it. My Grandfather threatened to use his razor strop for other corrective purposes when we were misbehaving, but I don’t remember him ever actually using it, usually the sound of his firm voice was enough to correct any misbehavior. But, that is another story.
Many traditional wet shavers tell of finding either their Grandfather’s or Father’s safety razors and putting back into use. For me, it changed my daily shave from something mundane and boring to an experience I look forward to, knowing the connections that the products and tools I use have to my past.
2. The reduced cost
Have you seen the cost of modern cartridge razor blades recently? A few years ago I realized that I was paying nearly $30.00 for package of 10 multi-blade cartridges. It is true that if you want to get into traditional wet shaving the start up costs may seem to be a little more. However, in the long run you will save a ton of money. You really don’t have to spend as much as you might think to get a good start up shaving kit. You can find a good safety razor for less than $10.00 and blades can be found for less than $5.00 for a package of 10 blades. If you choose to step up to a straight razor, the initial cost will vary greatly. There may be some costs in having blade sharpened semi-annually, but overall, they are much less expensive than buying those modern contraptions.
3. A better shave
Many who practice traditional wet shaving claim that they get a better shave using a single blade in their razor as opposed to the modern multi-bladed device. They report fewer razor bumps and irritation that come with using multiple blades. Using a luxurious shaving soap or cream is also a great improvement over the cloud of chemicals that come out of a pressurized can.
Go ahead and give it a try. It doesn’t have to be expensive to get started shaving like your father or grandfather. You will need a double edge safety razor, a shaving brush, cream or soap, and a shaving bowl. Mention this article and you can purchase a starter set for $20 and I’ll include the shipping.
Yuma double edge razor
Plastic shaving bowl
Marvy Shaving Soap
Sample of “O’Spice” or "Florida Water" after-shave
Just ask for the “Starter Set”
All of these items I have used myself and find them to provide a great Traditional Wet Shaving experience.