Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Procrastination - With shaving tips

This is an old post which I never published. I still shave with a DE razor but switched to Merkur 37C, Tabac shaving soap and a 100 pack of Astra platinum. For more information I recommend visiting /r/wicked_edge

I shave, as does probably everybody else and as I'm male I'm mostly concerned about my facial hair. I started out by using an oldish Braun Micron electric shaver from my father. It served me well until I had to join the army. Army, so I thought, means going outside, camping and an electric shaver without batteries would simply be of no use in the woods. Hence I switched to wet shaving and got a Wilkinsons Protector 3 from my mother as a gift. Back then it was top of the line and I like the design. I used it with various shaving foams and gels, but it was always difficult to clean, the hair stuck between the blades. Luckily every recruit gets a welcome package with a Gillette Mach 3, which was far easier to clean, the only downside was that the handle wasn't as nice.

Years passed and somehow I heard about straight razors, safety razors and using shaving soap and a badger brush instead of canned gel. I talked to my dad about it, about wanting to buy a straight edge razor but they're kinda expensive. He then decided to gift me a used Dovo 500 & a badger brush for my birthday. It didn't quite work out, as either the blade is too dull or I was just to afraid & untalented. But I made use of the brush. Being completely inexperienced I started out with Wilkinsons shaving soap in a black bowl. It being in a bowl made it the obvious choice, and compared to the other bowl options It was cheap & available in supermarkets. It was difficult for me to build up lather but it didn't matter much as I always shaved immediately after showering. I was happy to have gotten rid of expensive canned goo. I still keep the last can around for travelling or an "emergency". Then my shop stopped selling the soap and I had to try the next best option: The Palmolive shaving stick. I cut bits of it into the used Wilkinson bowl and build up "lather" in it. Later I found out I don't strictly need soap if I shave immediately after showering and don't dry my face, yay even more money saved.

More time passes and a thread, on a forum I frequent, talks about shaving. There's one guy who's into safety razors or double edged blades because they're so cheap. He said he pays about 0,20 USD per blade when buying em in bulk. As I was chronically short on money the "cheap blades" didn't leave my head. So I did some research, tried to find out a good & cheap beginners safety razor model, but it's always came down to a ~30€ investment. Finally in the week after Easter I decided to go ahead and used my Amazon gift certificate to buy a Merkur 23C. The retailer didn't have blades and as I wanted to pay just once for shipping I decided to buy them at a drugstore, a mistake. They only had Wilkinsons (seriously, last Saturday I've visited 3 of the biggest drugstore chains in Germany and only one shop had a 2nd brand) which sells at 3.95€ for 10 blades, making it ~0.40€ per blade. Anyways, my first shave with a safety razor. I expected to get many cuts & a bloody face, but somehow it worked out, not one cut. Some areas don't weren't as smooth as I wanted, esp. my chin line and the neck (which was never smooth unless I went against the grain which I hardly ever do), but hey it's cheaper and feels better (not the shave but using the razor).

This week I had an exam, so I was procrastinating more than usual and did more research on how to get a better shave, better equipment, where to get the cheap blades (buy them in bulk on eg. and how to shave better. Watching videos I always wondered how they get the lather to be so thick, mine usually sucks in comparison and I never got a 2nd serve out of it, never. Wanting to improve it, I went shopping on Saturday, went to five different shops too look for a bowl/mug, derby blades, tabac shaving soap and a new aftershave. I settled on a müsli bowl, tabac shaving cream and Old Spice. No luck on finding a Turkish shop which sells Derby blades. After I had gotten home and eaten the kumpir, I immediately went to use my new equipment. Wow what a change a) the creme smells, palmolive doesn't b) palmolive hardly lathered - tabac did great c) going against the grain didn't work at all but at least I was able to get three servings out of the creme.

So my current setup is as follows:

  • Tabac shaving creme (~4.50 €), Palmolive shaving stick (~0.80 €), Gillette shaving gel (backup)
  • Merkur 23C (~30 €), Gillette Mach 3 (backup)
  • Wilkinson Blades (10 for 3.95 €)
  • Balea Badger Brush (~8 €)
  • Generic ceramic müsli bowl (1.50 €)

total: 30 + 4 + 8 + 0.8 = ~43 € for a starter kit. Seems expensive to me, but keep in mind that running costs are very low afterwards (unless you become a shaving fanatic, buying more razors and esp. more brushes, damn things can cost up to ~200 €). It's just soap + blades, compared to a system razor, where you would have to buy soap anyways, it's ~30 € for a 12 pack of system blades vs ~7 € for 100 blades which last about 10 months. What you save in blades can be invested into different soaps (scents) or a higher grade brush (30-50 €). The general recommendation is to buy a badger brush, they're more pricey than synthetic, but seem to be worth it.

Since Saturday I've worked on my lathering technique and improved to so much that I even got two servings out of the Palmolive stick yay

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