The Safety Razor

December 8, 2013

My entire life has led me to this moment.

I have a firm tradition of doing whatever The Wirecutter/The Sweet Home tells me to do.

Some items purchased are wonderful (replaced my hard drive, can listen to music anywhere in the house, replaced the cutting board that wouldn’t stop smelling like onions [the smaller OXO model]).

Some are decent but never get used (popsicle molds).

Some are just fun reads (bike locks, that time I watched many, many juicer review videos).

Some seem to be written with just me in mind (pens).

Most decisions in my life can be made by using the two websites mentioned above and

I read their legendary and now classic shaving article around this time last year, and purchased the Merkur safety razor as a Christmas present for my boss since I knew he was confident enough to use it, whereas I was timid and talked myself out of ordering one to replace my Dollar Shaving Club razors.

Then I spent the next year rereading the article and psyching myself up for the eventual purchase (money is always tight. Would I actually use this? Would I encounter the scorn of my wife who thinks I just buy things and not use them? [she’s not wrong]) and then had to psych myself up again once it arrived. Then it sat in our medicine cabinet for a few days while I watched tutorials and read about shaving soaps.

After hearing about the theory of wet shaving for weeks, my wife told me to stop being a baby (I’m paraphrasing) and shave, which I did and it wasn’t that scary at all.

Some tutorials have noted the sound the blade makes as it slices off the whiskers, and that was probably my favorite detail of the new shaving experience. It also takes about three times as long as a normal disposable razor shave, partly because it is fun to go over parts again and again but also I used to shave in the shower, now I have to shave in front of a foggy mirror.

Extra life bonus: a new world of shaving soaps

There is the cliche that goes along the lines of “chips are just a vehicle for salsa/guacamole/dip”, and for me, shaving is a vehicle for different shaving soaps. I don’t know why it took me this long to discover that the soap puck is far superior to any of the dozens of shaving creams I have bought over the years. The endless varieties! The economy of the shave!

The aftershave
I bought this on a whim a long time ago (when I tried to like whiskey), and even though I don’t think it does anything protective for my skin, it provides a fantastic scent. I’m going to go ahead and endorse everything the Portland General Store makes.

Things I learned:

  • Badger and Blade is a crucial resource.
  • It really isn’t that scary as everybody makes it out to be. Actually, handling the blades is the only scrotum-tightening moment. And most tutorials stress that it is just different, not terrifyingly scary.
  • It it was so dangerous, would these guys be so cheerful?
  • I have areas for improvement: I still have to go over the mustache and chin areas with my disposable razor.
  • I haven’t bothered to research it, but some genius is responsible for taking a simple and effective shaving method and turning it into a ridiculous, wasteful, and expensive industry.

Note: don’t make the rookie mistake I make. If you have the option to buy Feather blades from Thailand, only do it if you can wait six weeks for them to arrive.

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