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Why Many Men Are Switching To Alternative Shaving Methods

Oct 12, 2007
In the past few years there has been a definite swing away from the cheap, mass-produced multi-blade razor towards a classic method of shaving. This article takes a look at some of the reasons why.

The classic method of shaving that I'm talking about is, of course, the straight razor. As a tool it is as far removed from the modern multi-blade as it could be in terms of the way it is made, yet it performs exactly the same function - or does it? Let's look at comparisons.

Modern razors now have so many blades that the manufacturers have, as an 'innovation', added a single blade to the back edge - because it's otherwise virtually impossible to get into those tight areas (under the nose particularly). Another problem of having so many blades is that for every 'pass' across the skin you are in fact effectively making three, four or even five 'passes' - depending on the number of blades in your razor!

With a straight razor, you get one blade. It can get into the tightest areas of the face without any problem - though a bit of practice is needed! - and one pass across the skin means just that. Why is this important? Answer - the dreaded 'razor burn', that nasty, raw feeling that a lot of men suffer after shaving, is mainly caused by excessive exfoliation of the skin, which is caused by - you guessed it, too many razor passes!

You see, a razor not only removes stubble when the blade crosses the skin, it also removes some of the skin cells as well. Normally this would not be a problem, as the cells are dead and ready to slough off anyway but - take too many and you begin to get near the new cells and they can feel pain and discomfort, resulting in that well-known redness, itching and tenderness so many men know only too well.

A straight razor will, when handled correctly, remove stubble in one pass, exfoliating the skin minimally and leaving a gentle glow behind rather than a blast furnace! 'Oh sure', I hear you say, 'that's if I don't cut myself to pieces first!' Now I would be first to agree that a straight razor is, in comparison to a modern multi-blade, a potentially dangerous item. However, in unskilled hands, so is a kitchen knife, a table fork or an automobile. The key word here is 'unskilled'.

Learning how to use a straight demands skill and patience - but you are talking a few days or weeks, not years. And yes, you might just nick yourself. But let's face it - for hundreds of years, literally millions of men used these razors every day - and survived to tell the tale. How hard can it then be for you to learn how to use one now?

I had an email recently from a fellow straight razor user who is a recent 'convert'. Basically he said 'Although it takes more concentration to shave with a straight razor than my old multi-blade (that I could just drag mindlessly around my face), I find that it clears my mind and gives me a bit of time to think in the mornings.'

That's one thing that many men find when using their straight razor: it focuses yet clears the mind. After all, even the most experienced user has to concentrate on their actions when using a straight razor - they are not toys and must be treated with respect - yet this very concentration banishes, if only for a while, the humdrum cares and allows a very special kind of relaxation to take place. Don't believe me? Then why not give it a try and find out for yourself!
About the Author
Take a look at The Invisible Edge for information about shave-ready Vintage models or visit Dovo Razors UK to see brand new items.
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