How To Shave Like Your Grandpa

From The Art of Manliness:

Proper shaving has become a lost art. Today’s average male has no clue about the fine art of the traditional wet shave that their grandfathers and some of their fathers used to take part in. Instead, they’re only accustomed to the cheap and disposable shaving products that companies market. I’m not sure when or why it happened, but the tradition of passing down the secrets of a clean shave abruptly stopped. Thankfully, this glorious male ritual is making a comeback.
Benefits of The Classic Wet Shave

Reduce costs. An 8 pack of your typical four blade cartridge razors can set you back over $20. $20! That’s $2.50 per cartridge. The cost of a double edged safety razor is no more than $.25. You can save some serious money switching over to a safety razor. Additionally, you can save money by using traditional shaving creams and soaps. A can of the chemically packed gel goop that most drug stores sell can cost you up to $5 a can and it doesn’t even last that long and they don’t give you a quality shave. On the other hand, traditional shave creams and soaps are made out of natural materials. While their up front cost may be a bit more than shaving gels, you require less product to get a proper lather. Thus, you end up saving more in the long run.

Reduce environmental impact. Traditional wet shaving with a double edged safety razor uses less waste than shaving with cartridge razors. The only waste is a single metal razor blade and lather down the sink. Unlike today’s razor cartridges, a double edged blade can easily be recycled. The tubes and bowls that most traditional shave creams and soaps are sold in produce less waste than those clunky non-biodegradable aerosol canisters that gels come in.

Better, more consistent shaves. Most men today walk around not knowing they have horrible shaves. Electric razors and the latest 5 blade contraptions irritate the skin more than needed, leaving razor burn, ingrown hairs, and redness. Shaving with a safety razor will eliminate the skin irritation and give your face a clean healthy look because you’re just using one blade instead of several that chew up your face in order to cut your whiskers.


  1. “On the other hand, traditional shave creams and soaps are made out of natural materials.” – Naturalistic fallacy

    This whole article smells of technophobia.

  2. it’s not technophobia to reject the senseless “now with N+1 blades!” wars and the many costs that go along with all that material, packaging, and marketing. how much do you spend annually on shaving, DreamDevil, and how much trash do you produce?

    i converted to double edged safety razor years back and would never go back to cartridges. i’d consider an electric again if i saw convincing evidence that the technology has improved and it would be able to shave my neck and chin effectively. i have thick, stubborn little hairs.

    plus, i won’t lie… it just feels cooler. no matter how cool the gilette ads *try* to make their products look, they are just plastic toys compared to holding solid metal against my face — metal that’s not emblazoned with logos.

  3. Switched to a safety razor a while ago because my skin gets destroyed if I shave against the grain and none of the various razors I’d tried would allow me to get a close shave without going against the grain.

    The brush/soap stuff works a treat even with modern razors, but a safety razor is something else. It seems poncy but I love it, and the soap smells so sublime I’ve stopped using aftershave.

  4. When I trim, I use the electric doodly-bobber. When I *shave*, I use my dad’s old razor. It’s fast, works great and goes through one double-edged blade every four months or so. All those fancy disposable jobbers are crap.

  5. I didn’t know they even still make safety razors. I work in a grocery store and we haven’t carried them for years. We don’t even have the replacement blades anymore.

  6. I have disproprtionately dark hair for my skin therefore I need to have a close shave to make it look like i’ve had one. I shave upwards, downwards and accross.

    I’ve used soap based products before and a safety razor and there are two problems. 1. You are concentrating on what you see in the mirror rather than what you feel so you cut yourself and 2. soap seems to allow you to cut yourself when the water thins the soap out enough.

    Electric razors are a joke unless you want your neck to feel like a shaved ball-bag from the little swellings and rashes.

    After years of trying everything, I’ve learned to shave with my eyes closed.

    Hear me out. I use shaving oil (four drops), prefereably Somorsets but King of Shaves is pretty good and I shave in the shower with the water and the oil lubricating my skin so that I very very rarely cut myself at all.

    It took a few goes but now I’m shaving by feel both with the razor and my hand to check for smoothness and it’s become second-nature and relaxing to do that so I can get some serious thinking done.

    I keep meaning to have a barber shave to compare but I’m convinced that shaving this way is as good as it gets.

  7. One thing, though: it’s almost impossible to cut yourself with a three-bladed disposable but all too likely with a safety straight razor. I hate shaving enough not to want to turn it into a 30-minute chore. With a disposable Gilette I can get it done in under five and hardly ever cut myself as long as I take a little bit of care when going over the Adam’s apple.

  8. Any disposable razor makes me look like I dove headfirst into a blender. Long live Fusion and their $2.50 blades and my $20 fancy shaving cream.

  9. I found an easy solution to cuts and razor burn: I don’t shave. Whenever my beard grows annoying I tend it with a trimmer.
    I do have a secret fantasy with those old-fashioned barber blades, sharpening it with the leather strip and brushing the soap and all.

  10. My straight razor uses replaceable blades, saving me the rather unwanted strop/hone/repeat business.

    I’m honestly not sure whether the shave is better with a straight razor, but the big improvement is a lack of irritation afterward. This might, of course, have something to do with good shaving cream applied with a badgerhair brush. Anyhow, I still get to tell people I shave with a straight razor, which is basically the reason I made the initial switch.

  11. I have a very manly beard, so electric razors are not an option. Also, those absurd 3,4, and now, even 5 (!) bladed things take forever because they get clogged every two seconds.

    The ideal way to shave:
    a single blade Bic disposable and hand moisturizer rather than shaving cream.

  12. I read this article a few years back and I made the switch to safety razors and badger hair brushes – and I would never look back.

    Blades (and even razors) are easy to find in the good ol’ interweb – on eBay for instance. For those who venture outside antique shops are a great place to look.

    Now that I have had practice I can shave as quickly now as before, and I get to enjoy the process.

  13. I’ve switched to a safety razor, badger brush, and soap/cream. I will never go back to the expensive plastic trash and cans full of goop that is marketed to us. Shaving is now fun!

  14. In my experience, most of the double-edged blades available in US grocery stores are sub-par. Those who started out using domestic Gillette double-edge remember how good they were. Gillette abandoned the double-edge market in the US years ago. Not enough profit. People who pick up a classic safety razor second-hand and buy some new blades at the supermarket are bound to be disappointed. The blades have to be ordered online, where you can get decent ones (European made Gillette too) for pretty cheap. I’ve tried other methods. I find electrics annoying, and multi-blades clog too easily.

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