Longtime readers will remember these chilling before-and-after images from some 11 years ago:
I can't do that anymore. The beard. My skin's gotten more sensitive, and if I go even a day without shaving now I start to break out.
The rub is, shaving irritates my skin too. Particularly under my chin.
Recently I ran out of cartridges for whatever-the-hell Gillette-or-maybe-it-was-Schick razor with too many blades I was using. And, at the suggestion of Brontoforumgoer Shinra, I tried this new combination:
- Merkur 25C Long Handle Safety Razor, Open Tooth
- 35 FEATHER 7 O'clock SHARK ASTRA BLUEBIRD BIC Blade Sampler
- Van Der Hagen Premium Shave Set (Soap, Bowl, Brush)
A safety razor with roughly 9 months' worth of blades and a soap/bowl/brush set. As Shinra notes, it's a bit much to pay upfront (upwards of $65) but it'll pay for itself over time in the rock-bottom prices of safety razors. It's basically the opposite of the standard razor/blade sales model; in this case it's the razor that costs all the money and the blades that they're practically giving away.
It took a bit of getting used to (there are tutorials on the Internet, mostly video but some text -- the gist is, wet the brush thoroughly, run it around the soap in circles until it works up a lather, lather your face, swipe with one side of the razor, swipe the next spot with the other side, rinse, repeat; Geothermal has a more thorough rundown in the thread I just linked) but now I'd say I'm getting at least as good a shave I did with the Five-Blade Monstrosity I was previously using, and less irritation under my chin.
Of the different blades I've tried so far, the ones that have worked best for me have been the Merkur that came with the razor and the Blue bird (sic). The Gillette and Shark, on the other hand, nicked the hell out of my face the first couple of days I used them -- I'm not sure if that's actually the fault of the blades themselves or just that I wasn't used to the safety razor thing yet (and was shaving without my contact lenses in), but at any rate I had much better luck with the pack-in razor and the Blue bird. I mean, I guess if I were to compare things that are likely to rip my face up, I would expect a shark to be much more dangerous than a bluebird in that regard.