THE GROOMING DEPARTMENT AT SERVICE February 07 2014
Some of the most commonly asked questions that we get from our customers regarding the shaving ritual using a traditional safety razor. The question we most often hear is, why use a safety razor? The answers are cost and healthier skin. A 10 pack of safety blades costs about $1.00 per blade (compared to $2.50 to $3.00 per cartridge for disposable razor blades.) When compared to an electric razor, a safety razor gives a much closer shave and leaves skin in better condition, due to only one blade crossing the skin. Although it makes for a quick shave, it isn't necessary to use a razor that uses three or more blades. Multi-blade razors can greatly irritate the skin and electric razors are akin to a lawnmower for your face.
What should your shaving kit contain? There are two ways to go about it, the difference being that one makes use of a brush, while the other uses shaving cream from a tube:
- safety razor
- pack of razor blades
- shave cream from a tube or a traditional shave soap in a bowl
- shaving brush if using a traditional shave soap
- brush stand so that the brush lasts and dries properly
- alum block, with antiseptic properties, help seal and heal wounds (for the ladies reading this post, the alum block is an amazing product to use on your legs)
- moisturizer for those with dry or sensitive skin
- razor bank for safe storage of discarded blades
Merkur Long Handle Double Safety Razor ($75) & Merkur 10 Pack Razor Blades ($12)
Service Menswear has been stocking a Merkur brand long handle, double safety razor. Merkur is a highly regarded razor manufacturer from an area in Germany where some of the best steel manufacturing in the world takes place. Our Merkur razor is chrome plated with a handsome dotted pattern on the handle. In addition, Service stocks a 10 pack of Merkur blades. If you shave every single day, and depending on the coarseness of your beard, a 10 pack of double sided blades should last at least 4 months.
How many passes should it take to shave with a safety razor? The blade should cut the hair close to the skin after a couple of passes using gentle pressure. If it feels like you have to go over the same area many times to reduce the hair, the blade may need to be replaced. With that said, it is normal to go over the same area more than 1 time, as the risk of nicks is high if the blade gives a very close shave in just one pass.
We are also often asked, "how to choose the proper blade?" For new shavers, it may seem like the sharper the blade the better, but keep in mind the sensitivity of your skin and the coarseness of your beard. We stock and recommend Merkur blades as a good starter blade, and the blade of choice for many. There are sharper blades on the market, such as Feather brand, but newbies beware, these blades are extra sharp and recommended for more experienced shavers. Lastly, there should be no irritation with the use of aftershave, and if there is, this is an indication your blade is too sharp. The Home Alone experience should not be the norm!
What is the difference between badger, horse, and boar bristle brushes? Badger holds water best and creates the richest lather, but horse hair is a great alternative at a good value. Boar bristles, sometimes labeled natural bristles, are effective at creating a good lather and are inexpensively priced. Service offers selections in each category.
From left to right:
- Silvertip Badger Brush with Wood Handle ($135)
- Silvertip Badger Shave Brush with Ream Bakelite Handle ($175)
- Silvertip Shave Brush with Heavy Chrome Handle ($135)
- Italian Boar Shave Brush with Black Chrome Handle ($20)
- Spanish Horse Hair Shave Brush ($38)
- Golddach's Badger Bristle and Pine Chess Piece Shave Brush ($65)