Just a thought.....

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by oscar11, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    When I was a youngster I knew two old timers that used straight razors. The block I grew up on was pretty ethnically diverse. Everybody was just off the boat or first generation American. My Grandfather was just off the boat. I always remember him using an electric razor, Grandma used a double edge :). The straight razor users that I knew were a first generation American and a just off the boat Italian. I was good friends with the Italian guys Grandson and good friends with the first gen Americans son. One thing these straight razor guys had in common was that they never shaved daily. When I was off the board for a while I was only shaving once or twice a week just about every shave was superb. I started getting shaves that didn't even burn with an application of aftershave. This morning before shaving while wetting down my beard I didn't have a lot of stubble and thought of passing on the shave. I didn't and shaved anyway. Well, I had a very close shave but it wasn't the most comfortable. It could have been prep or lather but I don't think so. I don't have to shave daily and I'm not so sure I have to shave every other day which is my normal routine. Do you guys think this was the norm for old time shavers? The guys I knew were definitely blue collar types and know the first generation American only shaved once or twice a week and the Italian was always well groomed but always rested his face as he called it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
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  2. wristwatchb

    wristwatchb wristwatch "danger" b

    Thanks for sharing the stories of your youth!

    I've been shaving for the past few weeks with a shavette. I shave daily most of the time, but occasionally I skip a day. Even though my technique is solid, shaves on two days of growth are closer and more comfortable for me. My face seems to benefit from a rest, and it seems easier to shave the longer hairs. I'd say the Italian shavers were onto something...

    Same as today, I'm sure the frequency of shaves varied with occupation. In general, I'd say that folks with office or public-facing jobs tended to shave more frequently. In any event, I doubt that most men way back then performed two and three pass shaves. It seems that beards have always been "in style" in the U.S. I'm not sure when stubble became "in style" (not for me :)), but I don't imagine that was considered stylish 100 years ago.
     
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  3. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    The old Italian guy told me stories of being in the Italian Army during WWI and the first generation American told of "ridiing the rails" during the Depression. Pretty exotic stuff for a young kid. Most of the old timers I knew were clean shaven minus some stubble but you'd see a few Errol Flynn pencil line moustashes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
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  4. Rkep01

    Rkep01 Well-Known Member

    I rarely go for a BBS shave anymore, certainly not on a daily basis. Even though I'm retired, I shave pretty much daily, but go mostly for a DFS.
     
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  5. Enrico

    Enrico Popcorn

    I generally shave every other day, which works out to 2 to 3 times a week. I can shave more often, but find I'm more comfortable at that rate. I personally can't stand the permanent stubble look; it looks very unkempt and lazy. I have two sons; one stays generally clean shaven, the other doesn't like shaving so keeps a full beard (which I'm fine with as long as trimmed). I grew up in a rural area where men were either clean shaved or bearded, but always groomed in any case.
     
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  6. Enrico

    Enrico Popcorn

    :signs011:
     
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  7. Rkep01

    Rkep01 Well-Known Member

    Don Johnson in Miami Vice?
     
  8. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

    I am a daily shaver but fine if I skip a day the shares are very good. But if I skip a day for one day I look like a bum and my face is itchy so I shave every day. Even with shaving every day I still get very good to excellent shaves daily, although before traditional shaving that was not the case.
     
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  9. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    I've always been interested in the 1920's. My barber is one who explained how men wore there hair during this era, very long on top and just wanted the sides and back of the head close and clean. He said mostly barbers shaved and the shops may have had a dozen or more chairs. He said the advent of the safety razor destroyed barbering and only later did the trades concentrate on hair cuts. Pretty interesting if accurate.

    This led me to wonder about facial hair. During this era facial hair was looked down upon as if the man was hiding something, like small pox scaring.

    I think we obsess about close shaves. Back then those that shaved themselves were trying to look presentable I suspect.
     
  10. Rkep01

    Rkep01 Well-Known Member

    I agree. I think, for the most part, they were just looking for presentable shaves. If you had a job where you dealt with customers, you would have to go with an extra close shave to be presentable. If you worked in a factory, all you had to do to be presentable was knock the tops off. The only time I went to a barber to get a SR shave was the morning of my wedding day, more than fifty years ago.
     
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  11. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    Shaving never crossed my mind until I joined these forums. Now I am obsessed with a close shave. I hope to return to my former glory soon.
     
  12. Rkep01

    Rkep01 Well-Known Member

    LOL, hang in there, Chuck!
     
  13. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    Ha ha, I will. :)
     
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  14. Arnout

    Arnout Well-Known Member

    If you wash your hair daily with shampoo it is greasy after a day, if you wash your hair once a week with shampoo it gets greasy within a week, if you stop washing your hair with shampoo it kinda stops getting greasy,... The same happens with your face, it adapts as much as possible to the environment. I started leaving a day to give the face a rest, but i progressed to a daily shave, and i even shaved twice a day for a while. If i shave with an agressive blade, a blade honed on artificial stones or DE blades, i need the restday, good soap, good asb,.. with a soft blade from a coticule, jnat,.. i can shave twice a day with shitty soap or plain water, with aftershave or edc,...
     
  15. SevenEighth

    SevenEighth Well-Known Member

    My grandfather, who taught me, shaved daily. He cleaned his shoes daily as well. As my grandmother put it he was blonde so he could have got away without shaving, and his shoes so shiney that they would have lastest as well. It was a matter of pride that he was always perfectly turned out every day.

    But the shave was different. It was not obsessively BBS. It was a single one handed pass. There was no need to shave closer because the razor was perfectly sharp, and you were skillful enough to judge the angles to remove the hair closely enough to last the day. To have repeated the pass would be unskilful. It meant that the skin was not stressed by a close shave and the beard had grown back enough to shave the next day.
     
  16. Arnout

    Arnout Well-Known Member

    The 2' pass is often a touch up that we do because we are obsessed with shaving. Over 50 different soaps and aftershaves, 20 razors, a daily pic of our gear and not even bbs,.... that would be rather stupid no?

    I assume that spending your time on a forum about shaving is not really the thing you mention in a job interview,..
     
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  17. SevenEighth

    SevenEighth Well-Known Member

    Only when they ask me about the cuts on my face ...
     
  18. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    Damn excellent post!!!
     
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  19. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    Respectfully dissenting opinion here, and knowing all faces are not the same. I shave every day with a straight and have no issues doing so - every shave is comfortable. I’m medium everything, brown medium beard (except where it’s turning grey), average skin, etc.

    The issue many people have with shaving every day IMO, especially in the ‘olden days’ was the hone. A barber’s hone whatever it is isn’t going to cut it for me. My grandfather’s family shared a coticule but I doubt that they knew how to maximize the edge and the concept of a bevel set was pretty much non-existent. A proper straight razor edge will shave you BBS with no skin distress. Every. Single. Day.

    Cheers, Steve
     
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  20. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    Evidence this is universally true? My definition of BBS mean I cannot feel any stubble. Are we using the same definition?
     
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