Method Shaving FAQ's

Discussion in 'General Shaving Talk' started by msandoval858, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. msandoval858

    msandoval858 Active Member

    There seems to be a few people here interested in the whole Method Shaving thing so I thought I'd put some info down to address some of the basics. If you search the archives of some of the other forums there's been much said with both harsh critism and praise. The system being fairly new is still going through some changes here and there as the products are continously improved. This leaves room for some confusion and misunderstanding of the process and how the products are used, so hopefully I can shed a little light for the "method curious." Not everyone wants to take the time to read Charles Roberts' 75 page Primer on RMWS, which is understandable so here I cover the basics. Btw, I have read the whole thing and found it very informative... yes, I'm that much of a shave geek :o

    Charles' Primer can be found here:
    FAQ's found here:

    First things first, if you haven't already, watch Mantic's Introduction to Method Shaving videos on There's little I can say about the products themselves that Mark hasn't already covered in these outstanding videos. The second video on building a wet mix shows the difference in common types of brushes when used for Method shaving and also introduces a nice new product, the Activator solution (we'll get to this later). The third installment shows the cutting forms in action and gives you a basic understanding of how they work.

    Video 1:
    Video 2:
    Video 3:

    So now that you know what the products are and the general idea of how to lather up a mix, the next step is actually shaving with it. The Method is broken down into three forms that provide a road map for reducing the beard to the lowest point regardless of your grain growth direction.

    Everybody's grain is different and it's common for some to think that following this will result in against the grain strokes on the first pass, and hello irritation. The concept is that the cube/paste combo get the face hydrated and the hair softened enough that these forms cut smooth and easy. The goal is not to plow the blade right down to the skin but to reduce the length of the hair each pass. Here's the basics of how I go through my shave.

    Build mix

    Lather face with brush

    Cut Form 1

    Lather face with brush again

    Cut Form 1 second time

    Take a small amount of lather from the brush and wet hand and spread across face in a thin layer, we call this "stretching" the mix

    Cut Form 2

    Repeat the mix "stretching" again

    Cut Form 3

    Now that concludes the reduction phase. It looks like alot of steps but it actually goes very quickly. This mix is slick enough that you can cut in much quicker strokes without irritation, but that's dependent on the individual. For me the above steps take no more than a few min to complete.

    Once that is done now I can apply some touch up for those few remaining tough spots where there's still that last bit of stubble. This is where the Activator solution is also useful. I take a small amount of hand lathered slag from the cube, cup my hand and put a few drops of Cutting Balm, and a pump or two of Activator, rub that by hand directly on my face to create a thin slick layer. Then use short against the grain strokes to clear those last spots. In this phase I do go back to paying some attention to grain pattern. The razor glides right over this with complete ease and leaves the face BBS smooth every time. This slick cutting mix is referred to in Method Terminology as a "Cutting Serum." Charles posted a bit on Cutting Serums on his forum, check that out for more in depth info.

    Once the shave is done, a normal cold water rinse follows, then I mist my face down with the spray tonic. The Hydrolast Tonic is a blend of purified water and essential oils that adds to moisturizing and conditioning the skin. It's not entirely necessary for the post shave process but adds that little extra something. Then I apply a small amount of the aftershave conditioner and message gently on to my face. I use a bit more as I love applying to my entire face, not just the shaved area. The Peppermint scent is a very soothing moisturizer with a nice cooling effect. The other scents are nice as well but I'm hooked on the Peppermint for life!

    Obviously, there's more than one way to shave and the Method is not for everyone, but I have had great results from it consistantly and the skin conditioning properties of the products are outstanding. The products also will last quite a while, which better justifies the price as well. The cube and paste are what you will have to restock most often and they are together about the same price as a regular tub of cream. Hopefully this little rundown gives you a better of idea of the Method Shaving process.

    Any questions?

  2. peacefrog

    peacefrog Jet Setter

    Do you use anything other than CAR products when you method shave?
  3. msandoval858

    msandoval858 Active Member

    Some people add a dab of traditional cream along with the paste when building the mix. When CAR first started the method that's how it was done until he finalized the formula for the wet paste.

    Obviously you can use whatever aftershave you want as well.

    Me personally, Hydrolast makes up probably 50% of the shave stuff I own so I tend to go with that.
  4. Baloosh

    Baloosh Duder

    Cool... very informative and concise. Thanks for putting such obvious effort into writing this up for us. ::
  5. Scorpio

    Scorpio Big Hitter

    Nice post Bro!!!

  6. bearbeard

    bearbeard Right Guard

    :sihns011 :signs107
  7. TraderJoe

    TraderJoe Pink Floid

    Mike - Excellent post :eatdrink004

    Can you speak at all with respect to the cube, and any changes it has undergone, ingredients, etc.

    The point of my question is that (as I mentioned to you) I have been acquiring some pieces of the method shave system via trading forums. I have a couple cubes bought from someone who wasn't sure if they are old or new version.....would this make a difference?

    Additionally, I have come across some excellent OO soaps (Issy being one), I would assume these can be used as well......but I am wondering if the "Cube" itself has any specific properties that make it superior for methodshaving.
  8. Jim

    Jim The Goose Is Loose

    Thanks Mike!
  9. msandoval858

    msandoval858 Active Member

    I'll get back to you on this. I know there are some differences in the cube from other OO soaps, but I'm not sure to what extent.

    The only variation I've seen in the several that I've gone through is some color change. The first ones I had were not as yellow in color as the most recent, however that's the only difference I could find. No change in performance.
  10. Afzal

    Afzal New Member

    Nice said Mike - A good wet shave exfoliates and cleanses the face, leaving smooth new skin and a healthy clean appearance. Newly exfoliated skin needs to be protected from the elements, so for healthy skin it is important that men use an after-shaving moisturiser or Skin Food.
  11. msandoval858

    msandoval858 Active Member

    My little FAQ updated with some additional links for info.

    And because I think it's informative... it's now sticky'fied!

  12. GeNn

    GeNn Member

    I don't use Method shaving exclusively since there are other great soaps for variety. Ever since I started using the cube/paste I have found that by the second pass, the mix is very foamy and watery. For my taste, not good to shave with so I go back to the cube again for the second and third pass. Lately I've been loading the brush with paste again for the subsequent passes. This seems wasteful for me, but it seems to be the only way for me to get decent mix for shaving. I use the shavemaster brush and generate the mix as in the video minus the activator. My question is do you use the initial mix for all three passes? And how do you get the mix to stay "creamy" to shave with for subsequent passes after the first one? I have visited Charles and seen his demostrations and he says to leave the brush loaded on the side with the mix and just squeeze the mix for the other passes. That is not working for me. Seems to me that my mix deteriorates quickly. :confused:

  13. msandoval858

    msandoval858 Active Member

    I don't have a problem with my mix going runny on me, especially using the Shavemaster. You might want to try adding more paste than usual at the beggining to get a more creamy and heavy mix up front. If you remember the demo I did when we were at Enchante (I think you were there for that), you always want to close the brush when you set it down between passes. Make sure you lightly squeeze the base of the knot to keep the brush in shape and the mix hydrated inside.

    I'd say start with adding more paste up front for sure and go from there.

    Let me know if that helps.

  14. jls1963

    jls1963 New Member

    Try a quick shot of finishing balm (not cutting balm) on top of the paste that you just put in the breech. Place the round, or cube, on top of that, flip, work brush over the primer--you'll see that the mix comes together very quickly and remains stable and wet through all three forms

  15. Morgoroth

    Morgoroth Member

    Does anyone have links to these youTube vids that are not youTube?
    Its offten times blocked for me. Long story.
  16. Goby

    Goby New Member

    The one thing I notice about Mantic's videos are that he shaves sooooo fast. As a newbie, I'm about 1/3 of that speed. Not that I mind, but he sure knows how to shave! :)
  17. FrostFirus

    FrostFirus New Member

    Very intriguing. There is so much I don't know about shaving, that I am begining to wonder if I actually know anything.

    Is method shaving more about the actions taken while shaving and ignoring the type of blade used? (disposable, safety, straight)
  18. Queen of Blades

    Queen of Blades Mistress of Mischief Staff Member

    Moderator Supporting Vendor
    No, it's more about the products used.
  19. tsmba

    tsmba New Member

    Products, yes, but there is far more. One being the use of form reduction as opposed to grain reduction. One of the primary beginning instructions given newbie wet-shavers is face-mapping, then WTG, XTG, ATG. Method shaving makes that all irrelevant.

    This was something that immediately attracted me. Like many others, I quickly learned my own beard grows every which way, so following the grain became mass confusion. On top of that, many instructional info states that one should never go ATG.
  20. Queen of Blades

    Queen of Blades Mistress of Mischief Staff Member

    Moderator Supporting Vendor
    Wha? :confused:

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