Shaving Myths We've All Heard

Discussion in 'General Shaving Talk' started by Carson West, Oct 6, 2019.

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  1. Carson West

    Carson West Well-Known Member

    Guys, writing is a hobby of mine, and I initially wrote this little essay for my own pleasure, but I thought I'd post it here. I'm not trying to come across as an expert or to start world-war three. If you find this thought-provoking, I'm glad, but if I offend anyone, I apologize ahead of time. These are just my opinions, so please just take this for what it's worth to you.

    Lather Should Have the Consistency of Yogurt
    I eat yogurt every day and I make lather every day and a half. If I made the lather as thick as the yogurt I eat, it wouldn't contain enough water to soften my whiskers. Also, since I like to spend a little time swiping back and forth with my brush, with each subsequent pass over my face the lather gets a little dryer. If I don't begin the swiping with a runny lather, a moment later it'll be too dry and I'll have to add water anyway.

    Shaving Brushes Remove Dead Skin Before Shaving
    I don't know who started this wives' tale, but I'd like to throw a cream pie in his face (and not shaving cream). That's such nonsense. The tips of a shaving brush are purposely made very soft and gentle. Have you ever seen something that's made for exfoliating skin? Whatever it's made from, it's coarse and abrasive. Even a washcloth is a better scrubber than a shaving brush.

    Apply No Pressure
    Sorry guys, but I think this is just semantics. I think telling beginners to apply "no pressure" is misleading them, and a better term would be "minimal pressure."

    What do I mean? I just bought an aluminum razor that's as light as a feather. I find that I have to apply with my arm that tiny amount of pressure a heavier razor provides with its own weight. If I try to shave with just the weight of the razor, it slides right past the whiskers without cutting them.

    So I guess the secret is to apply the least amount of pressure that will do the job, whether that pressure is provided by the razor's weight or your own muscles.

    Zamak is Bad
    I hear a lot of guys on shaving forums expressing disdain for Zamak razors. They wouldn't be caught dead with anything but stainless steel or bronze or unobtanium. But there are some great-shaving, great-looking razors out there with Zamak heads that you can buy for about eight to 40 bucks.

    As for Zamak being an inferior material, those 50-60 year old Gilletts guys use and prize today are made of Zamak. Just as with steel, the quality of Zamak alloys vary, and there are good ones out there.

    One tip I can offer to make your Zamak razor last is to be gentle when screwing the handle on the head. Use a real light touch until you're sure the male and female threads are aligned before preceding. I even put a drop of oil on the threads of all my razors after every couple of rotations.

    I've heard some guys say they want their razors to be able to survive a fall to the bathroom floor. But I'm always slow and careful with my razors, and I don't allow my hands or the razor handle to get soapy. All that seems to work because I don't drop them.

    The "Healing" Properties of Aftershave Balm
    Aftershave balms don't heal the skin; they soothe it. Shaving removes some surface-skin, and if you shave too close, it removes enough to irritate it. Balms replace the moisture shaving-soap removes and may contain ingredients like Aloe Vera that reduce inflammation, but only your body itself can "heal" your skin, that is, can replace those cells you scraped off.

    Aftershaves Made with Alcohol Dry the Skin
    Alcohol is an antiseptic (it kills germs) and an astringent (it closes the skin's pores). And some of us like the mild burn it produces on our freshly shaven faces. But most aftershaves also contain a moisturizer like castor oil or glycerin which immediately counteracts the drying effect of the alcohol. So in such a case, don't worry about the alcohol.
  2. Enrico

    Enrico Popcorn

    How about the one you must do three passes to receive a great shave ......... I've been doing a one and witch hazel buff for a good six months and I'm very happy.
  3. Carson West

    Carson West Well-Known Member

    Is it a with-the-grain pass?
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  4. Enrico

    Enrico Popcorn

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  5. Carson West

    Carson West Well-Known Member

    I find that if I'm pressed for time, I can do a one-pass shave like yours and get a perfectly socially acceptable shave. But I like a closer shave just for my satisfaction.
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  6. Laird

    Laird Well-Known Member

    "Nothing will ever shave as close as a straight".

    Sorry, I don't buy it. If you master DE skills and keep the DE blade in contact and at the right angle for each section of your face, and use the same barbershop straight shave techniques like skin stretching and spot buffing, you can and will obtain the same perfect long lasting BBS results. Unless of course, straight razors somehow shave below the skin level but don't draw blood.
    Yes I've shaved with a straight. Yes it was shave ready.
    I think straight shavers are getting more BBS results because they put more effort into the "art" of getting that perfect shave. They do not expect to whip a razor around as fast as they can for a quick "one pass and done". Their painstaking (or pain avoiding) zen-like approach is giving them those great results.

    I've done the same with DE. I've identified my direction of growth and the spots that give me trouble. I've developed the best prep for me. I know the minimum and maximum number of days in between shaves for the best results. I use barbershop straight shave techniques. Skin stretching, puffing each cheek during my XTG pass. I change the consistency and how thick I apply my lather after the first reduction pass. And my post routine gives me the best "tightening". I've tried to put as much effort into mastering my DE shave as I've read the straight razor guys put into theirs. And although the "got a BBS shave today" is frequently posted by many, I can honestly say that it took me a long while to get the real deal, and then to be able to figure out how and why I got it, and to be able to repeat it.

    I've been getting shaves with my DE razors that are so perfect, I dare say it would be impossible to get any closer with any other razor, including straights. You'd literally have to peel my top layer of skin off. I'm not exaggerating, or bragging. I started back with DE in 2013 and only really started getting this perfected in the last year or more. After paying as much attention to it as the straight razor users do to using theirs.
  7. BlueShaver

    BlueShaver Premature Latheration Sufferer

    "TTT: Technique Trumps Tools"

    Um, sometimes, perhaps even most of the time, but not all of the time. There are many variables in shaving, not least of which is you. Being a human, you are infinity different than everyone else and what may work for others, may not work for you. A good shaving set up has synergy, both with its self and with you. It doesn't matter how much one tries to work a piece of kit which you don't have synergy with, whilst you may get it to work satisfactory, it may never work to its full potential.
    TTT gets bandied around as gospel, especially to new shavers. It should be TUTT: "Technique Usually Trumps Tools"

    Yes, you can get a lather of a hard puck with a floppy badger but its going to take patience and soap abuse (blooming) to do so.
    Yes, you can shave your baby soft skin and feather light beard with the sharpest blade and the most aggressive razor but you might be much better off with a milder blade and gentler razor.
    You can bowl lather with a stumpy, short brush designed for face lathering and you can face lather with a long handled brush designed for mug soaps.
    You can use a blade for 100 shaves or 1,
    This doesn't mean you should though. YMMV is always in play. Don't struggle with something which isn't working well or doesn't suit.
  8. BlueShaver

    BlueShaver Premature Latheration Sufferer

    "Stainless Steel is the best material for a razor"

    No it isn't. It is terrible.
    It is hard to machine and fabricate, it has a high co-efficient of friction and can be a poor surface for gliding. "Stainless" isn't "Stainfree". With use, stainless steel is susceptible to "tea stains" and, in a bathroom environment with chlorides wondering about, prone to cracking and pitting.
    Feather coat their SS razors to stop staining and corrosion, EJ use Powder tech to make theirs due to the difficulty of machining from a block.
  9. BigD

    BigD Well-Known Member

    "Shaving your hair will cause it come back thicker and faster."

    It's all genetics and diet.

    "Moisturizers, Aftershave Balms, and expensive soaps add moisture and 'skin food'."

    Your skin doesn't eat or drink. We are not amphibians. These products just slow evaporation of moisture from the skin. If you have dry skin or other issues diet and drinking the right amount of water will help more than putting chemicals on your face.
  10. Ozwhisker

    Ozwhisker Member

    You must bloom the soap
    IMHO, blooming is unnecessary, inefficient, shortens the life of the soap and makes a mess.
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  11. BlueShaver

    BlueShaver Premature Latheration Sufferer


    That won't go down well with some here lol.

    I fully agree btw. Blooming is a complete nonsense,
  12. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    Given that shaving is completely individual, I chose not to tell another man what they believe is a myth. If you think your best results come from something you have decided to practice, it is up to you to prove yourself wrong in order to change the habit. That said, there is more than one way to skin a cat.
  13. BigD

    BigD Well-Known Member

    "To bloom or not to bloom", that is a question. No, you don't have to bloom. However, you don't have to not bloom either. Up to the individual. Yes, you use more soap and can make a bigger mess when you bloom, but it's easier to make a great lather when you bloom. There are pros and cons for everything. To weigh these out is up to the individual. I'll bloom because the benefits for me outweigh the negatives. If I were on a tight budget I'd probably not bloom in order to extend the life of my soaps. Fortunately this is not something I need to worry about.

    "I do what I want!", screamed Cartman.
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  14. BlueShaver

    BlueShaver Premature Latheration Sufferer

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  15. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    I agree with @Chuck Naill
    I am a libertarian shaver. As long as you don't hurt me, shave anyway you please. I will still sleep well at night.
  16. BlueShaver

    BlueShaver Premature Latheration Sufferer

    Ya, i think we are all like that, however this thread is really about the sillier voodoo nonsense which abounds in shaving.

    "Cold water closes the pores" Is another example. No it doesn't lol. We are not fish.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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  17. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    I think I will leave my post as stated. Some of the aforementioned is not voodoo nonsense.
  18. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    I agree.
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  19. ghostlife

    ghostlife Well-Known Member

    I don't know about this, every vintage gillette I have is brass
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  20. Enrico

    Enrico Popcorn

    Starting in 1958 - 1963 Gillette was transitioning from brass caps to zamak caps in their Techs.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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