Thursday, April 26, 2012

Vintage Razors and the Art of Shaving


I haven't had the chance to write about vintage shaving yet.  Most things I own and use are vintage so of course, I also shave with vintage razors blades.  In this day and age it can be quite daunting to find the razor that best fits your personality and face.  Since we are all different there is no one do-all razor that will be the best for you.  However I have found that in this case, vintage is often better.  You can get you 3, 4, or 5 bladed razors promising the closest shave ever and if that works for you then that's great.  However most men find these razors lacking when trying to live up to the wild claims they throw out in order to get us to purchase their products.  Such razors are great for the first 2 shaves and then what happens?  They start pulling or irritating and ofttimes the blades are spaced so closely together that a heavy growth of beard defeats the best blades modern science can throw at us.




Enter the vintage razor with a single or double edge blade.  I own 2 such razors, the culmination of 2 years of watching and waiting on Ebay to find the right auctions.  On the lower left is my Gillette clone double edge safety razor with an open comb guard.  I use this razor mostly for Sunday shaving when I want an extra close shave, what people in the vintage shaving community call BBS (Baby Butt Smooth).  The open comb design means that it can tackle even a 3 day growth of beard without getting clogged.  The razor on the upper right next to the the Hoyt's Cologne is a Valet Auto Strop from 1912.  This one is the subject of the ad at the beginning of this article and it's my pride and joy.  Such an old razor usually has drawbacks and indeed you can't use the ones made post 1915 because they changed the blade design to a proprietary holder that is impossible to duplicate.  The older ones however take single edge blades you can find in CVS, with a slight modification.  The beauty of this razor is the proprietary leather strop in the middle of the picture.  By feeding it into the back of the razor you can sharpen the blade each time before shaving.  The original ads claimed 100 shaves per blade but my experience is around 30-40.  Even so, it's an incredible return on your money vs the new razor systems for sale now.

The Art of Manliness put together an excellent article named "How to Shave Like Your Grandpa" which details well how to go about gathering the items you'll need for a traditional wet shave.  A single or double edge safety razor is needed of course or if you're really intrepid you can get a straight razor although I don't recommend it to start.  You'll need a mug and shaving brush, some shaving soap or gel (I use Proraso but I forgot to include it in the picture) and some aftershave of choice (Bay Rum is considered oh so manly by most women, forget the Axe).  I recommend a double edge razor to start because you have a virtual cornucopia of blades and manufacturers to choose from so you can experiment with different blades until you find one that works will with your skin.  Most importantly this is a ritual that takes a little time, if you're pressed for time then stick with a standard modern razor.  First you need to wet the beard with hot water.  Place a quarter sized dollop of shaving gel in you mug and add about a teaspoon of hot water.  Wet your brush and start to make circular motions in the mug.  Don't press down hard with the brush or you'll deform the hairs.  After you get a nice foam worked up, lather it on your face working it into your beard so the hairs stand up.  Now here's the real secret of a vintage razor, you don't need to press it into your face to get a smooth shave.  Let the razor rest against your face at the proper angle and shave with long smooth motions rinsing the razor in hot water between passes.  There's numerous videos on YouTube showing the technique.  When you're done, rinse with cold water and rub in a splash of cologne and revel in the glow of your vintage shave.

I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog and was
compensated. However, the views and opinions are my own.


1 comment:

  1. The best safety razor blade is really a traditional dual advantage security razor blade. This is made of stainless provide this it's sturdiness. Like the majority of traditional security razor blade, it's provided the refined appear when you are covered through stainless completing

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