Beginnings are many times difficult periods in our lives...endings too. Hopefully you have at least begun your journey with Traditional Wet Shaving and ending your struggle with non-traditional media hyped shaving. If you haven't...you should. Traditional wet shaving has been experiencing a revival in recent years world wide. Why? Because men want and deserve a comfortable, enjoyable shave every day. Modern shaving methods are simply corporate propaganda to pick your pocket. Your needs and comfort don't matter as long as you keep buying the next product line that promises to deliver what the last product line promised to deliver...but didn't.
Since the 1970's the shaving world has been dominated by multi-blade razors, canned aerosol shave cream, more and more trendy electric (electronic now) razors and thousands of minutes of flashy advertising of shave products that claim to be the solution to poor shaves and butchered faces. It's sad, but flashy ad campaigns have one purpose and one purpose only...sell products. The truth or consumer well-being has nothing to do with it.
Well, if you are snooping around web pages that have to do with traditional wet shaving products or blogs, then either you are already a traditional wet shaver or you are curious about it. If you are the later, then possibly I can be of service.
Wet shaving has been around since men started scraping their beards off with a sharp stone. The entire 19th Century was dominated by men using some type of straight razor and soap applied with a brush. Towards the end of the 19th Century and at least the first half of the 20th Century, safety razors that utilized a single edge blade became popularized as a practical replacement to the cut throat straight razor used by barbers and home shavers alike. Probably the most familiar type of single edge razor...one that cuts whiskers with only one edge of a blade shielded in an instrument that creates a modicum of safety from a totally exposed blade...is the double edge razor. Confusing terminology isn't it. Let me try to explain.
A double edge razor has two sides but only one edge is utilized at a time. It is abbreviated as a DE razor. At about the same time as DE razors and blades were becoming popular by King Camp Gillette, there were shaving instruments that only had a single edge (SE) and usually the back edge had a strip of metal called a spine. The most common razors were the GEM, EverReady, and Star razors...although Star later produced a DE style razor similar to a Gillette Tech razor.
Later around the 1930's and 40's injector razors were introduced. These razors were of the SE type but the blade was injected from a cartridge (container). The first was the "repeating" razor...like loading bullets from a magazine or clip into a gun. The injector razor was the inspiration of the overall look of the later cartridge multi-blade razors that began with the Gillette Trac II razor in the early 1970's. With mass television advertising Gillette was able to push out all the competing razor blade companies that had effectively, up to that point, left Gillette lagging in the development and performance of both injector and double edge razor blades. The Personna 74* razor blades of the early 1970's can effectively be presented as the best razor blade ever produced. Personna did not pursue a "blade war" with Gillette and the rest is history. Today if you look at the shelves of our stores you see primarily Gillette products. But the question is...are Gillette products the best way to shave?
Well, you will have to be the judge of that question for yourself. For me, the best shave comes from a single edge blade (not a multi-blade cartridge) using a shave brush and soap or cream to prepare the face for removal of the whiskers cleanly and simply with a sharp blade after the face and beard are adequately prepared for it.
Here is a video I created to help explain the basics of traditional wet shaving. I hope it helps sort our the confusion and satisfy the initial curiosity.
Good Shaves, Be Happy, Be Safe