What is it about? What is wet shaving? Do you remember a scene in the movie The Untouchables where Robert De Niro gets a shave? The one minus the accidental cut? A warm towel placed on your face followed by a close shave. Watching wet shaving on the television or movies are probably the only exposure many may have. We can visit the neighbourhood Indian barber for a shave. But that is not the wet shave experience you see in the movie.
A Brief History On Shaving
Long before proper hygiene care is easily available, men would visit barber shop to have themselves groomed. Skilled barbers would offer shaving services along with a trim and and shower. However, in modern times, these practices are slowly fading away. Thanks to indoor plumbing in our homes and the cartridge razors flooding the supermarket shelves.
King Camp Gillette introduced the double edge safety razor circa late 1800s. The safety razor became popular post World War II. Military personnel were issued safety razors during their service, and they adopted it in their civilian life too. In 1971, Gillette introduced the first cartridge razor and in 1975, BIC introduced the disposable razor.
We have all grown accustomed to shaving as a regular routine. A necessary chore to complete, lest we look like a hairy ape. Or a cross between a bearded manly specimen and a prepubescent young adult. For those blessed enough to grow out a full beard need not fret. Unfortunately, not all men are born equal, and many fall short of achieving that thick bearded look. Hence shaving is an unavoidable chore which many of us have to do diligently.
Shaving As Therapeutic Treat
Most of us would only wet our chins, pull out the cartridge razor purchased from the supermarket, and just shave. If you’re feeling a little more fancy, you’ll probably spray on shaving foam from an aerosol can. Undoubtedly this is what we expect from a shave, but did you know wet shaving uses soap instead. Not the bottled foam but a proper shaving soap. It comes in the form of a solid soap bar. You need to soak the solid bar of soap with warm water for about 30 minutes to soften it. Once softened, you can whip it up into a rich and creamy lather to apply on your skin.
Self Shaving Vs Professional Barber Shaving
The process is a little more tedious, but it’s well worth the effort. It is extremely relaxing, as the barber brushes the soothing soap onto your skin. Some would feel discouraged by the need to wait for the soap to soften. However, an alternative is available for those who want to save time. There is a soft version of shaving soap from The Elektrik Chair. It works just as effective, if not better than regular shaving soap, and incorporates all natural ingredients. By cutting down the waiting time it is ready for lathering right off the bat.
Wet Shaving 101
Lathering the soap is but merely the beginning. It is only the first step out of the door into the world of wet shaving. The barber whips up the shaving soap with a shaving brush in a scuttle into a smooth consistency. He then lathers the whipped soap onto the skin. There are many types of brushes available. The cheapest and most common is the synthetic shave brush. On the other hand, wet shaving enthusiasts would aim for more premium products. Badger hair brush, boar bristle brush and silvertip badger brush are the top contenders in the field. Boar bristles are stiff and coarse which make it exceptional for exfoliating. Badger hair brushes on the other hand are softer, giving a more luxurious feeling on the skin.
Sometimes we fail to notice even the simplest act can have a great effect. The shaving soap allows the blade to glide effortlessly across your skin. It also protects the skin to avoid razor burn. That’s a common occurrence when you dry shave, or shave against the grain. Once the soap application is complete, we then begin the shaving process.
Selecting The Right Razors
Cartridge razors will not cut it compared to a straight razor. This is because cartridge razors focus primarily on safety and ease of use as oppose to getting the closest shave. Even for straight razors, their grade affects how one feels when getting a close shave. The keen edge of a straight razor will slice the hair off like a hot knife through butter. One can experience the closest shave in their life, and still feel completely safe.
Typically we run through two shaves: with the grain and across the grain. But with a good shaving soap and a professionally crafted straight razor, you can shave against the grain. You won’t even feel any stinging sensation after that. With practice, or under the skillful hands of a professional barber, we can achieve the cleanest shave ever. And at the same time avoid shave burns and also prevent ingrown hair after the shave.
Not Your Typical Barber
To an untrained person, all of the steps mentioned above might be rather intimidating. One needs to acquire enough experience in perfecting one’s shaving skills. Don’t have the right tools, or don’t want to risk slicing the skin off your face? Then seek professional help. Treat yourself to a professional have by a profesional barber. One such barber is Andrew Chang from Othrs Barbers. He offers professional shaving on top of the regular hair cut. His perfectly honed skill with the blade will give you the closest shave of your life. Guaranteed to leave you with a smooth face afterwards. It’s not just another hair cut, it is a cut, a shave and cleansing like no other. Perhaps you might feel that you don’t have enough ‘hair’ to treat yourself to a barber. But trust me, it is like a Pringles’ tagline, once you pop it, you can’t stop it.
If you’re keen to experience your first full-service shaving experience, click on this link to book an appointment. The service ranges from a regular hair cut to beard trim, to a full-fledge wet shave. Services are available based on first-come-first-served, pre-booked appointments only. So be sure to book and select your preferred service before heading over.