Cold Water Shave – Are you brave enough?

Cold Water Shave

There are some people prefer a cold water shave even though a hot towel is a recommended preparation for a shave.

I am so intrigued about this because I learned that the proper way to shave is to have a warm / hot preparation. The first time I heard about cold water shave I thought to myself what kind of cult is this.

I researched the shaving forums and shaving websites and found that there are actually people who go this route for their routine. And the number is not small.

Jayaruh (aka Jim) started a thread on The Shaving Den about cold water shave. It got me hooked. I will try my next shave with a cold water. BTW, Jim makes great shaving brushes. You should check his works out. Links to his works at the bottom of this article.

Hot / Warm Water Shave

I do enjoy my hot / warm water shave. This is the route that I choose every time. I love the feeling of the warm lather on my face. I always rinse my razor on a bowl of hot water because I love the warm blade on my face.

I love the feeling of warm love on my face. 😀

But I always rinse off and finish my shave with a cold water splash. My skin kind of demands it. I feel like my skin is always burning a bit after every shave. Yes, even with a new blade and with the lightest touch on my skin. The cold water puts the flame out.

Cold Water Shave

Cold Water Shave

The cold water finishing that I experienced is the one that made up my mind to try a total cold water shave. (Of course, after reading all the subjects on it, too).

But the main reason why I try shaving with a cold water is I can not get my chin area clean without a razor burn. It seems while warm water makes my whiskers soft it also makes my skin too soft. I couldn’t get my skin area stretch enough. Or I couldn’t get a proper angle. It is a trick that I yet have to master.

Using Alum, I always have a sting there. My aftershave also confirms it every time.

So I decided to give a cold water shave a go.

The Experience of Cold Water Shave

The feeling was totally different than a warm water shave. The preparation was so easy and minimal

I only grabbed my brush, my Gillette slim adjustable safety razor, and my shaving cream. The water in my shower is always cool and sometimes too cold for me. So I didn’t prepare ice cubes as some other cold water shavers suggested.

I dipped my synthetic shaving brush to a bowl of cold water and shook it twice to get rid of excess water. Gave it a swirl on the shaving cream and face lathered. Amazingly the lather was rich and a bit watery. Not drippy but just right watery. It made me realized that I made lather too dry all this time. The lather was slippery. It was the best lather that I ever made so far.

Oh.. and the cold lather foam was AMAZING. Even though I said I prefer warm love, I can safely say that I fall in love with the cold water shave.

The cold touch of the lather was so cooling. The cool comfort that soothed my face after a long hot day was totally acceptable.

Now came the shaving part. I already soaked my razor in the cold water while I was face lathering. It was a bit of a shock to finally met with the cold blade. Somehow I related that cold blade feeling with some horror movies. Can’t name the movies but I can guarantee it’s not a Sweeney Todd feeling, though.

After I overcame my shock, I continued with the shave. Mind you this was the 5th use of this blade. I expected that the blade would perform a bit lousy. I usually throw away a blade after 3 uses. I have been trying to see how long a blade can go. The standard of measurement, of course, is by me and myself alone. Your experience may differ.

I expected the shave would be a bit horrendous  It was an “old” blade after all. But, hey, the blade just cut the hair easily with a slightly louder feedback. I was astonished. It was the best shaving experience so far.

My ConclusionC

I now can safely say that I totally mad in love with cold water shaving. I might just add some ice cubes to my routine to make it even colder.

My skin had fewer razor burns. Alum and aftershave gave less feedback when I used them. My analysis was warm or hot water makes the skin tender while cold water makes it taut, it also stiffens the whiskers making them easier to slice clean off.

So this is my conclusion:

  • It soothes irritation. I didn’t feel any irritation while shaving with an “old” blade.
  • The cool / cold water is nice and refreshing. I welcome the feeling anytime.
  • The comfort and performance of shaving with a cold water is at par with hot water shaving.
  • People who are having trouble with irritation should try this. It’s a quick go or no go test and doesn’t cost a dime.

As always YMMV (Your mileage may vary). If you are new to wet shaving, I really suggest you try the hot water first. Most barbers use this method and they have regular customers for a reason. After a while, you may want to try a cold water shave. It will give you a full perspective of how shaving should be done.  

Link to shaving with a cold water thread in The Shave Den is here

Link to Jayaruh’s work of art is here

Please let me know if you have tried cold water shave or willing to give it a try. Use the comment feature down below.

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15 Replies to “Cold Water Shave – Are you brave enough?”

  1. I’ll be sticking with hot shaving. I’ve done cold shaving several times when hot water was not available. I did not like it at all. There are some benefits to the cold shave but I’ll stay with the comforts of hot shaving.

    1. I can understand your discomfort. I live in a hot and humid country. It is a good comforting cold water that really helps my shave here.
      But it is your shave. Enjoy it your way.

  2. Hi there,

    Although I don’t need to shave but your article will be useful for my hubby. He uses room temperature water. Do you have to put ice into the water to make it cold?
    I think this cold water shave will be suitable for those with sensitive skin too. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I just use what my tap water gives. The temperature is quite cool. Some people put some ice cubes into their bowls. I have yet to try it. I will consider your husband is already in the Cold Water Shave club. 😀

  3. After reading your article, I think I am already falling in love with cold water shaving. The cooling and soothing effect on my face. The reason why people shave using warm water is that it opens up the pores and is suppose to have a cleaner shave off. I am not sure if this theory is true. Will the blade last longer before you changed a new one as compared to a warm shave?

    1. Pores actually don’t open or close. It is just a marketing ploy.

      Cold water shave, I think, makes your skin taut so it is easier for the razor to move and cut all the hair.

      Blade longevity really depends on many aspects: how much facial hair, how coarse the hair, etc. So I really can’t say that cold water shave will help a blade’s life.

  4. I usually shave my legs in the shower and it’s a hot shave. I am accustomed to doing this and I am surprised that a cold shave is more effective for you.
    I am consider doing this but it’s so convenient to shave in the shower that I don’t know if I would be brave enough to try a cold shave.
    Thanks for bringing this up 🙂

    1. It is your shave, Dinh. You should enjoy it your way. But it is an easy test. You can try it right away.

      I love cold water shave now as it really gives a cooling effect to my face.

  5. I found this very interesting to read and I will have to share the information with my husband. I can see the cold water shave being attractive as the weather warms up! I love that a well used razor is effective during the cold water shave. That is motivation in and of itself. It is amazing how expensive razors have gotten! Thank you for your informative post.

    1. Hi Ilyssa,

      The warm weather is mainly the reason why I tried a child water shave. It is so refreshing afterwards.

      I think you should check this cheap blade out. Expensive disposable cartridge razors are the reason why I indulge myself in traditional Double Edge wet shaving.

  6. I do not shave as well, but I think your post is useful for many male users. My husband is also practicing cold water shave and I noticed that it is a very simple and fast method. Perhaps I will recommend him using Gillette Slim adjustable safety razor since it can last longer with the cold shave.

    1. Hi Jenna,

      The cold water shave is so fast and simple in preparation. I never looked back at hot water preparation again.

      It is not the gillette slim adjustable safety razor that last longer but the blade. The razor can last a life time.

      You can find the blade really last a bit longer. But YMMV. This is the reason why I prefer a DE blade.

  7. I do both. Thing is I’ve heard the pores open and cold is best. If you open the pores, then add chemical well so much for your clean pores that you just packed full of cream, bacteria from your beard an blood probably. I use to always get cut but not cold water. Plus I clip first for a faster short stubble shave. And shower off last. Like I need a bunch of hairs on me after I just showered. Disgusting. Feels good to the cool. Open pores just to fill last with after shave. Of course it burns duh. Way to clog those baby’s up. Your shave closeness depends on the razor and how well you shave, not water temp that has nothing to do with it. Also if your a man and afraid of cold water, stop it ya baby. Cold water shave first, hot showers last. Or I guess your just not clean unless you do the shower shave. Either way a shave is a shave I’d say cause I’ve done it all just depends on my mood. Winters cold I like warm water on my blades, summer heat I love cold shaves. Shaving cream is irrelevant but it does help blade glide better. Man up Dundee.

    1. Hi Mark,

      It is great to meet another cold water shaver. The cold water will help to close the open pores. And if you live in the tropical place like me, I always welcome a cool water running down the face after the shave.

      For me, though, I do the hot shower first then shave with cold water. The hot shower will help to “loosen” the hair and makes your skin more supple. It will be easier for the razor to maneuver across the skin.

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