The (Lost) Art of Wet Shaving

Traditional Wet Shaving

The Traditional Way of Shaving – The Right Way

Wet shaving is not from this era. We are in the age of super-speed. We claim that we do not have enough time for everything. To do all the things we need to do, 24 hours are not enough. Hence, we do everything in a rush, including shaving. Is it wrong to do a rush shaving?Morning1

Ladies, you might find this information is also helpful for you when you are shaving your legs.

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We become the victim of modern shaving equipment. They advertise their products claiming they have the newest technology. It helps you shave faster and closer. From the modern wet shaving technique to the dry shaving of electric razors, they all say the same thing. We have been “tricked” by the manufacturers. The most comfort you can get from your shaving is to do the traditional way of wet shaving.

Role Model

I don’t have anyone teaches me how to shave. Everything I learned, I learned it from the commercials and seeing what my late father did. I saw him do the exact things what modern advertisements shows. I suspected him already been compromised by those commercials, too.

I have to look on the internet to get a good lesson on shaving. Yes. I needed the lessons. I am having too often razor burns that I can not stand dry shaving or modern wet shaving anymore. Thank God for Youtube.

Benefits of Traditional Wet Shaving

Most shaving forums recommend that you should try the traditional way of wet shaving. They despised the modern shaving equipment. They do not like the canned shaving gel. It doesn’t give you the protection and slickness that you need. They also talk about using a single blade razor rather than a multi-blades razor. More blades mean more frictions. More frictions mean more chance for razor burn.

Before going to the benefits of wet shaving, I will give you the cons first:

  • It takes time. Yes, it does! You can not rush the process.
  • You need to do a good preparation.
  • There is no available and ready “Wet Shaving System”. You have to create your own system. Just like a Jedi, that needs to construct their own lightsaber. You need to keep trying and trying until you find a good system for you.
  • There is a learning curve. You can not treat it casually. You might have nicks and cuts at the beginning.
  • It is more expensive upfront. A good shaving system costs quite expensive. (Please do remember what I said before, there is no available single system).
  • You might develop a Collecting Disorder. Some people love collecting Razors, Brushes, and Soaps/ Creams.

I hope those cons do not deter you from trying traditional wet shaving. To help you move forward, here are the benefits:

  • It will save you big money in the long term. Be careful of Collecting Disorder.
  • Therapeutical zen moment. It is a great unwind moment.
  • Closer shave.
  • Smoother.
  • More more comfortable.
  • Less razor burn. Suitable for people with sensitive skin.
  • Prevent ingrown hairs.

What is Wet Shaving?

Please take a note here. When I am talking about wet shaving, I am talking about the ritual, not a specific razor. You can still use your disposable cartridge razor. People in the shaving forums recommend you to switch to, at least, a safety razor. If you do switch, you will save a lot of money on the blades in the long run.Wet Shaving

So, what is wet shaving? It is called wet shaving because it uses water to soften your beard and helps in shaving process. You need LOTS of water.

Wet shaving lather is a way to put more water on your face and hold it there. It will give you a slick face that helps a razor blade glide through without scraping your face. Just splashing your face with water is not enough. Again, you need LOTS of water.

Now, let’s get wet!

Preparation

If you are already indoctrinated by the modern shaving gears manufacturers, I need to you reset all information about shaving from your head. You have probably used to bad habits. You must re-learn everything about shaving.

You might have been using a force too many on your razor. Giving your face unnecessary pressure. You might also have a habit of skipping pre-shave preparation.

There are wide varieties of selection to choose for pre-shave preparation. The most important thing is to wash your face first. Clean it with warm water. This stage is to get rid of unnecessary obstacles for your razor. Dust and dead skins can create a speed bump while you are shaving, increasing the chance of getting nicks and cuts.

If you are showering with hot water, your hair will be moist enough to go to the next stage. If not, or if you just want to shave without showering, please use a hot towel. Cover your beard/mustache area with the hottest towel your skin can take. The hot water will “pop” out your hair for a closer shave.

After you wash your face, apply a pre-shave oil. Just like The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil, Unscented, 2 fl. oz.  But this is up to you. Some people do need to apply pre-shave oil while others find that oil degrades the lather of shaving cream. A correct way to use is to rub the oil well into the skin. You don’t want an actual layer of oil on your skin, which will prevent the lather to perform at its best.

Lathering

You will need a good shaving brush and a shaving cream / soap. There are several types of shaving brushes.  The best shaving brush is the one that suits you. You can learn about it and choose one in here.

A shaving brush is just one part of the lathering process. You also need a good shaving soap / cream. Many people recommend this Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Cream Bowl, 5.3-Ounce 2PK.

Remember when you loading your brush, always make the lather creamy. Not foamy.

Grain

No. I am not talking about wheat or seed. I am talking about the direction of your hair growth. For the first timer or the less experience, you really need to know the grain of your hair. Usually, because of gravity, the grain of the hair is from top to bottom. But that is not necessarily the case. Some area of your face might have a different flow of the grain.

Beard Shaving

See the difference of grain direction

Ladies, you can just read through and ignore this part. It is because your leg hair is thin and it doesn’t give a resistance like a man’s hair face.

Feel your face section by section with a single direction. If the hair gives most resistance, mark that area as AGAINST the grain (ATG). Otherwise, it is WITH the grain (WTG).

Always and always start your shave with the grain pass. If you want a BBS (Baby’s butt smooth) shave, you can try ATG pass after the first WTG pass.

Some people also use Across The Grain (XTG) pass before practicing ATG pass. The total of 3 passes usually is enough to get BBS shave.

Caution: Multiple blades cartridge razor users are prone to get razor burn easily using ATG pass.

Aftershave

Whatever you choose, please use an aftershave. Cold water after shave will give you the smooth feeling and closed pores, but you still need an aftershave. I have discussed the benefits of an aftershave. Read it here if you have not. Some people recommend this Razorock Alum Stick 60g because it is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.

Some other people prefer stronger scent aftershave and because SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obey) loves the scent.

Final Word

The lost art of wet shaving is being found daily by more and more people. People who love to shave. People who have difficulties in shaving. People who want to unwind. People who mystically attracted to the shaving gears thus developing the Collecting Disorder.

There are many people now experiencing the benefits of traditional wet shaving. We are eager to share this experience to the “younger” generation of shavers.

I am not saying you should throw away your electric shaver. You just need to get yourself wet.

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Arief Wibowo

I am a wet shaving enthusiast that is on a journey to find a better shaving experience.
Never received any training on the subject.
That’s why you may read that the journey may be colored with some blood.
Ouch.

10 Comments

  1. Hi Arief I must admit I have never heard the term of wet shaving and have never tried it myself.

    It sounds like a lot more work but if it saves razor burn I’m willing to give this a go.

    How long would you say it take’s you roughly Arief?

    • Hi Joel.

      It is a lot more work than a dry shave. You need to take time and enjoy it. The word enjoy is the key.

      I usually take about 15 minutes or so, starting from the preparation until I apply aftershave. Twenty minutes is the longest that I take because I don’t have a lot of face hair. Only on mustache and a little bit on the chin.

  2. From the woman’s standpoint. I usually shave in the shower… taking advantage of all the water. If I use anything for lather, it’s body wash. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. However, I also understand the lazy, pressed for time dry shave also. It’s usually that moment when I’ve put on a sleeveless outfit and realize there’s a beard growing under my arm. The entire time I’m hoping I don’t nick myself or end up with an ingrown hair. Yeah… wet shaves are important.

    • Hi Renee.
      If you use a body wash with a glycerine base, then usually you will have a slick layer that can help when shaving.
      Just take your time when doing the wet shave. It is to be enjoyed.

  3. This is a very interesting article Arief. I have never heard of wet shaving before! Sounds like something I might have to read more about! Love the site idea!

    • Hi, Rashaad.

      Wet shaving, especially the traditional way, is really becoming a lost art. Thankfully, a handful of people love it and keep the art alive.

      You should check it and try it out.

  4. I’m delighted I found this site and hope to read the rest very soon but I had a very quick questions. I suffer terribly from ingrown hairs and haven’t really found anything that has successfully got rid of or reduced these. By following a wet shave regime how do you propose that this would ‘prevent ingrown hairs’?

    • Hi.

      There are two things that I would like to recommend to prevent ingrown hairs:

      1. Do the pre-shave preparation. Especially the hot shower/ hot towel.

      2. Use only single blade razor. Multiple blades tend to cut the hair until below skin surface. This will lead to ingrown hairs. Avoid doing ATG pass.

  5. I am going to show this article to my boyfriend as he is always moaning about his trimmer and how it gives him a rash etc.

    He is a bit of a snob but hopefully your list of pros and cons will convince him to give it a try. I wet shave still and I’m a woman so if I can resort to traditional methods then he has no excuse… wouldn’t you agree? Is there any particular razor you would recommend for him?

    • Hi Holly.

      Love to hear that you are doing the wet shave properly.

      I would recommend your boyfriend to use lesser blades razor, i.e. try a safety razor. Multiple blades give you multiple cuts, hence the rash. Also, please do the pre-shave preparation. It will do magic to your skin and hair prior to shaving.

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