You may recall from my previous article, “An Introduction To Tradional Wet Shaving”, that over the past two months I’ve become a wet shaving convert. It’s been somewhat of a steep learning curve, but a decision I haven’t regretted in the slightest.
So why should you throw away your multi-bladed cartridge razor, with its billion dollar R&D, and go back to using technology that’s nearly a hundred years old? Read on and I’ll give you several very good reasons why…
1) It’s significantly cheaper
And I’m not talking a couple of bucks cheaper, either. I’m talking significant long term savings!
“Erm… Aren’t you forgetting the cost of the double-edged razors – you don’t get much change from a twenty for those!”
I’ll readily admit that your initial outlay can be higher. I, personally, spent as little as possible – I’ve been duped by “shaving systems” in the past, and I wasn’t going to drop a fortune on something that didn’t work. The total price for razor, soap, brush and five replacement blades? The same as a dozen replacement cartridges for my old razor (and you really don’t want me to tell you the mark-up they charge on those things!)
Let’s take a look at the long term savings after your initial investment; prices here are quoted in GBP, though I imagine it’d be roughly the same in other countries. I’m using what I’ve found in my limited experience as a template, but still I think this demonstrates my point…
Before: £58.70 per annum
After: £22.50 per annum
That’s a yearly saving of £36.20 on blades and shaving foam alone! Plus, those are the figures using my ‘shoppers savvy’. Had I been paying recommended retail price for the items (many people still do), the savings would’ve been even higher!
2) It reduces the risk of in-growing hairs
Modern tri-bladed cartridge razors use a process called hysteresis. The first blade pulls the hair, while the subsequent blades cut; this means the follicle is left to retract beneath the surface of the skin afterwards, leaving you with a satin-smooth face. It’s a great idea that genuinely works, and one that led to the ubiquity of tripled-bladed razors.
However, the retraction at the root means your follicle has to emerge from under the skin again and, if your facial hair is anything like mine, it’s not guaranteed to take the same path the second time around.
This means you’re more susceptible to in-growing hairs, which in turn means you’re more likely to suffer irritation. If you find you’re suffering terribly from in-grown hairs then I ask you to switch today. In the past two months my in-growing hair rate has gone from several every week to one. Yes, just one solitary in-grown hair in the past eight weeks!
3) It’s not as difficult to do as you might think
If you take one look at that uncovered blade and wince then you’re one healthy, sane individual; you’re scraping away at your delicate skin with two exposed sharp-edged surfaces designed to cut, cut, cut!
Don’t worry though; millions of men around the globe use a double-edged safety razor every day without decapitation. You’ll probably find the adjustment period tricky, and experience a few nicks, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to pick up the new method.
Plus, there’s plenty of help at hand. Not only are there a range of great videos on YouTube to watch and fantastic books available to teach you about the subject, there’s also plenty of dedicated forums and lengthy tutorials posts explaining how to do everything.
4) Consider the environmental impact
I’m hardly what you’d call an environmentalist’s dream. In fact, I’m dubious about much of the anthropogenic hustle we’ve experienced in recent years. I don’t see how me recycling a newspaper once a week is going to prevent multi-national corporations from churning out hundreds of gallons of toxic irritants into the ocean every day. Anyhow…
Think about how much of your current disposable is made of non-recyclable materials. I’m guessing virtually all of it. My old system was more plastic and rubber than it was metal.
Double-edged razor blades are simply pieces of pressed metal. When you’re done with the blade, simply store it in a small sealed tin. Then, when it’s full, drop it off at a recycling centre that accepts old blades. Congratulations – now you can feel a sense of planet-saving self-righteousness that can only be offset with the environmental damage caused by eating a tin of imported lima beans. Speaking of environmental damage…
5) It’s better for you.
Take a peek at the cavalcade of ingredients inside that can of pressurized shaving gloop. Really, I mean it; read the side of that can perched on top of your bathroom shelf. If it’s anything like mine used to be, it’ll look something like this:
Water; Palmitic Acid; Triethanolamine; Isopentane; Glyceryl Oleate; Stearic Acid; Fragrance (Parfum); Isobutane; Sorbitol; Glycerin; Hydroxyethylcellulose; PTFE; PEG-90M; Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter; Tocopheryl Acetate; PEG-23M; Propylene Glycol; Glyceryl Acrylate Acrylic Acid Copolymer; PVM MA Copolymer; Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice; Methyl paraben; Propyl paraben.
I don’t wish to be a “Negative Nelson” about this, but Isobutane has been banned for use in cosmetics in the European Union, Polyethylene Glycol has been known to cause skin irritation, and ‘parabens’ have shown close links to reproductive cancers in laboratories. And I thought this stuff was supposed to help improve my shave?!
By contrast, my new block of shaving soap contains the following:
Glycerine, Coconut oil, Palm oil, Castor oil, Purified water, Sodium hydroxide, Sorbitol, Sorbitan oleate, Soybean protein, Wheat protein, Peppermint essential oil, Tea tree essential oil, menthol.
Not exactly chemical free, but hey, at least I can pronounce ‘sorbitan oleate’. Plus, if basic preservatives are still a little too ‘hardcore’ for you, you can always make your own soaps at home!
6. There’s less irritation
Think about the number of individual blades going over the surface of your skin every time you use your multi-blade cartridge system. In my case it was four blades every swipe.
That’s four blades requiring multiple passes; no wonder my skin turned to sushi after every shave! With the ‘old skool’ safety-razors, one pass is just that – a single blade taking a single cut each time. Combine this with fewer chemical irritants, virtually no in-growing hairs and plenty of hydrating lather, you’re going to get a smoother, less painful shave each and every time.
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