The Zen of Shaving (Safety Razor Edition)

So as I think I’ve mentioned before here, I co-host a podcast.

Each week on the show we do what we call “picks” – we each showcase two or three things we like and can recommend. It could be a book, software, beer, whatever we feel like.

That week in particular Tobias picked a safety razor, the Viking Blade Chieftan.

I’d started shaving my head a few weeks back (my hair has always been a liability for me – one way to handle that is to simply cut it off :).

I was using a disposable razor, and that worked mostly OK, but the results were uneven and I ended up with a bunch of nicks.

So I bought the Viking Blade Godfather and decided to give it a whirl.

To be honest, I still don’t know if I’m sold on shaving my head with a safety razor – finding the right cutting angle for the more difficult spots can be rather tricky.

However, shaving my face with it has been just incredible.

As crazy as it sounds, I find it incredibly relaxing. You have to be focused in on what you’re doing, but once you get used to it there’s very little risk of cutting yourself. Just use short, light strokes. Shaving with a safety razor is like trimming a bonsai tree, not shearing a sheep which using an electric or disposable reminds me of.

And the shave you can get with this thing is utter perfection. I mean, really, you’ll never come anywhere close with an electric, no matter how good they get.

The only price is time. Shaving this way requires patience, and multiple passes with the razor. In my case I’ve found that going with the grain on the first pass, then doing another across the grain, and finally taking care of those last few trouble spots with an against the grain stroke is the way to go. It can take me 20-25 minutes to get a rally good shave with a safety razor, whereas I can zip through with the electric in 15.

It’s possible that given enough practice, I’ll be able to get this down to something more manageable, but for right now, I’m afraid I’m going to have to cave to the pressures of modern society and use the electric on days when I’m under extreme time pressure.

Overall though, I’m super glad I discovered this. It’s become somewhat of a love of mine. Being partially blind, there are very few skills like this that I can master, and I’m pleased to say I’ve been pretty successful with this one.

So, if you’re a guy shaving with a disposable razor, spend the $30 and give a safety razor a try, you won’t regret it.


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