As I was taking my morning walk, photographing yet another watch, I got to thinking about other "eccentricities" of mine. (At least they are eccentricities as viewed through the lens of non-WIS "civilians", like my family and friends.)
One of those eccentricities, apparently, is the way I shave. After some experimenting a few years back, I use an old fashioned badger hair shaving brush with a mug of well made shaving soap. (I think one gets a closer, more comfortable shave using a good shaving brush. It also appeals to the same part of me that likes mechanical watches and a good vintage fountain pen.)
A shaving "purist" would pair the brush and soap with a well made straight razor. I, however, do not. Embracing modern technology in this instance, albeit somewhat reluctantly, I pair that old fashioned brush and soap with the most up to date razor generally available -- a Gillette Fusion.
I came to this "system" through trial and error. A few years ago, I decided to see what was out there beyond the world of Johnson & Johnson and Gillette and the standard cans of shaving creams one finds in the local drugstore. I also wondered about the environmental impact -- not to mention the expense -- of the various cartridges the blade companies were selling. It seems like every few years there is an "improvement": I went from twin blades, to pivoting twin blades, to "Mach 3" designs with three blades, to a "Fusion" razor with four blades! Those cartridges have gotten pretty expensive and I wondered if they really added anything.
After some investigation, I decided to try shaving with a good badger brush and tried using it with various shaving soaps along with some creams designed for use with brushes. After a period of trial and error, I determined that, for me, the soaps were easier to use and provided the same comfort and protection as some of the fancier creams. I also found that using a shaving brush was really superior to just slathering on some "Edge" or "Foamy" and hacking away -- as I had done for years.
I also looked into razors. I toyed with the idea of getting a good straight razor and shaving, presumably, the way that grandpa or great-grandpa did. I decided that I'd probably not maintain it properly. I also was not really up for the learning curve of properly handling a straight razor. (I could see the Daily News headlines: "Clumsy Lawyer Cuts Off Own Head in Bizarre Shaving Accident").
Next, I tried using an old fashioned standard "safety razor" with a good double edge blade. Even very good double edge blades are far cheaper than the cartridges being marketed to us now. Various shaving websites and the purists who populate those places tout safety razors as the best alternative to a straight razor. And one can invest a fair amount of dough into fancy, "well balanced" safety razors made by Merkur and other companies. Always nice to have first class equipment, right? It turns out, thouugh, that there is still *some* learning curve with a safety razor -- if you've been using twin blades or triple blades, etc.
You have to concentrate more on the angle of the razor and you must use less pressure. It is far, far easier to chafe and/or nick yourself with a safety razor. I did not master that art easily and ultimately, tired of nicks and styptic pens, I went back to the Gillette Fusion.
For both economic and aesthetic reasons, I have to admit I was disappointed that I did not learn to love the old fashioned safety razor. I may try again one of these days.
Anyway, that's my story. What do you gentlemen use and why?
(Apologies for the blurry photos -- I thought they were coming out better and I did not have time to re-take them.)