Shaving Revisited

A while back, I described my early experience learning to wet shave. I got to the point where I was mostly happy with my shave. I could complete my shave without too much blood and my skin felt soft afterwards, but I still struggled to find an even shave across my upper lip and especially my neck.

So I’ve gone back and forth, testing a number of razors, creams, gels and blades over the past four years, and I realize that each method takes some practice. Some more than others, but each handle and blade has its own learning curve.

Talking to friends and a few readers who emailed me their favorite shaving products, I’ve come to realize there is no best method for everyone. What works for me, may not work for you. So with that said, I’ve narrowed down my list of favorite shaving products.

Gillette Mach3 – This is the best handle and blade for my money. The 3-blade systems is easier to navigate around my face than the more expensive 5-blade Gillette Fusion models. The Mach3 isn’t as easy to use out of the gate as the Fusion, but with some practice I get as close a shave with the Mach3 as I have with any blade I’ve tried. You might see a “Power” version of the Mach3 that vibrates, but skip it. It’s made of cheap plastic and won’t last as long as the simple metal handled version. ($7 with one blade)

Proraso Shaving Cream – It has a hint of menthol but not enough to overwhelm. It lathers up nicely and doesn’t require a shaving bowl like some fancy creams. I feel like I just stepped out of a barbershop after using Proraso. ($10)

Taylor of Old Bond Shaving Cream – If Proraso has the feel of an authentic barbershop, then Taylor of Old Bond makes me feel like I stepped out of a luxury bath. This is a more dense cream compared to Proraso, but it smells delicious and a little goes a long way. I rotate between these two creams. ($12-$17)

Parker Synthetic Shaving Brush – You can get away using your hands, but I prefer applying shaving cream with this brush because it’s less messy and allows me to apply it evenly all over my face and neck. My brush has lasted over four years, and I plan to replace it at the first of the year. ($22)

Osma Alum BlockĀ – After I finish shaving, I wash my face with cold water and then rub this block over my face to close any nicks. Even if I haven’t nicked myself it stings a little, which I don’t mind. ($12 for 2)

Aveda Aftershave Lotion – It’s expensive but lasts a long time, and nothing I’ve tried soothes my face like it does. ($35)

One thing I’ve learned over the years that is that using a cheap shaving foam or gel isn’t worth the hassle and abuse to my face. Whenever I use a foam or gel my face pays the price so I will skip a day shaving before I use one again.

What are a few of your favorite shaving products?