Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A New-Old Method: My Husband's Experience with Traditional Wet Shaving, Part 1

My husband hated shaving.  He avoided it.  He looked forward to camping and vacations partly just because he wouldn't have to shave.  I think avoiding shaving was part of his motivation in growing a beard in the wintertime. 

However, I liked it when he shaved.  The smell, the smoothness -- all good things.  But then I found out why he disliked it so much.  The various creams and gels on the market irritated his skin.  The razors tugged at his skin, especially on his neck, leaving a bunch of little, red bumps on his lower jaw and neck. He would also get ingrown hairs occasionally. Shaving was uncomfortable and unpleasant for him, but he did it anyway.

But this all changed about a month ago.  Now he loves shaving.  He even looks forward to shaving. He says it's relaxing.

So, what changed?  He learned about traditional wet shaving.  Not only does he love it, but it also happens to be a frugal way to shave. Double whammy! This Father's Day this weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to have a guy-centered post and let you know about this new-old shaving method.

For Part 1, I will focus will be on how's and why's of the shaving methods out there.

The Research & Findings

My husband's conversion to this shaving method began when I read a post on Simple Organic about it.  Then I showed it to my husband. He did a little research and decided to try it out.  Here are some things we learned (really, I'm paraphrasing a lot of the information from the Simple Organic post; you really should read it):
  • According to the Simple Organic post, the creams and gels that are common today use a chemical reaction to make the hair on a man's face weaker.  From there, the disposable cartridge razors catch the hair, stretch it out, and cut it.  To quote the post directly, "When hair is stretched and then cut, its elastic nature causes the hair to spring back which is the culprit of the pervasive problem of ingrown hair." When I read this, I thought of my poor husband's neck. It was all making sense...
  • Traditional wet shaving is great for men's skin.  Instead of cream or gel, shaving soap (which is an alkali solution) is used. With the help of a brush, the soap whips up into a cream lather (probably what shaving creams used today are trying to replicate). Traditional shaving soaps usually contain glycerin, which is great for dry skin. Because shaving soaps are more natural than chemical, they are a gentler alternative (especially for sensitive skin).
  • Shaving soap weakens the hair cuticle instead of the hair itself, causing the hair to swell.  This makes it easier to cut. The traditional razor moves over the skin and cuts the hair at the surface -- there's no tugging or pulling of the entire cuticle. The Simple Organic post put it well: "Think about the difference between cutting a dried-out, overcooked steak and cutting into a moist, juicy steak. It’s a similar concept!"
  • The shaving brushes, which are a little rough to begin with, actually remove dead skin cells from the face and neck (read: exfoliation.) when used to apply lather to the face. As we all know, exfoliation makes skin healthier. 
After about a month of traditional wet shaving, my husband's skin has improved dramatically. The razor burn is gone.  No ingrown hairs. And his skin isn't irritated at all.  I asked him yesterday if there were any cons to this new method. The only thing he said was that it takes a little longer. But, even then, he doesn't mind. Like I mentioned before, he says it's relaxing.

In Part 2, I will go over the necessary supplies to wet shaving (complete with links to each), along with an in-depth look at the money-saving aspect to this method.  For now, you can do what I did: share the facts about traditional wet shaving vs. mainstream shaving with the man in your life.  See if he's interested and then my husband and I will help him get started!


Betsy Escandon said...

I had a little trouble finding part 2, so until you have time to add the link, here it is for other readers:

Betsy Escandon said...

I had a little trouble finding part 2, so until you have time to add the link, here it is for other readers:

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