Slow Down and Lather Up

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By Brenda Shafer  

Photography by Emily Long at All City Barber Co.

Here in the South, we’re rarely in a hurry. We tend to talk a little slower, sip our sweet tea at a leisurely pace, and spend evenings gently rocking back and forth on our porches. Now it’s time for Southern gents to extend that rhythmic pace to grooming. In the last ten years, the decades-old technique of wet shaving has come back in style. More and more men are using safety razors, and even straight razors, to get the job done, just like their grandfather and great grandfather before them. But wet shaving is more than simply a better method – it’s a craft, a ritual, a time to slow down.

Wet shaving, done correctly, gives you a better shave. Improvements may not be apparent after your first or second attempt, but once you master the art, you and your significant other will notice a difference.   

Many men have turned to wet shaving for its effectiveness, but it’s also better for the environment and less expensive over time. Once you buy a quality straight razor, you won’t ever have to buy another. Safety razors require new blades, but the handle never needs to be replaced and the blades can be recycled. The brush, bowl, and traditional soap you need is also less expensive and recyclable.

It’s true that wet shaving takes time, as most good things in life do. Not just the actual shave, but preparing your skin beforehand should take time. Your skin needs time to prepare for a blade cutting across it. A proper pre-shave lather will moisturize and lift hair to prevent nicks and irritation.

This refined ritual requires some trial and error to master. You need to experiment with creating the right consistency in lather (hint – thicker is better). Depending on the thickness of your hair, you may require more passes (but don’t forget to use more lather when repeating strokes). The angle of the blade also matters, and the pressure you should apply is less than you think. Remember to sharpen your blades occasionally, as this helps ensure you’ll get a quality shave every time.

So, slow down and take your time relearning the secrets to a sophisticated shave. There are many resources out there that can help you, including your local barber shop, which can give you the luxe experience. Once youíve tried wet shaving, youíll shave like you sip your tea. Slowly.