Introduction to Safety Razor Shaving

Once upon a time, I started shaving some 15+ years ago with a Shick razor with safety wires, and graduated to a Mach 3, and Fusion when it came out, never really questioning the process.  The Fusion seemed harder to clean, thanks to more blades packed tighter, and I often found myself preferring the back-side single blade thanks to its easy cleaning and ability to trim closer.

A little more than 4 years ago, I got a Norelco electric for Christmas (as I asked for) and switched to that.  It worked fine, though it would leave my neck red and irritated.  This past fall I needed to replace the blades (after three years, despite mfg suggestion of annually) and found the new blades cut far less efficiently, requiring more passes and thus causing more irritation.

Early this year, I was watching YouTube videos about woodcraft as I sometimes do, and happened upon a video on double edge safety razors.  I researched a bit and then a bit more, and after fretting the entry cost on Amazon, wound up at Meijer.


My new Razor

 I picked up a Van Der Hagen razor, I figured at $20 it would tell me if I liked safety razors, and I could go all in with a Merkur or Parker later on.  Reviews online rated it superior to the Micro Touch One you may have seen Rick from Pawn Stars pushing.  It is chrome plated brass with a butterfly design (two doors open on top for you to insert the blade when you turn the handle screw, as opposed to the screw allowing the whole top to slide out in a two or three piece design).

As I had been using an electric, I didn’t have any shave cream.  I figured Edge gel just wasn’t in the spirit of what I was getting into, but wasn’t up for springing for the matching Van Der Hagen soap, bowl, and brush for another $30.


My new shave cream

 I went with this Pacific Shaving Co shaving cream.  It was on sale at the time for around $4 and claimed 100 shaves.  It does alright, you need to mix with some warm water and work up a lather, then spread it on.  It will dry out and go flat on your face after a few minutes, the more water you lather in the longer you have.  I doubt I am getting 100 shaves out of it, maybe half, but that’s really not bad, close to what I would expect from a can.  I have noticed it has a strange habit of getting stringy in the tube, I assume due to polymerization of the thickeners they used.  Once lathered, you don’t notice, it does seem to make it harder to squeeze that bit out though.
So that’s the what, as for the how, it’s not all that different from any other razor.  Maybe it helps I went electric for awhile and made it a little easier to change up my habits.  Lather up, preferably after a shower so your hair is softened.  I like to fill my sink with water so I can shake my razor in it to clean, I find just under running water doesn’t do the trick.  I start on my right, being right handed, at my ear and go down, using many short (one inch or so) strokes with one side of the razor until I feel it is starting to drag a little and not leaving a clean path, then flip and continue until it happens again, then rinse.  Everyone says go with the grain, I tend to go with, across, against, and everything in between due to a rather odd growth pattern that almost spirals under my jaw.  Feel with you fingers, and make your first path with the grain, getting your whole face shaved.  Now lather up again, this time you won’t get as much lather as there is no hair to lather against.  As you do this, feel for stubble so you know where to focus.  Now, go across or against those areas (depending on skin sensitivity, you should know if you can go against the grain or not) with the razor for an extra smooth shave.

As for nicks, chances are you wont even know you did it until a minute later when you see the red drip or you rub cream in and feel a burn.  Your first time with a safety razor, you WILL cut yourself, but not because it’s your first time, but because it’s the blades first time.  I don’t know why, it’s just how it is, new blades nick you more.  I have a few moles that I know to be careful around, I am sure you will learn your own areas to ease around.  Whatever you do, don’t glide the blade long way, the way you gut with a kniife, because it will cut you like a knife.  This seems obviously, until you are moving to a new path below your ear and realize you almost just did it.

With your old razor, you held the cartridge flat to your face and it pivoted and floated to follow your contours.  With a safety razor, the head is static, so you need to move the razor to follow your contours.  With experience, you can feel it, whether it is cutting hairs or just floating over.  Each razor has a slightly different cutting angle, too high or low and the head just glides over with now blade contact.  When you get the angle right, it’s obvious.

The jaw, Adam’s apple, and under the nose will take the most care.  The jaw/chin is mostly just several passes at different angles to ensure you get everything, and the nose is about using the the edge of one side of the razor in right under the nostril, to get as close as you can, then using the full blade to clean up after.  Hard to explain, but you will understand when you try it (I hope).

After all that, rinse your razor, drain and wash your sink, rinse your face with cool water, and pat dry.  Styptic if you need, aftershave if you want (or dare?).

Yes, shaving twice takes time.  I only did one pass for the first several times.  As you go, you get faster, and soon you can fit that second pass in.  You get better at knowing what paths to take, what angle, and where to avoid.  Like anything, it’s all about practice.

If you want to go out and spend hundreds, be my guest, you can certainly do it.  Like I said, I started with about $25 in hardware.  I have since added a bowl and brush I got from a farmers market from a lady selling homemade shave soaps.  I also have a family friend who sells shave soaps and similar natural supplied from her website, but not the bowl or brush.  I do plan on getting a stand and some better blades, and eventually a better razor.  Amazon is probably your best source, be it razors, blades, bowls, brushes, stands, soaps, whatever.  Some malls now have Art of Shaving stores, I recommend to stay out.  They are severely overpriced (you can verify on their website) and are generally empty of other customers, so you will immediately be “helped” by the generally sole employee.  They can be a good source of information, but it will be biased to their products, and you may be better helped by many online forums ( I have learned much from the Badger and Blade), friends (after posting on Facebook I was using a safety razor, two friends let me know they have been using them for a while as well), or even your father or grandfather.

So, thats what I have learned in my two+ months.  Feel free to ask me any questions you come up with, or leave any advice you may have for others.

I will try and get a follow up post later, a little more in depth on a few things, maybe even a video.  Those that read my blog may know updates have been sparse for a while, but I have a new direction and will be pushing for more update.


An Experiment of Sorts

Jenn’s computer has been acting up, so we looked at replacing it but $999 for a new or even refurbished MacBook is not in the cards right now. We came upon the idea of an iPad, but she wasn’t sure she could live with just that. So, I got an iPad mini (32GB) and gave her my MacBook for now. Mine is 2 years newer than hers, but still 5 years old or so. It is temporary, I am sure we will get a new laptop in another year or two, but should work for now.

Shofar, I am ok with just the iPad. I have gone back to the computer a few times for goofy websites that just won’t work (namely Hulu, as I don’t see paying for Hulu plus just for Warehouse 13), and for resyncing a few items, but almost completely iPad for about 2 weeks now.

For saving files (I didn’t have all that many) I went with a mix of Evernote for PDFs and other read-only documents and Dropbox for anything I may need to edit. This may change to Dropbox only eventually. There is nothing wrong with Evernote, I just wonder if it may be easier to have everything in one place. I have read of many that swear by having both though, so am giving it a try.

I do not have an office app yet, but have been looking. I am waiting to see if LibreOffice comes to the rescue or if the rumors of Apple giving away iWork come true. I did by Grand Theft Auto III though (priorities, you know), but have not played enough for a review.

I got a case from someone at work, but not sure I like the bulk it adds. I had a case on my iPhone 4, but it ended up scratching the phone when dirt got caught between the case and phone. After that, I have been caseless on my iPhone 5. I have a feeling my iPad will end up the same, perhaps with a sleeve for travel though.

In other news, I took and passed my amateur radio exam last month, and have the call sign KD8VHX. Jenn was awesome and bought me a radio, 2 meter and 70cm bands. That gets me 10 or so miles range. It is a low cost option for now to see if I actually use it and if its worth spending for a HF radio with worldwide range (which are several hundred to a few thousand dollars!).

Jenn is going to Vegas with her mom and sister, on my birthday. I will make sure she makes it up to me later.

I think that’s about it for now, later all.

BREAKING UPDATE: Just noticed after posing, this is post 600 (in WordPress, it is probably a bit over that in post count).

Ten Years

Yes, today marks ten years since my first blog post.  Around 2:21AM, so you could argue it was kind of yesterday, but whatever.  This is post 599, with an unknown number of words, since I no longer have a way of tracking that.

I really do want to post more, it just has a habit of slipping my mind.  When I had no life, I had nothing better to do but nothing to really say.  For the past few years though, I have plenty to say, but no time to say it.  I tried to blame Facebook, as I would just post there, but I barely even do that anymore.

I think not posting also brings on the issue you have with friends you don’t see for a while.  You have a million things you would have told them, but you need to prioritize what to say and can’t pick, so wind up with nothing to say.

I have decided I am going to better utilize Flickr, especially with their new nearly limitless storage.  I will post a link to my album prominently once I have it better set up, but for now you can view my photo stream here.

I have a few ideas for posts.  I have some projects I did around the house I may try posting, or recipes or whatever.  We will see.

I can’t say how much longer I will be blogging, but I do plan to keep it up for a bit longer, and take a serious stab at being more frequent.

Any thoughts, leave a comment.

Ninja Parade!

Me:  Sweet, a Ninja Parade!

Lame Guy:  What?

Me:  I reached in my pocket and there was a mini Snickers bar, there must have been a Ninja Parade.

LG:  What the hell is a Ninja Parade?

Me:  You are just standing there, then with no signs at all, there is candy in your pocket.

LG:  I didn’t get any.

Me:  They must have sensed your non-belief.

LG:  How can you not believe in Ninjas?  They are a fact of history, elite Japanese soldiers.

Me:  Exactly, yet they sensed it.

LG:  I mean, their not some magical superpower like they are depicted in some movies and comics and whatnot…

Me:  …there’s the doubt, and that’s why there is no candy for you.

LG:  Whatever, you’re weird.

Me:  mmm, ninjalicious nougat…

Nine Years!

I think I may have said it before, but when I started this all I had no life, which gave me nothing to say but all the time in the world to say it.  Now, I have a life, am doing stuff, but always have something better to do that write it all down.  That and Facebook gets most of the little updates now.  I do mourn the loss of my record, that I could look back on when something happened, or reminisce about whatever event.  It would be nice if I kept that up.

Regardless, today is nine years since I began the blog, and it will stay only for at least another year.  I will put some thought into what happens beyond that over the next year though.  Does it get converted to some different format, does it stay online, do I start using it for another purpose, or does it all just get archived to my hard drive?  I have a year to decide.

In life type stuff, for those unaware, I have a permanent job (since July), a house (since September), and a dog (since November).  All are going well.

So, thats about all I have for now.  Too much to update on everything thats happened in the months since I posted, so I will just leave it here.

If you actually read this, let me know, so I have an idea of weather anybody reads and how worth it continuing to post would actually be.



So, just for fun, I am posting from my iPhone. Yes, I have a new iPhone. I need to set the blog back to the the homepage, now that I have a permanent job and don’t need to advertise for myself anymore. Also, on October 30, we would be at six months since my last update, so something here was needed. Hopefully more soon. Nick

Not Dead Yet

So, I looked at the clock, then the calendar, and realized I am about to go 6 months without posting to the blog.  It’s funny how you can go from posting every three days like clockwork  for years to suddenly making it months between posts.  Still, as the title says, it’s not quite dead yet.  I think I just need a reason to post.  I went for a long time treating this like a diary of sorts that happened to be open to the public.  Problem is, that really only appeals to a few friends voyeur sides, and not really to the larger crowd.  I haven’t figured out what direction to take yet, but I think once I pick a direction the journey itself will seem less daunting (that actually sounds a bit more “inspirational email signature” than I wanted, but will do).

The big news, I suppose, is that I am working, and have been since January 6, for Shape Corp in Grand Haven.  I am a Quality Engineer there on the GM launch team.  Shape, if you are not familiar (which you probably are not), is a rollforming and stamping company.  The main products are “impact beams”, the steel structure within bumpers.  The product line I am involved in primarily involves rollforming the beam then welding on several stamped components.  It is not a permanent position, at least not yet.  I am coming up to 4 months of a currently 5 month contract (originally 3 month, so thats something).  No real word on what the future might bring, though I kind of expect something next week (it will be 1 month from contract end, which was when my last extenuation was announced).  Honestly, even when my 5 months are up it may not mean the end, just a less certain future.

In other news, my 10 year high school graduation is this year, scary as that it.  Venue and date are supposed to be announced tomorrow via the FaceBook group.  It is rather exciting to look forward to seeing everyone and such, though it would be nice to be able to say I had a permanent job by then.

I am getting closer to my eventual backpacking trip.  I have been picking up supplies here and there for quite some time, and its high time to actually put it all to use.  This summer I really want to make at least one, mane two trips.  I actually even got into making and selling hammocks after making myself one.  I am not pre-making them anymore but will build them upon request.  It helped with the bills for a little while.

The SME Disc Golf Fundraiser continued on this year, for the third year.  Nice to see something I helped put together still going after I am gone.  Unfortunately, the current SME group doesn’t use the Facebook group much and none of use knew about it until it was too late.  Hopefully next years group will realize that reaching out to alumni during fundraisers is a good thing.  The Christmas Parade float also was built again this year, another tradition I helped get off the ground.  I went up to see it and ride along, and had quite a bit of fun.

The fish are, somehow, still getting bigger.  I occasionally walk by and notice just how huge Kitty and Jill are.  They need a bigger tank, but its just low on the list of needs right now.

Without job interviews, out travel has been semi limited.  Also, time has been factoring in as well, with both Jenn and I having off being semi rare.  We went to Bay City and Alpena for Christmas, NAIAS in January, and to Traverse City in March.  Not much else though.  I think a trip is due soon here though.

Jenn taught a Nursing CLinical course this winter for Baker College, Cadallac.  It was held at Mecosta County where she works.  She was also taking a class at GRCC over the internet at the same time.  It was one of the pre-reqs she needed to apply for her master’s degree.  Which leads us to…  Jenn was accepted into the Nurse Practitioner program at MSU earlier this month.  She will start in about a month with a spring/summer course, then get full bore into it come fall.  It is online with approximately monthly trips to Lansing for tests and such.  Very excited and proud of her, obviously.  Something like 800 apply, 200 are interviews, and 50 are accepted each year, so definitely something big to get in.

Obviously there is much more I could probably write about, having about 6 months of stuff that is unshared, but I don’t want to bore you with most of it.  I think 800 words is a pretty decent start after such an absence anyway.  So, I will leave it here and hopefully be back well before November 1 rolls around.