1. Another brilliant article Bruce – Traditional shaving can be a daunting idea for newbies. There is such a huge volume of information available when looking and personal bias often clouds the blogs and posts of seasoned DE shavers. Not to mention trying to learn the hardcore shavers shorthand lol. Your quick guide is insightful and easy to understand.

  2. Ales

    Quick question:
    I have just started my research in this area, since my drugstore discontinued Gillete ContourPlus blades and I am not willing to “upgrade” to the ridiculously expensive Machs or Fusions.

    I only shave twice a week, sometimes even less (shortening my beard with hair trimmer first): My profession does not require smooth shave at all times.

    Is it possible to reach sufficient level of proficiency with a DE blade with such a scarce practising (twice a week tops)?

    Is it efective to use DE blades for such a long stubble?

  3. Maxwell C.

    Yes Ales, it is possible to reach sufficient proficiency with such scarce practising (though once you start *really* shaving, you might find that you enjoy it so much that you shave more often, just for the fun of it). I am currently unemployed and shaving once a day just because I enjoy it (and I don’t even have super-fast beard growth). I am reminded of the Roman Emperor when asked by a Barbarian “Why do you bathe once a day?”, who then replied “Because I lack the time to bathe twice a day”. I feel the same about shaving :-).

    And I think that it is much *better* to use DE blades for longer stubble as they are much less likely to clog than a multi-bladed, monopolist monstrosity is (infinite space behind the blade compared to what one gets in a double-bladed razor). I am looking forward to being able to cut my hair (growing it out for cancer wigs) and shave my head again. Head shaving is a bitch with a double-bladed razor as they clog up SO quickly.

    Happy Shaving!

  4. John

    I love your articles, Bruce, and I am an enthusiastic user of the Edwin Jagger DE86! Wonderful razor.

    I was ‘halfway there’ I guess, using brush and mug for over a decade, doing a two-pass shave in the shower with a multi-blade cartridge. Got the EJ and took to it like a duck to water!

    Great blog, thank you for your efforts, sir!

  5. Felix

    Bruce, my escape from disposable n-blade shavers is a bit different, but i wouldn’t have started down this path if it weren’t for you …

    the first step is recognizing that lather is never too good. older shaving techniques might (!) require better lather, but using newer shaving technology shouldn’t change the way we prepare to shave.

    (also, anyone using aerosol creams [oxymoron?] should try Kiss My Face “moisture shave.” this is slimy compared to other brands, and expensive outside the US, but it’s a good first step off the beaten path.)

    anyway, after buying two of those cheap Turkish brushes, i had five Zorrik blades and i lost my mind …

    sometimes, i claim to be as American as anyone else because i was born in Chicago. but instead of junking the cheap Indian blades, i returned to this blog to find a handle for them. (my parents were Asian … the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.)

    based on information published here (and elsewhere), i bought a Feather Popular, and stupidly ignoring what i learned here, i skipped to step 4 (!) with this handle and my Zorrik blades.

    my whiskers don’t look tough, but they kill disposable shavers. there were times when i wanted a good shave, and i’d resort to using two disposable shavers. so i was astonished to discover that … this old-school shit works.

    i was nervous during the first shave, but it was safe. the second one was better, so i was more confident. #3 seemed a bit rougher, but i decided to reuse the blade anyway. after #4, i blithely ignored Zorrik’s instructions and stropped the blade on a mirror. #5 required more effort, but it was ok …

    maybe shaving would be less adventurous if i just bought the latest Gillette product, maybe i was lucky, maybe i’m having too much fun? i gave away the other Turkish brush, bought three more for friends, ordered 100 Dorco blades, want to buy a Weishi for a friend … but i’d have to try it and am guessing that i’ll buy another one for myself 🙂

    by the way, there’s a great deal of variation in those horsehair brushes. aromatically, some are relatively neutral when they arrive, but most demand a little tolerance. as far as i can tell, bleaching doesn’t help. just use them …

    though my favorite brush (so far) is probably an older boar bristle brush, the Turk ish brushes are very cool. when they smell horsey, they remind us that we’re not (just?) post-modern repositories of genetic material.

    Bruce, thank you so much for everything you’ve done here. you aren’t just shaving, you’re changing lives. best wishes …

  6. Bruce,
    Very inspiring.

    My own journey started similarly. It all started with a dull razor. Those cartridges just dulled too quickly. I couldn’t understand it. Plus the cost! It was murder on my face trying to save money by lengthening the life of the double bladed monstrosity they had back then. Not to mention those five-bladed behemoths they make today.

    I needed something sharper that lasted longer. Probably should have tried DE razors, but when the salesperson suggested it, I said **** it, I’m going to just hone my own razor, it’ll be cheaper in the end. So far its worked perfectly!

    Soon after I found the joys of the brush and soap. Then my morning ritual became a real ritual; meditation of sorts. I’m not truly awake until I shave and wash my face.

    It may take longer than just squirting out some goop, but the mental health benefit is worth every minute.

  7. rodrigo

    Bruce, i’m from Brasil and i’m looking for a cheap kit to “escape of the dark side” on ebay. it would be easier for me to buy all together, os at least from onde seller, but the most important thing is: it cannot exceed $50 (price + shipping). there’s just a few kits, what can you tell me about this one: http://cgi.ebay.com/250821317577
    maybe you could mount a kit for me, please, e-mail me! thanks, and congratulations!

    1. @rodrigo

      That’s just fine to start with. If you put “Lord” into the search here it will tell you about the razor.
      Omega brushes are good as are Shark blades.
      All you need to add is a soap or cream.

  8. Tim Barrow

    It is interesting that you say Edwin Jagger razors are ones to try first, when upgrading from the Wilkinson Sword Classic. We British may not have had a tennis player reach the Wimbledon Final for decades, but we do have The Beatles, Harry Potter, and now Edwin Jagger – oh, not to mention Mick as well.

  9. Maxime D.

    Today in the UTC-05:00 time zone, somewhere In Canada, an unknown brave postman delivered to a citizen, his very first double edge razor. This man did a 3 pass shaving with a Merkur 34C, a Dorco ST-301 blade and a Cella ”crema da barba all’olio di mandorla” soap. The man cut himself more than usual but at the end of the day, he was in the manliness.

  10. Pete

    Thanks for enlightening me! I’d been privately frustrated by the major razor companies ripping us off with ever-upgraded razor systems that seem to cost more and more. They also nastily make your old razor blades obsolete, which then means you have to buy ever more costly blades and shavers. Like most Brits, Australians (well Anglo-Celt ones anyway) have strong, hard bristles and can’t get away without a daily shave: but I’m going to try the old method, ditch the ripoff blades and try the old way.

  11. Rayner


    Always great insight. You are spot on about ‘the dark side’ that mainstream marketing has pushed on men in our society. You might find this article interesting… http://www.kindshaving.com/the-perfect-shave-really/ I switched to shave oil and have drastically reduced the amount of time that I spend in front of the mirror, and saved money!

  12. Instead of brush and soap, which do not lift the stubble (nothing can), buy shave oil and/or shave creams. The ingreidents are superior to any shave soap, cost less, and leave your face smelling like a million bucks. And why buy an expensive new razor, when there are plenty of vintage adjustables out there, ready to go for a newbie? Go classic. Go 1950s and 60s when men were men.

  13. Awesome article Bruce….evergreen content :), Dutch television had a huge item on this a few weeks back… I didn’t even know the cartriges were pattented so much no one else is even capable of even entering the market…. not a good thing. I’m gonna look into this traditional shave!

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