Shaving with water only

There’s a touch of heresy floating around the double-edge-blade shaving web: you don’t really need lather to shave. It’s relevant here because double-edge blades can be had without plastic.

Heresy because some of the cachet to double-edge shaving is the equipment — the obvious, but also brushes, mugs, soap, lotions and mirrors — that makes it something of a hobby rather than a dreary daily requisite. And a cozy, masculine indulgence. And the quality of the shave is, in my experience, better than what I used to have with plastic cartridges and canned foam. (Yes, I have a beard but I have an equal surface area that does need shaving: neck and upper cheeks.)

I used to use a (plastic) bottled shaving soap, but wanted to phase that out. Most commercial bar (disc?) shaving soaps are overperfumed or leave me feeling greasy in D.C.’s hard water. Ordinary bar soap is too drying.

Folk legend suggests — I have no reliable citation — Albert Einstein used nothing but water because that — and not the foam — softens whiskers. That’s right. I shave right out of the shower, or in a pinch after softening my face with a hot towel. I use the washcloth to keep my face wet and rinse my blade frequently. I cut myself no more than before (that is, infrequently) and clean up is, of course, much easier.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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