SHAVING IS FANTASTIC WITHOUT ALL THAT PLASTIC

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Phoenix poses next to the new tools for shaving the mug at Second Chance Homestead (also suitable for armpit, head and leg shaving – and if you are a hobbit, for foot shaving)

One goal when I moved to the Homestead: CUT DOWN ON PLASTIC. And if you shave in the modern world, you know just how much plastic can be involved.

 I’ve got a brother who is blessed with a mug that sprouts a bit of scrub about once a week. For him to try and grow a beard is an unbearable chore. He’s got enough hair on his head and chest to not get too depressed about it, but he can get by on one shave a week if that. So he doesn’t contribute too much shaving plastic waste to the local landfill. But he does his part.

 I on the other hand, am built like my father, which means that the scrub you shave off this morning is looking like a pretty strong shadow this afternoon. In short, if I want to look like a respectable gent with a clean-shaven face I need to take a razor to my cheeks and chin at least once a day. I’ve even had to shave twice when going out later in the evening if I wanted that “clean” look.

 What did this mean? Plastic, plastic, plastic. Five amazing blades wrapped in disposable plastic. Four blades if that is your style. Blades that pivot, rivet, and even sit Shiva if you want them to.  All of them encased in plastic. And you buy them in packaging made of plastic. You buy them OFTEN, because they don’t stay sharp too long. And that is just the BLADES. Then there is the razor (the part that goes in your hand).  If you’re like me, you are constantly replacing razors because you bought the wrong blades which don’t fit the razor you bought last time. Gilette has it’s own system and it’s own systems within systems and it is all so complicated. So if you buy the Gilette Super Plus it won’t fit the Superior and so on and so on.  And then Schick has got a whole other scheme. And Target and Walmart have their knockoffs. After years of shaving you’ve got a drawer full of razors and an empty wallet. And you don’t even get a really good shave.

 The cream that goes along with shaving also comes in plastic just in case you were worried you weren’t using enough. Or non-recyclable cans of gel. Take your pick.  You still end up a guilty litter monster in the shaving department.

 For the truly decadent there are the  “Disposable” one-time “”disposable” razor/blade combinations that come in packs of 10 and 20. What a WASTE of plastic. But they are CHEAP, and if you live like I do they are a BIG temptation to a SMALL budget.

 But when I moved here to the homestead I decided to do the right thing. I made a decision to switch to old school shaving.Yep. Razor. Blade. Brush. Soap. Re-useable. Wow. What a concept.

Now, you can’t go to Walmart or Target or any drugstore and find anything that will help you make this switch. I know. I tried. The only source I could find was online. Perhaps in a bigger city at an old-school pharmacy you might be able to find a nice shaver, a bowl, a shave soap bar, and a brush – but good luck tryin’.

 Luckily I’m not the only guy who has shifted back in time when it comes to a good, clean (and green) shave. There is a MOVEMENT out there. It’s called VINTAGE SHAVING. Seriously. There are all these sites that sell antique refurbished razors that are amazing – and pricey. But you got to admire the effort they make to restore these things. Many sites have before and after pictures. You can’t believe the transformation. Some even have history on the shaver itself. There are rare ones, gold-plated, “once owned by…” – you name it – all with commensurate price tags. The guys at http://www.razoremporium.com/store/ have a great selection and take restoration and shaving seriously. But there are loads of options – just Google it and see.  And at SCH we really like the idea of giving these old razors a second chance at life.

 Remember – a USED razor gets a NEW blade put into it. So the part that mows your “face grass” is brand new, clean, hygienic. Don’t be scared off by the fact that the device that holds your blade is used. It’s been cleaned. If you don’t believe the guys who sold it to you, boil it in water or send it through a dishwasher cycle. There. You’re guaranteed a germ free shave. No need to be paranoid.

 I do aspire to own an amazing one of a kind refurbished several hundred dollar razor one of these days, but for now I had to stay within my low budget. You can do this LOW budget. But steer clear of “vintage” sites and hit up Amazon.com.

I bought a great shaver through Amazon made in Egypt by the Lord Company and it works just fine. Even better, the English language packaging had me bowled over with laughter:

 “LORD PREMIUM. The Art of Shaving. LORD brings you the smoothness feeling. LORD sterling Razor is made according to high standards to give you a premium shave you can ever get. It’s durable metal parts hold the blade at the perfect angle to the face. This critical angle along with LORD Blade makes your shaving smooth and close all days long.”

In SoCal we’re always talking about Spanglish. Now I know Egyptlish too. You can find the Lord Company at http://www.razorslord.com/

Lord sells blades too, a pack of thirty for under ten bucks. Contrast that with the four lousy blade heads you get from Gilette or Shick at around $14.00 per pack.

 To complete the package I needed a brush, a shave soap, and a ceramic bowl to be able to get the foam just right. Luckily Van Der Hagen Enterprises at http://vdhent.com/ could outfit me with a set that would work just fine (save the plastic handle of the brush – but hey – I’m going to keep this brush for a long, long time).

I don’t really like to just run the tap and then wet and clean my razor in between strokes. It wastes water and I I feel that the tap never gets hot enough. So I like to have a second bowl of boiling hot water to sink my razor into in between strokes. I went to my local thrift store and found that really cool green one you can see to Phoenix’s left. It set me back $1.00 and works just fine.

I used to always cut myself shaving. I have the used styptic pencils to prove it. But using this old method I have only cut myself once when I was trying to get the angle right. Once you understand how this old-school method is done, it’s like a dance with your blade and face every single morning. I love the ritual of it. Boil my water, fill my ceramic water reservoir. Ahhhh….look at the steam rise. Dip my brush in to get it wet, then swirl it around the ceramic soap bowl where it lathers up and cools just enough to not burn my face.  Then transfer the lather to my face with sensual brush strokes that feel great and really lift and lubricate each hair. It’s like masturbation of the jaw. And you’ve never gotten such a clean (green) shave. Trust me.

 

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7 thoughts on “SHAVING IS FANTASTIC WITHOUT ALL THAT PLASTIC

  1. Sounds like I’m missing out. I use an electric shaver, but mainly because I am lazy. Probably somewhere in between you and your bro. I keep picturing you out in the old west with an old school barber’s straight razor. Maybe you should look into that, although not sure if you can use that on yourself… Hey, wasn’t it you who got accidentally cut by the old school barber and his clippers over by Market Basket? I used to go there all the time, you would get a piece of Bazooka gum when you got your hair cut. Fun times.

    • Yes, I used to go to that guy near Market Basket and the bowling Alley and he flirted shamelessly with my mother who always got flustered. BUT, she always took me back there, so what does that say? LOL! He nicked me once but I think it was because I jerked my head. The Bazooka Gum was always so hard it could break teeth. The guy had a deal with a local dentist – I’m sure of it.

      I actually thought about a straight-edge but it just seemed so…well, dangerous. I mean, If you want to cut yourself or someone else, you sort of have to take time to dismantle the razor with blade and that just might be the time you need to regain your sanity. The straight edge is just right there ready for the homicide/suicide. Like Miss Celie in the Color Purple. Too scary for me.

  2. I abandoned pens, cheap pens made in China that run out of ink about a minute after you take them out of the package. They have to sell you about 50 pens at a pop because they are so crappy. I resented the fact that I was running through pens like crazy and filling the trash heap with all that plastic and metal and spending money like mad. I switched to a fountain pen (Lamy makes a wonderful, affordable one) with a refillable ink cartridge. I love my fountain pen and now when my co-workers want to borrow it, they are befuddled. However one person did not want to give it back because they were so enamored. Amazon will sell you a Lamy Safari pen for under $25 (add the converter refillable ink cartridge for $5 and the ink for under $15), such a deal! If you are interested but don’t know a thing about how to fill them, you can find instructional videos on YouTube. I am a bit off-topic here, but you can see this is my new mission and I can’t help but proselytize.

    • This is an excellent idea. I really am trying to find alternatives to plastic. Just think, if everyone at AARP nationwide had one fountain pen that they kept track of and used daily there would be no more need for ball point pens. And just remember how often you had to order them? I mean, there were only a few of us in the office. Where did all those pens go? Where did they wind up? I know we didn’t just write so much that the ink ran out. Most of the time we were typing on computers. Oi Vey. Plastic is taking us over! LOL! I will look into getting a pen. I almost want to go totally old school and get a feather pen and an inkwell and learn caligraphy. Wouldn’t that shock the masses?

  3. Pingback: Safety Razors and the Old School Shaving Method | The Journey of Two

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