What is Traditional Wet Shaving? (A Guide to Traditional Wet Shave)

The advent of disposable razors, and electric shavers had once threatened to permanently wipe out the practice of traditional wet shaving. But the ancient practice refused to die, and it continues to live on – at least until we stop growing facial hair (which is probably among the first requests on some men’s prayer list… but that’s one wish that will not come through, not if you’re alive… of which we assume).

Of late, we see a great resurgence of traditional wet shaving. Men are craving for that closer shave, and traditional wet shaving has once again saved the day. In addition, a wet shave is better suited for your skin, and will no doubt enhance your shaving experience.

The average man will spend about 3,000 hours of his life shaving, and if you don’t use the right products, and adopt a good shaving routine, it’s easy to spend most of those 3,000 hours in pain and agony.

For beginners now learning the route, shaving can be a constant nightmare, especially if you have not yet tried traditional wet shaving. Traditional wet shaving can be a game changer for men who are looking to enjoy every bit of their shaving experience while getting a close shave.

Recommended: Electric Wet Shaving

But where do you start? And what factors you should first consider before you can achieve a comfortable shave? You may have already heard the many arguments of some men against traditional wet shaving. Their main claim: “shaving the old-fashioned way is time-consuming, a difficult art to master, causes cuts, nicks, and razor burn, and it doesn’t give you a close shave.” While this statement has truth to it;most of their claims are baseless.

Anyone can perform a traditional wet shave, seasoned and newcomers alike, it makes no difference. If you have seen someone shaved with a traditional razor before: you already have enough knowledge needed to at least try the traditional wet shaving approach. Continue reading this traditional wet shave guide, and you will learn how to achieve the best results when you shave the old-fashioned way.

What is a Traditional Wet Shave?

traditional wet shaving

As the name may suggest, a wet shave basically means shaving with water.

Why Try Traditional Wet Shave?

If it isn’t obvious, the following are four undisputed facts of why you should consider switching to traditional wet shave.

  • Wet shaving products are affordable. The major benefit of traditional wet shaving is the cost factor. You can easily save a couple hundred bucks if you decide to shave the old-fashioned way.
  • Traditional Shavers are easy to maintain and are generally reusable. Another benefit of adopting the traditional wet shaving approach is the hassle-free maintenance. If you plan on using a straight or safety razor, you have the option to reuse them. But don’t forget to replace dull blades as needed.
  • A traditional wet shave, once done properly is gentle on the skin. There is no point arguing over this statement. Men who have experienced shaving with both traditional, and electric shavers on a regular basis will tell you that using the traditional blades were some of the most satisfying shaving experiences they ever had.
  • A traditional wet shave will give you a good shaving experience. Traditional shaving, once done correctly – there isn’t no need to sigh nor frown, just relax and enjoy the most pleasing shaving experience you will ever have.

Essential Supplies You Need to Get Started.

To get you started on the right foot, you need the right products. In the construction field, they say you’re only as good as your tools. But in this case, your wet shave is only good as the products you use. Using the right products for your wet shave is as important as the actual shave. The Products you plan on using for your wet shave will either give you a shave that most men desire, or a shave that doesn’t even impress your grandpa. So, considering the importance of these products – it’s advisable that you get the right ones. Here are a few we classify as necessary.

  • Pre-shave oil
  • Razor
  • Soap or Cream
  • Brush
  • Shaving Bowl
  • Alum

Depending on your budget, buy what you can afford but avoid the cheapest options. It won’t hurt to spend a few extra bucks to buy products with excellent quality, after all, getting a good wet shave is what really matters. In this wet shave guide, we will explain how to use these products to get the best results.

A Few Considerations About the Razor.

Arguably, the second most important tool at your disposal is the razor. We use the word “arguably” because some men believe the razor to be the most important tool in one’s shaving arsenal. But if you speak with men who know their stuff, and by stuff, we mean men with solid experience with traditional wet shaving. They will tell you that if you use a good quality brush and do your prep correctly: you can use even a cartridge razor and still manage decent results.

However, invest in a good quality razor: it will amaze you at how hassle-free and effective your wet shave experience will become when you invest in tools of the highest quality.

Since most people prefer using a straight-edge or safety razor, we will focus mainly on these two. There are two kinds of straight-edge razors, one uses blades that requires to be honed and stropped; while the other uses disposable blades. A safety razor uses a double edge disposable blade. Also, with the safety razor, you have the option to alternate sides as needed during your shave.

Either way, both razors are an excellent choice, but we have found that people like to simplify things by sticking to one blade.

A Thought About Pre-Shaving Products

Using a pre-shave oil is optional, at least for those who shower with, or uses fragrance-free soaps that contain 30-50% fat content along with essential oils. If this is the case: you can use water as a substitute for the pre-shave oil.

With your face wet, these are the steps you must follow: create the lather for your brush, apply the oil to your face, apply the lather to your face, perform the shave, and finally, apply the aftershave. You can skip step 2 if you don’t need to apply any pre-shave oil.

The Traditional Wet Shaving Process Explained in Steps

Step 1: The Brush

Take time into consideration when you are creating the lather for your brush. The entire process in step 1 should take about 5 minutes. Anything over 5 minutes is too long and will cause your face to dry.

First, make sure you have your shaving bowl ready, now place a disc of soap in it. After you have finished placing a disc of soap into the shaving bowl, wet your brush with hot water.

Now move your brush in a circular motion until it lathers with the soap. At some point, the lather will foam. Continue to lather until the foam increases to the desired volume to keep the brush wet.

Step 2: The Hot Towel

Now that your lather is ready, it’s time to apply the pre-shave oil or cream. You don’t want to apply too much, so just follow the product’s instructions and put as much as recommended. Now massage the oil into your skin.

Given that your face is lubed, take a hot towel and place it against your face. Keep holding the towel against your face for about 4 minutes to allow the heat to open those facial pores.

Step 3: The Application

With your brush in hand, in a circular motion, apply the lather to your face. Start under your chin and then work your way over to one side of the cheek. As the lather continues to build up, move over to the other cheek.

You may need to add more water to keep the brush wet. Once the brush is properly wet, move over to the chin again, then to the neck.

Step 4: The Shave

Shave along the grain, using small strokes. Start with the cheek, and with your free hand, pull your skin as tight as you can to reduce the possible risk of you cutting yourself.

We recommend that if you are using a straight-edge or safety razor to avoid applying any pressure while shaving, the weight of each razor is enough to keep the blades close to the skin, any additional pressure will cause razor burn.

After you have finished shaving the cheeks, move over to the neck and chin. Unlike rotary electric shavers which can shave against the grain, you must never shave against the grain while using a straight or safety razor. And don’t forget to rinse your razor as you shave.

Step:5 The Second Pass

To get a close shave, take your brush with whatever lather that remains on it and lightly wet your face. Now go over your face with your shaver, but this time at 45-degrees to the grain.

Step 6: Alum

Using an alum is a great way to prevent nicks from bleeding. An alum serves as a disinfectant to help eradicate the threat of rashes and infections.

Step 7: Rap it up

Finishing strong is equally important as starting right. Now that you have completed the preceding steps, apply cold water to your face. This will close those facial pores and tighten the skin to give it a smooth-looking appearance.

Dry your face and apply your aftershave. You can use an aftershave balm or lotion; the choice is yours.