Experiments on shaving my beard

That’s right, shaving my beard deserves a blog entry of it’s own. I hate shaving my beard, I am frank about it. Everytime the blade touches my beard it hurts as if the blade is plucking the hair from the skin instead of shaving. Think of a jackfruit (or a pineapple) getting shaved. Having to go through this ordeal once every week has forced me into finding ways to shave that would hurt as little as is possible.

My “Hello World” shave happened somewhere in 1997. Dad got me a use and throw 7 Oclock twin blade razor. Over time I have tried all kinds of razors and blades and currently I use a Gillette Mach 3. In my opinion a bad blade will make the shaving experience unbearable but a good blade doesn’t necessarily solve all the problems. Here I will give you some of my experiences and the conclusions I’ve reached based on them.

1) Always shave just after a shower. This should be pretty simple to understand. Taking a shower ensures that your beard soaks up a lot of water becomes soft. Running a blade over it is easier since the blade just slices through it.

2) Be patient. Take sometime to prepare for the shave. Do not do a rush job because you might cut yourself and also make the whole experience quite painful. Brush up enough foam into the beard and let it be for a little while. This generally makes the beard very soft and easy on the blade. It won’t get stuck on ends.

3) Use shaving cream or shaving round. I avoid using the shaving gel or the shaving foam in the canisters. Every single time I’ve tried this, while keeping everything else constant, I felt that my beard felt drier. I could see an immediate difference because it hurt like hell.

4) Use an alum instead of alcohol based after shaves. I’ve used alcohol based after shaves and trust me they are best gifted to your worst enemy. They might make you smell all macho. Then I tried a non alcoholic after shave (Nivea White) and it was whole lot better. Unfortunately this one is hard to find in Hyderabad so I used to get someone to import it whenever they went abroad. I used this for a whole 4 years before I watched one of the old men use an alum at a barber shop. The next thing I did was go to the local store and buy a slab of alum. When I used it on my immediately next shave it burned like hell but man it was so much better than anything I had ever used. To give you a context, I would tear a piece of muscle off of anyone who touched my beard on the day I shaved – this included my wifey btw. After I started using the alum on my beard it doesn’t hurt that much. You know the best part? I don’t have to import the slab and it costs 41 times less than Nivea White.

My research into my beard took me 14 years of experimentation. In the end my shaving rig looks like this:

Gillette Mach 3 blades, Godrej Shaving Round, Nivea shaving brush, Norelco trimmer and Alum

Hope this helps anyone who’s experimenting with shaving. BTW I hate going to the barber to get my beard shaved because they always end up shaving against the grain and it hurts like hell.

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