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Monday, October 4, 2010

Some Valuable Insights For The First-Time Shaver

No matter how much you prepare your beard, hone your razor or spend on shave soap, you will bleed during your first few shaves.  Why?  Well for starters, you are exfoliating – not in the girly way some guys do with a scented apricot facial scrub, but with the sharpest blade you have ever held to your face.  You will shear off every bump and imperfection on your face.  Don’t let that get you down – it’s actually a good thing.  As long as you keep your face clean after you sop up the blood.

Buy yourself some styptic pencils.  One will probably do just fine, but they are cheap and if you have just one, it will almost certainly fall from your bathroom shelf and shatter on the floor at just the moment that you need it the most – when you are trying to seal that small but copiously bleeding hole in your face where that pimple used to be.  That is not the time to be groping for shards of styptic on your tile floor as you create a work of art in red that would do Jackson Pollack proud.  Your significant other will be quite upset with you.  Before using the styptic, make sure the areas is clean and as dry as possible.  Wet the pencil slightly and hold it over the bleeding area.  I have found that leaving some of the styptic powder over the wound is helpful.
Keep a towel (or a few of them) set aside for shaving.  My personal recommendation for color is red or black.  This way, if you are dumb enough to leave it there for the wife or girlfriend to find, they just may not notice that the towel is dotted or smeared with your blood.  That is, unless the blood is still fresh and they use it for a facial towel after washing their face.  In this case, do not be alarmed by their shrieks of terror when they take that one last glance back in the mirror before starting their day.

Using bits of toilet paper as a means of stopping the bleeding is a suburban legend – it may stop the bleeding while it is applied, but pull it off (as you must, because it looks really stupid) and you will find that the scab that sealed the wound is pulled off with the paper leaving you right back where you started from – except this time, you aren’t in your bathroom in your boxers, you are about to go into an important meeting wearing a white shirt.

You will find it useful to have some good manly stories of how you got all cut up.  Fights over a woman’s honor are always good (particularly if the listener is a woman).  If you are facing inquiry from one or more men, you received your injuries in combat.  Your opponents can be members of the other team’s fans, the car, a chainsaw or a swarm of angry insects.  If however, you know that the listener is a fellow wet-shaver, you can simply tell them the truth.  Trust me, they will not laugh at your – except perhaps in sympathy.
After the first several shaves, something remarkable will happen.  You will find yourself bleeding less.  More than likely, you skin will have also improved in both texture and clarity.  Your skin is being conditioned to daily exfoliation by cold, hard steel.
How do you know when your razor is dull?  That may be a tough question to answer for the fledgling wet shaver.  Why?  Because “sharp” is all relative.  A razor that you have dulled by shaving is still sharper than the sharpest kitchen knife.  A dull straight razor can cut paper like butter.  A dull razor can, and is actually more likely to cut your face than a sharp razor.  But wait, you say, how can a dull razor be more hazardous than a sharp one?  The reason is that a properly sharp razor when used at the proper angle on your face will easily cut THROUGH your facial hair.  A dull razor is more likely to CATCH on your hair rather than slice through it.  The result is either a tiny lateral (side to side) movement of the razor on your skin, or the tendency of the razor to “dive” into your skin – either can produce an impressive wound.  After some time using the razor, you will get a sense in your first stroke or two if the razor is dull.  If it is just a bit dull, it’s time to break out your trusty barbers hone.  Stropping doesn’t actually sharpen your razor but rather removes the harsh edge left by honing and use.  The barbers hone (also known as a touch up hone) is designed to refresh the edge of a razor that has become dull with use.

So get cutting and look for more postings!

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