while growing up, I have seen my father shave with such focus and dedication. Absolutely, enjoying the whole ritual of shaving. Wet shaving requires skills and Indian dads were skillful with tools and blades.
It is a common sight in India to see men practicing wet shaving. Even, roadside salons in India still offer wet shaving.
We have childhood memories of playing with our fathers shaving kits. The small box had tools and accessories like shaving blades, brush, shaving cream and the ever popular safety razor or the straight razor.
And not to forget the old Burnol or Boroline and Alum block known as fitkari used for minor cuts. In fact, shaving was and is like grooming ritual for Indian men.
In this article, we will discuss how to shave like an Indian dad. The guide will help new leaners to learn about the technique of moving the blade across the face, learn about the shaving tools kit, and the before/ after protocols for rejuvenating the face skin.
You will learn the following from this guide:
# Wet Shaving vs Dry Shaving
# Tools Required for Wet Shaving
# Procedure to Follow for Wet Shaving
How to shave like an Indian Dad
With the arrival of electric shavers, Shaving has lost all its glory. Modern Men has no time for the unnecessary hassle to look smart.
However, an average man has to shave two to three times a week that is approximately 3000 hours of his life. The figure makes it important to learn and master the skill of shaving properly.
Whether you are shaving or trimming your beard; learning the skill will help you to get ahead in both your professional and personal life.
The heart of the male grooming process is shaving. So, to master the skill of shaving, we have to go back to the golden age of razors. Our grandfathers took pride in shaving as a practice of meditation.
The complete focus on the task in hand, made shaving a ritual for learning mindfulness. In fact, the first task on the to-do-list for most of our grandfathers was wet shaving.
Leave that quick technique of dry shaving using electric shavers and learn the old fashioned way of clean and close shaving technique known as wet shaving. To learn wet shaving we have to learn other forms of shaving like dry shaving.
Wet Shaving vs. Dry Shaving
The question of whether to go for wet shaving or dry shaving comes down to personal preference. It also depends on individual expectations like speed and shaving habits.
In fact, the fundament difference between dry shaving and wet shaving is how the hair is cut. In dry shaving the electric shavers cut the hair just above the surface of the skin. The movement of two blades in electric shavers cut the hair like scissors.
Whereas, in wet shaving, the razor blades used in wet shaving cuts the hair just below the surface of the skin. With a single stroke of the blade the hair is removed from the surface of the skin.
In simple definition, dry shaving is a shaving technique that doesn’t require water and other required products like a shaving gel or a cream. Electric shavers are mostly used to perform dry shaving, as they are designed to cut the hair just above the skin.
Most dry shaving tools like beard trimmers and electric shavers doesn’t require lubricants or water. In fact, they are popular with young men who prefer a quick and comfortable shave.
Pros and Cons of Dry Shaving
Speed: The biggest benefit of dry shaving is speed. You just have to charge it and you are ready to use it without any other additional products like shaving brush, cream etc.
Convenience: It is quicker, easier and hassle free. You can take it with you when you are travelling. No doubt, electric shavers are used by men on the go.
Less Irritation: Electric shavers and trimmers cut the hair about the surface of the skin which causes less irritation. Even though your skin will not be as smooth as you get in wet shaving; your skin will feel comfortable.
Versatility: Dry shaving tools are versatile. Electric shavers are designed to be multi-purpose grooming tools. Many new models come with adjustable technologies which can trim your beard to variable length.
Less smoothness: They cut the hair above the surface of the skin, so it is hard to get the closest shave that you can get with a wet shaving technique.
Maintenance: Dry shaving tools require regular maintenance. You have to clean every part after use. You have to charge it regularly to keep it in good condition.
Price: Electric shavers require initial investment but if you compare to cartridge razor it can be inexpensive in the long run. Cartridge razors need to be replaced after few uses. If it is properly maintained, then it will be cost effective in the long run.
Wet shaving can be defined as a way of completely removing your facial hair using water as a base. It doesn’t mean you only need water and it will work like a hair removing cream.
Of course, you need other tools like razor, shaving brush and some form of shaving cream or soap. You have to lather up the surface of your face so that the facial hair stands away from the skin for a closer cut.
There are different types of razors that are used in wet shaving like straight razors, safety razors and cartridge razors.
There are two types of wet shaving: Traditional wet shaving and Non- traditional wet shaving. We will describe both the methods in brief.
Traditional Wet Shaving: Traditional wet shaving is how our grandfathers used to shave back in the day. It requires water, shaving brush, Shaving soap or cream, a straight or a safety razor and after shave products.
Traditional wet shaving is cheaper than non-traditional wet shaving that use cartridge razors and other foam based shaving rituals.
Non- Traditional Wet Shaving: Non-traditional wet shaving basically uses modern tools and products. A safety/ straight razor is replaced by a disposable cartridge razors and shaving soaps and creams are replaced by shaving gels. They are easy to master and they are safer when you need a quick shave.
Pros and Cons of Wet Shaving
A Closer Shave: Wet shaving produces a closer shave than dry shaving as it cuts the hair below the surface of the facial skin. It makes the skin smooth and the hair takes longer time to grow back.
The skin must be properly lubricated or moisturized as the razor blade can have abrasive effect on the skin causing dry ness and irritation.
Shaving Experience: Going through the routine of wet shaving is quite an experience. Preparing the tools, using water, shaving cream and shaving brush for creating a superiors lather.
Precisely moving the razor blade across the face feels more masculine than dry shaving. Wet shaving is like a meditation technique where you are present at the moment of time.
Exfoliation: Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells form the outer most surface of the skin. Wet shaving removes the top layer of the dead skin cells exposing new smooth skin. You don’t need to spend extra money on facial scrubs to feel fresh and lively.
Reduce Impact on Environment: Wet shaving technique is environment friendly. The tools used in wet shaving are one time investment except for blades. Even the blades are degradable as they are made from stainless steel.
The products used in wet shaving can go for many days as compared to other non-traditional products like shaving gel or foam. Cartridge razors are non-biodegradable as most of the parts are made from plastic.
Electric shavers or trimmers should be charged before use. The carbon imprints of wet shaving techniques are much less than dry shaving techniques.
Price: Initial investment for wet shaving tools and products can be costly. You have to buy shaving brush, safety razors, blades, shaving creams and after shave lubricants or moisturizers. As compared to cartridge razors, safety razors blades are less expensive.
Nicks and Cuts: As your skin is exposed to blades; nicks, cuts and grazes are common to wet shaving. Even though cartridge razors have moveable heads, small cut are quiet common. If you have cuts then you can use alum blocks as they are natural antiseptics which heal the skin.
Irritation and Razor Burn: In wet shaving the blade comes in contact with the skin as it cuts the hair just below the surface of the skin. The abrasive nature of blades can cause irritation and razor burn to those who have sensitive skin. It is recommended to use Lubricants or moisturizers after shaving to heal the facial skin.
Tools Required for Wet Shaving
Indian dads had tools to achieve the perfect shave. Though, the shaving tools varied from region to region. The basic and fundamental tools were the same.
The shaving tools depended on technique, budget and location. We have mentioned the essential tools and products that were visible in our dads shaving kits.
What are the tools needed for the perfect shave
You need tools and products for getting the perfect shave. Although, wet shaving looks like a lot of work, the right tools can make the job easy.
1. Pre-Shave Products
Prepping you skin before shaving is important as it helps to soften the hair and skin to reduce razor burns. And if you have problematic skin, Pre shave oil and creams helps you to nourish and moisten the skin.
Razors are mechanical tools to help you get the perfect shave. Depending on your experience, a razor will guide you to the closest shave you can get. Razors are of two types.
3. Safety Razor
Safety razors are the better version of the straight razor. They have a protective frame placed between the edge of the blade and the skin.
Safety razors are made from metal to last longer. They are safer and better constructed which reduces the level of skill needed for injury free shaving.
Safety razors can be classified into two types: Double Edge and Single Edge.
4. Straight Razor
A straight razor has a metal frame and a pivoting handle. The blade can be folded into its handle. They are also known as open razors and cut-throat razors.
Straight razors can give you a close shave but you need to learn how to maneuver the blade. Otherwise you can cut yourself badly.
If you are using safety razors, then you will need blades. They cost very less as compared to cartridge razors. A single blade will go for more than ten shave if they are double edge.
On the other hand, a straight razor will last forever. They are one time investment. You have to sharpen it to keep it in shape.
6. Shaving Brush
A shaving brush is used to make lather from shaving cream or shaving soaps, so as to apply it on the face for shaving. They are important tool used in shaving. They hold water thereby producing richer lather.
Thicker lather translates to fewer razors skipping and dragging. There are many types of Shaving brushes like Boar’s hair shaving brushes, Badger’s hair shaving brushes, horse’s hair shaving brushes and synthetic shaving brushes.
7. Shaving Creams and Soaps
Shaving creams and soaps produce lather which is an important aspect for wet shaving. Lather provides lubrication and moistens your skin.
It produces mild exfoliation, which work as pre shave routine of washing and applying lotion to the face. It coats your face and protects your face while shaving.
Overall it softens your hair and skin which allows a close shave without irritation. In non-traditional wet shaving one can use a shaving gel or foam, apply it and start shaving.
Problem with shaving foam gel or cream
The problem with shaving foam gel or cream is the percentage of alcohol content. Alcohol products dry skin faster, instead of hydrating it. Moreover, canned foams and gel contains more air than the product.
They also cause more burning sensation after shaving. Glycerine based creams will hydrate the skin and improve the shaving experience. Shaving creams are a better option for Indian men who like being organized.
In traditional wet shaving, lather is directly built up on the face or a shaving bowl. Shaving creams produce thick lather which helps in getting the perfect shave. It also hydrates the beard by keeping the moisture, making it softer and easier to cut.
Moreover, it lubricates the skin by creating a thin layer of protection between the blade and the skin, minimizing the risks of razor burns and cuts. It also soothes and refreshes the skin after shaving.
8. After Shave Products
After shaves are no different than shaving creams or pre shave oil. Using a sharp object against your face can create irritation and cuts. You need products to soothe your skin. Products containing moisturizer will help to get relief from razor burns and cuts.
Make sure you don’t use products containing alcohol as it dries the skin. Shaving can be discomforting no matter how manly you are.
Shaving lubricants provide a layer of protection to minimize discomfort. In olden days, there were no shaving foams or gels. Shaving creams were the only option.
Procedure to Follow for Wet Shaving
Ok, you have all the material and products. You want to learn how your dad or grandpa learned the craft of wet shaving. By following the steps below one can get the closest shave.
1. Preparing the Materials
Prepare and get ready for the work ahead. You should check the sharpness of your straight razor. And if you are using a safety razor make sure the blades are replaced.
Try to get all the things in place like the alum/ fitkari, shaving soap or creams, pre-shave oils, after shave lubricants/moisturizer/lotion etc. Make sure the shaving brush is soaked in water as it will help with lathering the soap or cream.
Most important preparation is to feel your skin for any acne, bumps etc. Besides, our hairs grow in particular pattern, getting to know how it grows will prevent from cuts and post shave irritation.
2. Pre-Shave Rituals
Before shaving, try to wash your face with warm water. It helps to soften the skin and open pores. In fact, hot water helps to soften the facial hair, thereby making shaving less painful.
You can also use some pre shave oil to moisturize the skin. The razor blade will move smoothly over a well moisture surface.
3. Building Lather
Take a small amount of cream in a bowl, after that swirl the cream with your shaving brush to make lather.
Add little amounts of water and continue to swirl to mix the two elements together.
Make sure, the moisture is less in your shaving brush. Otherwise you will see bubbles that don’t go away. If the water is more, then it will dry faster making shaving harsher.
When the lather is ready, load it in the brush and apply the lather to your face. In contrast, Indian dads directly apply cream to their face and start swirling the shaving brush to make lather.
Though, the lather formation is light and shiny. It magically works for them. In case. You may be wondering why you need to lather up before shaving. Our facial hairs are tough and wiry.
They are hard to deal with. An on the other hand, the skin on your face is soft and thinner than other parts of the body. Cutting the copper wire like hairs without harming the skin needs tools, skills and a shaving cream.
4. Angle of The Safety Razor Blade
As your face is lathered for shaving, it’s time to use the razor blade against the skin. Soak your razor blade in some hot water, Shake it, and remove the excess water.
Using the mirror as a guide, Place the blade below the side burn. Hold the razors face flat against the face with the handle perpendicular to the face.
Slowly lower the razor handle until it is about 30 degree angles. You will start to feel facial hair cut by the blades. This is generally the shaving angle. Any more or less angle will results in cuts and burns.
5. The First Pass
You can start the shaving process. Run your fingers across your face to feel the direction in which your facial hair grows. The most followed way is to start form the side burns and then shave your way to your jawline.
Then you can pass on the mouth area and around it. You can stretch your skin in flexible areas such as the neck areas, as it will allow the sharp blades to glide smoothly.
For the moustache area, you can hold your nose up or pull your lips down. You can also roll your lips behind your teeth for shaving areas above the chin and below the nose.
Always follow the grain in your first pass with short and gentle strokes of the blade. Rinse you razor blades in intervals to removed excess lather and clogged cut hairs.
Don’t put extra pressure on the blades. Let the weight of the razor do the work. We should aim for maximum beard reduction in the first pass. For beginners, take your time. It is a kind of meditative process.
6. The Second Pass
Indian dads used to lather up their faces for the second pass. Feel your skin to see if you need a second pass. If you don’t, then there are chances you have pressed hard and you will start to feel some burning and irritation.
Wash your face will cold water and apply some moisturizer or cream to soothe the skin. In the second pass, follow the same procedure as the first pass by applying lather.
Start shaving with short and gentle strokes. You can also try to shave against the grain if you are confident enough. For beginners it is not recommended as shaving against the grain is risky and can harm the soft facial skin.
It’s not a rule to finish shaving on the second passes. You can repeat as many times to get the closest shave possible. You can do a third pass if you think it is necessary.
But remember, as the facial skin is sensitive, be gentle and don’t rush as you are using a sharp object.
7. Check for Loose Ends
After the second or the third pass inspect to see if you have missed any part of your face, Move your finger across the face to feel for stray hairs that can be missed by your naked eyes.
8. Rinse your Face
Once you have finished shaving (second or third pass), rinse your face with cold water, as it will close the pores. You can also use warm water as it is more comfortable.
Rinsing your face also removes any leftover lather from your face. Take time to look for any stray hairs that you have missed before applying after shave products.
9. Post Shaving Skin Care
Once you have finished shaving and rinsing your face, you have to take care of your facial skin so that it is properly nourished. Apply post shave cream or balm which has moisturizer to recharge the skins natural oils.
Check for any cuts or nicks you got while shaving. You can use astringent like alum block/fitkiri that has antiseptic properties. Alum blocks can soothe the skin and reduce bleeding if you have any cuts.
It also helps to clean and close the pores. It is better to apply astringents like alum block after moisturizer, as it will help to hydrate the skin for longer period of time.
You can also pat your skin dry to help close the pores. Use a soft towel to pat the skin as constant patting with hand can cause irritation.
10. Taking Care of Shaving Tools
After taking care of your facial skin, you should also take care of your shaving tools. Wash your safety razors, shaving brush, blades and other tools in running water.
High pressure from tap will remove stray hairs and lather that may have dried up. Dry the razor and blades with towel to remove moisture as it will rust the blades. Always keep the shaving tools in a place with low humidity.
Pro Tips for Wet Shaving
1. Use soft water, soften water creates more lather and moisten your beard.
2. Check your skin for pimples and ulcers before shaving.
3. Buy good quality stainless steel blades.
4. Be careful going against the grain, if you have sensitive facial skin.
5. If you are getting rid of your beard. Trim you beard first before using shaving blades.
6. Use straight razors with utmost care.
7. Use anti septic cream if you have cuts and nicks.
8. Use moisturizer after shaving to cool your facial skin.
If you have scrolled down up to the end, thanks for reading the guide. Traditional wet shaving is becoming the preferred choice for shaving. It is a mini meditation for men. And honestly, it is a part of your fathers or grandfathers legacy.
As Indian men, shaving is the first grooming ritual that is done in the start of a day. In fact, Indian dads have perfected the art of traditional wet shaving. Either you use a straight or safety razor; it can give you the closest shave that you can ever get.
I hope this guide has helped you take the life changing decision of practicing wet shaving.