What’s more important in traditional shaving, the razor or the brush? For centuries, scholars the world over have been debating this very question. Well, that was a lie. But you may have wondered the same when trying to decide which shaving accoutrements to invest in.
And you may also be thinking surely the razor is more important. Well, yes, it’s true that without the razor there is no shave, and so in that respect the razor wins. But we’re talking here in terms of the quality of the shave; with a DE razor and shaving brush compared to a cartridge razor and no shaving brush.
Assuming that you have a razor and want to up your shaving game, but don’t necessarily want to fork out for a whole traditional shaving set straight away. What, then, should be top of your list?
The razor, obviously… right? Not necessarily.
Using a traditional razor is an acquired skill. As with nunchucks, it takes time, practice and patience to become proficient. And, while the razor is naturally the first thing that comes to mind when you think of shaving, it’s only part of the traditional shaving experience.
If you pick up a DE razor, wet your face a bit, smother on some shaving gel with your hand and hack away at your stubble then at best the shave will be mediocre, and at worst you’ll be in a world of shaving rash pain. And with the DE razor being the ambassador of traditional shaving you’ll likely abandon the concept, giving up all hope of a luxurious and super close shave.
A shaving brush can change everything. It’s an integral part of traditional shaving; preparation is the key to a successful, close and irritation-free shave. If you change absolutely nothing else in your shaving routine then, used properly, a decent brush alone will make all the difference. Used in conjunction with a traditional razor and quality soaps and creams, it will revolutionise your shave.
As well exfoliating the skin, the action of brushing stimulates and lifts the hairs, allowing the shaving cream to better coat each strand. This softens the hair, improves razor glide, and provides better access for the blade. Using a brush with a good shaving cream to whip up a lather in a bowl gives the best results. A rich, thick lather covers the hairs from root to tip, reduces drag and irritation, and gives a luxurious feel to further enhance the shaving experience.
Without a brush, applying shaving cream or gel by hand merely serves to matt the hairs down. The blade simply scrapes across poorly lubricated flattened hair, making it impossible to achieve a close shave, and razor burn will surely follow.
Traditional razors are shiny, look cool and are manly AF, but the shaving brush is right up there in terms of what it brings to the shave. It is definitely worthy of consideration for first place on the shopping list. Look after your brush well and it’ll last you for many years to come.
For more information about brushes, have a read of Shaving Brushes – what they do, how to choose one and how to look after it.