Shaving Soap and Brush: Home

Classic shaving, where the traditional shaving soap and brush and double-edge safety razors (or even straight razors) are used and which once was the only way to shave, is now mostly done by "wet-shaving enthusiasts."

Recently, soap-and-brush shaving is making a small come-back. That's not to say it will ever hold the place it once did, but there is a growing cult following of the practice. Why? There are a variety of reasons why people take up traditional shaving; they may believe one or more of the following ideas:

  1. it gets you a closer shave,
  2. it reduces shaving irritations,
  3. it saves money, or that
  4. it's good for the environment.

I'm not actually claiming that shaving with soap and brush will accomplish any of those things. I'm not saying it won't either. I'm just sharing my experiences with traditional shaving methods and products here.

Does Traditional Shaving Get You a Closer Shave?

I think a lot of people come to traditional shaving hoping to get that "perfect shave." As if using an old-fashioned double-edge safety razor (or a straight razor), shaving soap, and shaving brush would somehow mystically grant a man a super close shave. I've been dabbling in traditional shaving techniques for a while now. I've used a shaving soap and brush as well as a double-edge safety razor. Did I get a super close shave?

Well, at first, I stopped using my shaving cream and started using the shaving soap and brush, but I continued using my cheap, plastic, disposable two-bladed Schick razor, which I get in a bag of 12 for like $5 or something. The shaving soap and brush, by themselves, did not seem to give me a closer shave. Supposedly, a shaving brush raises your beard stubble and the lather holds the stubble in the raised position allowing you to get a closer shave, but, honestly, I couldn't tell any difference except that using shaving soap and a shaving brush is a lot of extra work. Fun and interesting work, but work nonetheless. Later, I bought a cheap double-edge safety razor, which cost me less than $10. And I bought a box of 100 Derby double-edge razor blades...also for less than $10. Did the double-edge safety razor give me some magically close shave? No. But it did take several shaves to get used to using it.

One thing I did learn, and it gave me a better shave, was to shave more than once and use a light touch each time. So, you reduce the beard a little on the first pass and a little more on the second. This is called multi-pass shaving. Myself, I do three passes on my face and two passes on my neck. I found multi-pass shaving to give me a more comfortable shave and, perhaps, a slightly closer shave...regardless of whether I was using the cheap disposable razor or the old-fashioned double-edge safety razor.

Does Traditional Shaving Reduce Skin Irritations?

Some people turn to using shaving soap and brush and double-edge safety razors (or straight razors) in an effort to reduce shaving irritations like shaving bumps, ingrown hairs, razor burn, and the like. Does it work? Possibly. Maybe not at all. Maybe a little bit. Maybe a good bit. It depends on your skin, your skill with the shaving tools, and many other variables. You'll have to experiment and see. I never had a real problem with shaving irritations except slightly and only in a few areas on my neck. I didn't get into all this to stop shaving irritations. I got into this to be able to authoritatively review traditional shaving products. Period. I wanted first-hand experience. A lot of people online indicate that using a double-edge safety razor can make shaving bumps go away. I don't know if it can or not. But, what I do think I noticed was that using moisturizer before and after my shaves helped prevent the really mild irritations and redness and occasional bump I'd get on my neck from shaving. The most important things that helped my shave become more comfortable (and possibly slightly closer) were:
  • shaving right after a shower,
  • applying a nice skin moisturizer liberally to my face and neck a few minutes before shaving,
  • using a much lighter touch on the razor, which means it doesn't cut the hair as closely. But that's okay because of the next thing...
  • using the multi-pass shaving technique (basically shaving more than once and shaving in a different direction each time),
  • shaving only with my beard's grain in more sensitive areas (or as close to the same direction of my beard's grain as I can), and
  • applying the moisturizer after the shave.
I'd say that being aware of my beard's grain and whether I was shaving with it, across it, or against it was one of the most helpful things I've found. But, ultimately, I can't speak authoritatively on this subject because I didn't have a real problem with skin irritations prior to trying out traditional shaving with a soap and brush and safety razor. Sorry.

Does Traditional Shaving Save Money?

Well, it can, but not necessarily.

Saving Money on Razors. If you currently use expensive cartridge-type razors and change your cartridge every week, then you will probably realize significant savings by switching to a cheap double-edge safety razor and buying 100 razor blades for cheap (almost a 2-year supply if you change the blade once a week), then, yes. You can save quite a bit on razors. However, if you are currently using the cheapest disposable plastic razors you can find and you use each one for a month, then I don't think you will see significant savings—at least not as far as razors are concerned.

Saving Money on Shaving Cream / Gel. If you currently use some horribly overpriced shaving cream or gel, then you can save some money if you start using a cheap shaving soap or cream, a cheap boar's hair or synthetic shaving brush, and a cheap skin moisturizer (for before and after shaving). However, if you experiment with lots of different popular shaving soap brands (like I do) and buy expensive pre-shave oils and after-shave lotions and get the highest quality badger hair brush you can find and the most expensive shaving bowl and stand and whatnot, it can end up being horribly expensive. (Which is not a problem if you have a lot of disposable income and enjoy blowing it on stuff like that. I would love to do it if I had a lot of disposable income.)

Does Traditional Shaving Help the Environment?

I'm not a tree-hugger type of person by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't mind reducing negative impacts where I can. And old-fashioned shaving-soap-and-brush shaving may actually do that—mostly by reducing (very slightly) the amount of waste a single shaving male produces. Shaving soaps usually come in a small cardboard box and last several months to a year. So, it's a few really small boxes per year as opposed to a few metal shaving cream cans per year. If you also use the double-edge safety razor, you only replace the blade (not the whole thing and not even a cartridge...just a single, very thin blade). So, overall, traditional shaving is slightly less harmful to the environment when compared to modern shaving, but you're not going to save the planet by switching to a DE razor with shaving soap and brush.

This website—Shaving Soap and Brush—is dedicated to classic shaving topics but with a focus on shaving soap and brushes. I hope the articles are least somewhat informative and helpful.

Shaving Soap and Brush Store

I have set up a shaving soap and brush store that is powered by Amazon.com. So, if you purchase any shaving soap and brushes or creams or mugs or whatever via my "store," you're really buying them from Amazon.com or their vendors. The final checkout will actually occur at Amazon.com. You are not buying anything from me. However, I do make commissions on everything bought from the store—so buy away! The prices are the same whether you buy from the store here or from Amazon.com directly.

Amazon Search Widget

Use the widget below to search Amazon.com. The search phrase is preset to shaving soap and brush, but you can search for whatever you like.