Two months ago, I underwent a shaving conversion. It did not take long for me to get hooked on êShave products in particular and the larger wet shaving trend in particular. A few swipes of true quality creams with a good razor and a real badger-hair brush was all I needed to see the error of my previous methods. But after two months of shaving exclusively with êShave, I began to think that maybe I had been too harsh on my old shave-in-a-can. Barbasol had served me adequately before, so perhaps it deserved a second chance. Yesterday morning, being the scientifically minded young man that I am, I set out to test that hypothesis.
I began to question my commitment to êShave a week or two ago. I had gotten used to such a sustained level of excellence that I began to take it for granted. Plus, to research these blog posts, I had trolling message boards and product reviews that decried everything having to with pre-foamed cream: the texture, the consistency, the cost. I began to think that I had been swayed by what these nameless strangers were saying and not what I had experienced myself. Besides, I said to myself, Internet commenters are known for many things, especially poor facial hair. Why should I take their advice?
To add to my concerns, I have spent the better part of two months in the êShave offices, surrounded by ad copy (some of which I wrote) and employees extolling the virtue of the products they create. Had they indoctrinated me in some kind of They Live-subliminal advertising scenario? I had to be sure.
Of course, more had changed in the last several weeks than just what products I had used. êShave taught me all about the techniques I was doing wrong: for instance, there’s the whole deal what with the shaving after the shower, alternating hot and cold water, short strokes, yadda yadda yadda. In order to make the most scientific test possible—and because I didn’t want to completely shred my face—I decided to maintain the same techniques I had developed with êShave. This way, the only dependent variable is which product I use. And with that, I put to good use all of the science training I received in twelve years of school.
So after my shower, I reached to back of my medicine cabinet for the bottle of Barbasol I had used before my great awakening, and I even found an unused Bic disposable razor that I figured would be perfect for my needs. When I sprayed the foam in my hand, I remarked that the process was very fast. I guess if I was in a major hurry, I could understand opting for the pre-foamed shave, but it really only saves a couple seconds, and if you ask me, the foaming is the best part. There is just nothing that matches the classic feel of rubbing foam on your face with a shaving brush. Only smoking a cigar in a tuxedo and drinking scotch at work rank above it in terms of old-school swagger.
However, when it came time to actually start shaving, êShave proved its dominance. I could feel every nick and scratch of the cheap blade against my skin, and by the end, I had cut myself so much that I looked like one of Jason Voorhies’ prom dates. And to add insult to injury, the shave was not even that close. I could feel the stubble on my chin when I cleaned off my face, something that you don’t get with êShave. It would pass muster for a normal day, but if I was dressing to impress, like for a date or a job interview, I wouldn’t put my trust in the hands of a lackluster product.
But of course, this all pales in comparison to the true problem of the shave-in-a-can, the problem which êShave sought to eliminate altogether: irritation. Immediately after I finished shaving and began to rinse off with cold water, I felt the forgotten sting of dryness and razor burn, and the bottom of my chin got so red I looked like a lobster. It made me wonder how I got by before; I had put up with this kind of irritation before, but it always seemed like it just came with the territory. After just a short time of using êShave, I had become so used to pain-free shaving that I completely forgot there had been any pain to begin with.
Even after using some êShave After Shave Soother, the irritation remained, if slightly diminished. I could still feel some inflammation, but the cooling properties of the lotion relieved most of the pain and redness. However, for the rest of the day and even most of the next, my skill felt dry, tender, and even brittle, as if the shoddy razor and foam had taken off too much skin, and now there was only a small layer separating my muscles from the outside elements. It was bad, is what I’m trying to say, and I will definitely never try that again.
Overall, this entire experience just confirmed for me that making the switch from aerosol cans to real cream was the right decision. I no longer have irritation, and I’ve grown to expect nothing less from my shave.
I guess it’s true what they say: once you go wet, you never regret.
Or how about: once you go cream, you’re bound to switch teams.
Or maybe: once you ditch the can, you’ll feel like the man.
This is harder than it looks.