A Beginner’s Guide to Shaving: Wet vs. Dry Shaving

Shaving is a regular activity performed by nearly every adult that wants to control the length of their body hair. Shaving is performed either wet or dry. Wet shaving involves warm water, a razor blade of some type, and commonly a shaving cream. Dry shaving is almost entirely performed with an electric razor. It’s possible to dry shave with a standard razor, but it would be very slow and painful. There is also the option of combining both wet and dry shaving for different areas of the body, or for attaining certain results.

There are many different styles of wet shaving that have evolved over the years. Originally, people used razor-sharp stones, like obsidian, to shave. Eventually, people were able to craft sharpened metal to get the job done. These blades continually got smaller and sharper allowing for more detailed and comfortable shaving. We now have countless options for razor blades. They come in disposable packs. They have multiple stacked blades, angled handles, pivoting heads, and soothing gel strips. These contemporary designs allow for a quicker and smoother shave.

Shaving liquids have also taken great strides in development. Water was obviously the first shaving liquid. It works better than just a dry razor, but it’s still not great. Soap was eventually added to the process, but soap can clog the pores in the skin. It was still much better than straight water, so any minor skin irritation was worth the benefits of soap. Shaving cream adds an additional layer of protection and comfort. It’s very similar to soap when shaving, but it’s much more effective. A good shaving cream will enhance your skin’s health. It usually doesn’t leave a residue like soap, and the shaving cream’s scent is more subtle than soap. It was the norm for many years, but other products began to outshine shaving cream. Shaving cream lathers into countless tiny bubbles compared to shaving lotions that cover the entire surface with a slick sheen. The bubbles are still mostly air, so a shaving lotion has much better coverage. This leads to a closer and smoother shave.

Once you’ve decided on a style of blade and shaving lotion then you can shave. Some people shave in the shower or bath, and some people shave in front of their bathroom mirror. I prefer the latter. I believe that the mirror adds more control to the process. There are three main ways to use water at the bathroom sink. Some fill the basin with hot water and then drain it when they’re done. Some just turn the water on for a small moment of time throughout shaving, and some people just leave the water running the entire time. This choice depends entirely on how much water you mind wasting. Wet your face with warm water and then generously apply the shaving cream or lotion. It’s best to do this part with your non-dominant hand so that you have your dominant hand free to use the razor. Now, going with the grain of your hair, use the razor to gently “scrape” off the hair. A few short strokes will fill the razor with lather and hair. Rinse off the razor and continue your work. It will take practice to avoid nicks and cuts, but you’ll eventually be able to shave safely in just a few minutes. Afterward, you can thoroughly clean yourself off with a damp rag or just jump into the shower.

Dry shaving with an electric razor is the other major option. These electric razors are quick, easy, and portable. They don’t usually cut as close as a standard razor, but that can have some benefits of its own. A shorter cut leads to fewer ingrown hairs, fewer cuts, and less razor burn. Since electric razors don’t require water, they are very versatile. Some people leave an electric razor in their car or desk at work. It’s very convenient to be able to shave at any moment with little to no cleanup. Most models have a hair collection reservoir that needs to be regularly emptied, but that’s the only necessary maintenance other than charging the battery.

The electric dry shaver can also be used in conjunction with a wet shave. It’s common to find a hair or small patch of stubble that was missed during the wet shave. Rather than starting from scratch and getting all wet again, an electric razor can quickly fix the problem with a single swipe. There are also areas on the body that are contoured and difficult for a straight razor to safely shave. Around the mouth and just under the nose are delicate areas that some people prefer to shave with an electric razor. Even a small nick in this area can get blood everywhere, and it’ll be painful for the better part of the day.

Wet and dry shaving each have their own supporters. It comes down to personal preference. Some prefer the ritual and depth of a wet shave, while others prefer the speed and convenience of the dry shave. A solid electric razor can cost a couple hundred bucks and they’ll last for years, while wet shaving requires regularly replacing the blades and lotions. Everyone eventually settles into their own routine after some trial and error. You’ll find what shaving style works best for you, and then you’ll continue down that road for the rest of your days.

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