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Guderian 27th June 2014 11:22

Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
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...Or blast from the past in/on your face.
Or of life's close shaves.
Or scraping the bottom - of the barrel.
Or Gabbar's annoyance.

Call this piece by any title.

For long - not sure how long, may be ever since those pesky, plasticky razors have come into existence (since the late 80s - so about 30 odd years) one has lead an existence with a morning ritual involving those rather irritating pieces of plastic. And today they look like these along with the attendant new age conveniences. A foam can, a gel can and a can of what not of these new fangled stuff !
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And this has quite a few features (in vehicle speak).
5 scrapers in the front.
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1 scraper at the rear.
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Life was fairly good and running along on an even keel for about 30+ years in a kingdom of all things plasticky and conveniency. Till couple of weeks ago - when I read a long write up in a mag on how the scraping of ones face using a brush and old time razor was the best for the skin and to get a real close scrape.
And that set me thinking. Well, why not ? It would give me such a retro feeling and a great walk into the past.

And so began the hunt for the various components of the retro experience. And mind you it wasn't easy.

Getting these items was easy.
Hello ! Long time no see.
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And then the elusive hunt for the scraper edge. Searched in quite a few shops but the standard reply, with a strange look accompanying it - "Ab aajkal ye sab kaun istemal karta hai boss ?" Finally went to a nearby Hypercity and lo and behold the holy grail.
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(Note the date on the packing. How long will these scrapers continue to be available ?!!)

And then finally the scraper holder. The old timers called it a Razor.
What came to my mind was something from my hoary past. Something that I last used in UG college. Something that was gifted way back in 1980 by my elder brother - a naval officer after one of his numerous sailing expeditions overseas. And something that was lying around and sort of forgotten. A nearly 35 year old keepsake.
Even the original box was preserved. Had a wonderful musty smell.
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Instructions on the back.
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Finally the treasure chest opened and viewed.
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The original set of blades that came with the kit was never opened - wanted to preserve it then and wanted to do so even now - lies under the handle.
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Even found the cover of an old blade, the last one used before giving up using the razor - preserved for the sake of history !
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Some views - Exteriors, Interiors and controls (!):

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And last Sunday was decided as the date for the re- test drive.
The razor was boiled for 20 minutes (35 years of disuse you see) and then began the drive.
No, I am not going to describe the process of scraping which all of us are aware of.

And now...

What you'll like:

- Fabulous grip and the feeling of something substantial in your hand.
- The steering was spot on. Very precise. Unlike the vague feel of the plasticky stuff.
- The blade adjustment feature is great and you can chose the adjustment that suits you the best. It has 9 settings in all.
- Thanks to the brushing (helps lift the hair easing the process of slaughtering it) the scraping left the face with a very close shave.
- Smooth skin post event.

What you'll dislike:

- The suspension is very hard especially round the bends (errr...chin) and requires skill.
- The razor is rather unforgiving (think MIG -21) and the smallest of errors can give you a nasty nick. By the end of the drive my face did look like the landing beaches of Normandy on the evening of June 6, 1944.
- Requires a lot of skill.
- Requires time to complete the task.

Not very sure about:
- Mileage the blade would give. May be a week or so.
- Overall cost of maintenace - brush, cream, baldes etc vis a vis the new fangled stuff.

And then came the time to slap on the after shave. My yell could be heard for miles. The good lady of the house confirmed it. As did the comely lass three floors below.

But after everything was said and done - overall the skin, I thought, was fabulous - much smoother and softer. And the feeling - delightful. A real retro feel of the 70s.
Will I continue using it ? Maybe whenever I have the time and shall improve my skill of driving it. And use it just for the great, great feeling.

And the best discovery last Sunday ? This card preserved all these years along with the case - written 35 years ago.
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Reporting back sir - that the item is well preserved and will be with me forever and is being used now and then - even to this day sir ! Aye aye sir - all the instructions have been followed sir.

And so au revoir my faithful old friend till we meet again - one of these Sundays !
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Wait...wait ! What's that about Gabbar I said you ask ?

Well the plasticky Gillette thing went back to its lair, all woe begone, after the battle with the Gillette Steel obviously feeling defeated by an old timer. And there ran into Gabbar who asked - Kitne aadmi the ?
Plasticky - Sardar ek.
G - Aur tum che. Panch aage aur ek peeche. Dhikkar hai...etc.
Only thing this time Gabbar didn't have to unload & throw away three bullets.

Adios !

latentpotential 27th June 2014 11:40

re: Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
In your new daily battles, you will find that the quality of the blade matters most. The razor just contributes to the feel of the steel.

Over time you will learn how long the blades last for you, so that you change them right as soon as they start to dull up, else you will face nicks and cuts, that will need taping as seen earlier in many Tom & Jerry episodes.

I have a 40 odd year old adjustable Gillette myself, but I use it randomly now (weekends mainly), since a Philips Philishave triple head, triple blade rotary system, wet and dry compatible, is my primary morning guest for now, since it is just faster, although the Gillette has a much closer shave.

Edit: Can see the pics now, guess they were just uploaded. Plus, check the value of your razor. Some of the older ones command up to 4 digits on ebay.com depending on rarity.

Samurai 27th June 2014 11:44

re: Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
OMG, this is the exact razor I inherited from my dad in the mid 80s when I first shaved. That was a neat piece of equipment.

And I agree we have lost the ability to use single blade system after moving to triple blade and above. Few years back I bought a single blade disposable razor in a hurry during a trip. After the shave, my face did look like Omaha beach on D-day.

saket77 27th June 2014 11:50

re: Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
Very candid and nice write up. I was consistently smiling reading the entire post of yours!
I started the holy wars around 2003. For the last 6-7 years, I have satisfactorily settled with a Mach 3 for daily use and Philips shaver for occasional..well, as you say scrappings.
Just that I make it a point to follow each shave with a splash of moisturizer massage and that helps keep the skin very smooth & soft.

Thumping Soul 27th June 2014 12:15

re: Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
I was grinning all the while reading your post. Reminds me of Sept'1999. I was in my Xth standard and it was my b'day. My dad gifted me a similar razor kit, Gillete Razor & his fav Topaz blades. Used it until I entered my college and then by the time i was in my 2nd year the razor set was replaced with a Mach3. Though I still continue to use the shaving brush & park avenue shaving cream, never liked the foam thing.

Now this is my task for the weekend, hunt out the old razor set & put it to use.

theexperthand 27th June 2014 12:16

re: Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
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@Guderian: Kindling those old memories, aren't we? But how can you forget the venerable old warrior - the Godrej round shaving soap? :)

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Pic Courtesy: Google image search.

My Grand dad and dad had this exact same razor and I remember all those blade covers - Wilkinson sword, 7Oclock, Gillette etc. There also used to be a plastic cartridge which can hold 5 or 10 blades. I used to pester him for old cartridges to play with.

Here at this part of Bangalore, it is still easy to find a new razor and single blades - have been using them as my regular shave till last November but moved again to Mach3. But still I use the shaving brush and the round Godrej shaving soap daily.

--Anoop

comfortablynumb 27th June 2014 12:19

re: Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Guderian (Post 3464827)
...Or blast from the past in/on your face.
Or of life's close shaves.
Or scraping the bottom - of the barrel.
Or Gabbar's annoyance....Adios !

Good one HG!

This piece of equipment is called a Safety Razor :D. As I've been using it ever since I started shaving 20 years ago (have never used the double and above plastic blades), I concur with everything you've written, except the "requires time" part. It's just a matter of habit; once you get used to it, you will never go back to razors with the new fangled double, triple, quadruple blades.

Another trick to a smooth shave with a safety razor is to take a few drops of "Parachute Nariyal Tel", spread it on your palms and rub your stubble it vigorously with it. Repeat with water, and then start the actual shave with brush, razor and blade.

Enjoy maadi!

Cheers,
Vikram

IshaanIan 27th June 2014 13:18

re: Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
In the pursuit of a more pleasurable shave, do check out the Tweezerman Badger Hair Brush. There is a noticeable difference and now I cannot use the normal brushes anymore after using Badger brushes ever since my Father introduced me to them 2 years ago. :)

Samurai 27th June 2014 14:38

re: Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
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Hair from this guy? Watch out for PETA!

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Red Liner 27th June 2014 16:48

re: Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
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Well, I moved from Mach3/4/5/10 to the Single blades/DE razor kit just mid of last year and now I shave every morning! What a great shave! Lovely ritual of mindfulness after a hot shower with music in the background. Totally enjoy the time.

This is the kit I use:
1. Merkur DE Razor - Short - the weight makes a MASSIVE difference to the shave. And this is quite tiny and handy to go traveling with as well. Fits well into the palm of my hands. Took a while to get used to considering the moderns all come with long handles.
2. Gillette Safety razors 7'o clock grey's - a blade lasts me a week.
3. Bodyshop's cruelty free shaving brush - lovely brush - reviews say these almost stack up the expensive badger brushes.
4. Biotique shaving cream (really super!) and totally organic!

No aftershave! Don't like them chemicals on my skin. All cuts heal naturally.

And the trick is to have a super hot shower first and really soften your face up. I get to about 3 passes on my face to have a BBS shave (baby butt smooth).

My first shave - yeah, I lost quite a bit of blood. But with practice and a lot of dedication - now am never going back to the moderns.

This is what a BBS makes you look like btw.

one-77 27th June 2014 18:59

re: Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
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Thank you, Guderian, for this nice thread.

I have faint memories of my father using these long ago.
He gave them up for the modern plasticky convenience some twenty years ago. And by the time I started shaving - a little over ten years back - Gillette Mach Three has pushed these into oblivion.
Until I came across a blog by a British gentleman some years ago called StyleEssentials (it's gone now, sadly). These have been on the back of my mind since. (As have been several other things on that blog - Church shoes, for instance).
And then James Bond used one of 'em cut-throat razors in Skyfall, and I instantly wanted one.
Time to go scouting for these, I think. A cut-throat razor complete with shaving soap that comes in a bowl. :D

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deepakr82 27th June 2014 21:41

re: Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
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Nice thread!

I for one never took up the razor with twin blades, triple blades, quadruple blades etc. The old fashioned razor with the 7 O'Clock platinum blade has served me well and Yes, the article is right indeed, it gives you the best shave.

And if you are worried about getting a cut, then you need to pick one of these. I have been using this razor n stick combo for around 10-12 years now and it works just fine and you are less prone to cuts which are common with the metal razor.

GrammarNazi 27th June 2014 23:39

re: Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
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Hi Guderian, this Gilette Adjustable is the exact razor my dad still uses almost every other day! Its 35years old but it comes to my rescue atleast once a week!

Maybe we'll keep it clean & preserved now on, someday years from now it'd make a decent piece of history! Just like my dad shows me LP's & his old German made study-table sized radio' now!

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motorpsycho 28th June 2014 00:13

re: Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Guderian (Post 3464827)
For long - not sure how long, may be ever since those pesky, plasticky razors have come into existence (since the late 80s - so about 30 odd years) one has lead an existence with a morning ritual involving those rather irritating pieces of plastic. And today they look like these along with the attendant new age conveniences. A foam can, a gel can and a can of what not of these new fangled stuff !
Attachment 1254966
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Adios !


Believe it or not I look forward to my daily shave everyday!

My Arsenal includes-

2 Gillette DE sets - One is a Rocket HD, the one with butterfly opening on top and the other is a much older 3 piece one

1 Local made Shavette , which I use everyday. It's a little difficult to master , takes time to shave but the process is almost meditative ,I have to concentrate on what I am doing so as to not nick my self and the nicks are nasty.

Shaving Cream- Park Avenue Classic Coconut oil and Biotique Plamyra Shaving cream

After Shave is Biotique wild grass

And a Gillette Guard when I am running short of time.

Brush- Palmolive


Quote:

Originally Posted by one-77 (Post 3465226)
And then James Bond used one of 'em cut-throat razors in Skyfall, and I instantly wanted one.
Time to go scouting for these, I think. A cut-throat razor complete with shaving soap that comes in a bowl. :D


That is a nice looking Shavette.


My Wish list-

A Solingen Straight Razor , long way away from owning one with prices starting at 200$ +

Parker SR1 Shavette -this is an Indian company , but they do not retail in India, looking to get one picked up from the USA ,will be "shaving" off quite a bit off the shipping cost.

A Kamisori- Japanese Straight razor

A badger brush -any make.



There are distinct advantages wet shaving with a DE/ Shavette/Straight Razor.The way a Mach 3 cuts is a lot different on how a DE cuts.

To explain the difference I'll post pics of beard hair after using a Mach 3 and a DE some time.

honeybee 28th June 2014 01:46

re: Life on a Razor Edge...Shaving the retro way
 
Topaz.

They said it cut more of your skin than hair.

My brother cut his fingers the first time he tried to shave. How? Well, it was the way he held the razor by the blade and not the handle.

Once in college I tried to trim my moustache, only to find a considerable amount had been nicked. So I trimmed it from the other side and wore a Charlie Chaplin look for a month.

And the round cases of my father's shaving cream were a treasured item which we used to keep our wet sponges in, when we used slates in school. I still remember those red cases with white lids.


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