Wet Shaving 101

23 Feb

From UF Digital Collections

Welcome to Wet-shaving 101!   In the following articles we will introduce you to the method of wet-shaving; an eco-friendly, tried and true method of shaving that has been around for over 150 years.  Wet-shaving is seeing a great revival because of it’s simplicity, earth friendliness, and renown for better care of the male face.  The wet-shaving method can be lathered up in three simple steps: Prepare, Shave, and Defend.

Step One: Prepare.

Preparation (from here on we’ll call it “Prep”) is about getting your hair ready to shave.  This is by far the most important part of manly ritual of shaving, and can really make or break a good shave.  The key ingredient here is hot water.  I mean we are talking about wet-shaving after all.

Hot water softens the outer protective layer of the hair, called the cuticle.  The cuticle is made of keratin fibers which when exposed to hot water, will begin to soften and expand revealing breaks in those fibers.  This, gentlemen, is where the rubber meets the road.  Once open, the water will seep into the inner part of the hair softening both the inner core, and the outer cuticle layer of the hair.  This action make the hair soft, and much more easy to cut.  Guys, dry human hair has the same hardness as copper wire at the same diameter! That’s tough stuff, so to help make your shave a more pleasant Prep with hot water.

But how do we do that?

Two easy methods will help Prep your hair for shaving:

  1. The easiest and most common method is to take a hot shower. All the water and steam as you bathe will take action and leave you ready to start your shave.  This is most convenient for the guy on the go.
  2. The second method of Prep, a hot towel soak, is a little bit more time intensive but will be more luxurious and rewarding. Take a large hand towel and soak it in water that is as hot as you can stand.  Wring just enough water out to keep it from dripping all over and wrap your face with it.  Leave the towel on for approximately two minutes.  This will allow enough time for the heat and moisture to have an effect on the hairs.  Remove the towel and then shave.  For an even more beneficial hot towel soak, repeat the process a second time but lather up before placing the towel on again.  The soap will help break down the hair cuticle even more for softer hair.

Including one of these methods of Prep in your daily routine will greatly improve your shave. Proper Prep reduces the discomfort some men find in shaving, as well as gives all men a smoother shave, with less irritated skin.  In following articles we will talk about the two remaining steps: The Shave and Defend.

Until next time- Happy Shaving!


1 Comment

Posted by on February 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


One response to “Wet Shaving 101

  1. Austin L. Church

    March 1, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Aaron, thank you for your concise yet thorough introduction to wet shaving. As you well know, I switched to a double-bladed vintage Gilette about six weeks ago, and within a couple of weeks, I began to see results, e.g. less irritation. Don’t even get me started on the money that I’ve saved by saying good-bye to cartridges. And it’s eco-friendly! Razor blades are recyclable. Our fathers and grandfathers were onto something.


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