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Water wise shaving

Jaco Grobler

Last year Gauteng experienced water shortage problems and now the Western Cape is on a road to a disaster, this despite the fact that many responsible citizens have cut their consumption dramatically. The two metros are not the only areas where water scarcity threatens to disrupt the lives of millions of people and animals, it is fact that very few areas in our country can boast surplus, or even adequate water availability. This blog offers some tips on how to have a super shave and only use around 500 ml or less water at a time. This is our effort to assist Saffers in a small way to save water, but also to try and reintroduce a few men to classic old school shaving. This 'new' way of shaving is gaining momentum again and caters for those who prefer the finer things in life, cares for the environment, wants to save money, or simply wants to look bad-ass. The range of products is astronomical when compared to mainstream stuff, so get googling and be well prepared to start enjoying shaving once again.

First, some facts; too many men still shave prior to their shower, your beard needs about three minutes of humidity and heat for the stubble to soften to a comfortable shave, so shave after you have showered. With water scarcity some folk only shower for two minutes, half of which is under cold water as not to waste any water, some use a bucket or other means to wash, for people not priviliged enough to enjoy a 3 minute- or longer hot shower, I suggest the heated towel method described below, very old school and very, very nice! I have tried all sorts of oils and lotions applied directly to my face said to work well for a comfortable, water-less shave, but I have not found none to be acceptable, even after leaving it on my face for 5 minutes and longer, they simply don't soften up my beard. Additionally, I found cleaning the said lotion/oil off my hardware almost impossible without using copious amounts of hot water.

This method uses a safety razor or straight razor as both of them need not be rinsed during the shave, the safety razor is designed in such a way that all the lather passes through the bottom end of the razor as you shave, and you can do your entire face before rinsing your equipment. The straight razor is simply wiped on a cloth or towel next to you as you progress with your shave. Apart from being better, more durable tools, they are both environmentally friendly and way cooler than any of the mainstream stuff.

I also use a brush and shaving soap, as I love the process of getting my lather to the consistency I need. I like a thick lather when using a safety razor, and less so when using the straight. You will also need two bowls (only 1 if you are using the canned goop) and a towel, I found that both the micro fibre type and cotton worked well. 

My 'tools' are pictured above, with this you will need around 500 ml of water.

  1. Pour 200 ml of hot (I have used boiling straight from the kettle also) water into a bowl and place your razor and brush into it to heat up the blade and soften the bristles on the brush, the brush also absorbs water needed to create a good lather.
  2. Pour about 150-200 ml of tap water onto your towel, distributing it as good as possible over the entire surface, roll up the towel and give it a good couple of squeezes as to distribute the water throughout the towel to moisten any dry bits.
  3. Zap it into your microwave oven (I set mine for two minutes on high)
  4. Become a ninja. Try not to burn yourself, open the towel briefly before putting the hot towel on your face, I got this right first time I tried it, so should you. Make sure the towel is in contact with the entire area of skin you want to shave, and periodically press it lightly onto your skin and face profile  to make sure it hugs your face well.
  5. Chill for around 3 minutes with the towel in place.
  6. Remove towel and build up your lather with your brush by going to work on the soap in the bowl (give it a shake first to remove excess water), when using our soaps you should ideally work it until you get 'peaks' when pulling the brush from the base of the bowl. Play around with this step until you get the consistency you like.
  7. Apply lather to your face in circling motions or in any such manner to enable your stubble to stand up as much as possible.
  8. Shave your whiskers using a safety razor and only rinse the razor upon completion, apply lather again and do another pass if required. Remove razor from bowl and disassemble/dry if desired.
  9. If using a straight wipe it periodically on a towel next to you. Rinse and dry when done, you may also want to strop it on the linen side of your strop if you wish.
  10. Squeeze the excess lather from the brush back into bowl before giving it a final rinse, it will quicken up your lathering process the following shave and it makes for a very economical way of shaving. It also results in less water needed to rinse your brush, as most of the soap is now back in the bowl, and not left behind on your brush.                          
  11. Rinse your brush in your bowl and give it a good shake. Store appropriately to dry as quick as possible
  12. Wipe excess lather/soap/cream from your face using the wet towel used to soften your whiskers.
  13. Finish up with your favourite aftershave or this stuff, highly recommended by yours truly.
  14. Prepare for lots of love and affection.

 We have a competition running on our Facebook page to entise people to have cool shaves in cool places, if you want to win 10 days in Mozambique check out our Facebook page and get shaving and clicking!