Today we are excited to have Jon Wogoman of The Bald Nation write a guest blog for us on the topic of head shaving. As a seasoned wet shaver and head shaver, Wogoman has been kind enough to share his expert technique with our readers – as well as his own journey to head shaving.
Without further ado, here is Part 1! Check back next week for Part 2, where Wogoman takes you step by step through a head shave.
Before I get started, I want to thank my gracious host, Royalshave.com, for giving me the opportunity to talk about head shaving with a safety razor, which is one of my favorite topics. I appreciate the generosity of Royal Shave and the honor is all mine.
A short history of safety razors and cartridge razors
Invented by a Frenchman in 1762, the first safety razor was a straight razor with a wooden sleeve as a guard. A new design of a small blade placed on top of a handle was introduced by the Kampfe brothers in 1875 and marketed as a safer solution to shaving compared to the straight razor. Around 1901, King Camp Gillette enlisted the help of William Nickerson to patent a new version of the safety razor and disposable blade. However, the blades they produced were good for only one shave.
Sometime in the 1960s, Wilkinson Firm started producing stainless steel blades that could be used multiple times and other brands soon followed, making wet shaving more affordable. At the same time, cartridge razors were introduced and many men switched to them, leaving safety razors behind.
I will admit that I still use a cartridge razor from time to time if I’m in a rush to get ready. That’s not my first choice, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. If I have a choice, I will always pick a safety razor. Safety razors cause less irritation and trauma to your skin.
More blades do not mean a better shave. Multi-blade cartridge razors put more pressure on the skin. Each blade presses on the skin, causing it to pull up between the blades, cutting the hair off at skin level. This causes the remaining follicle to rest underneath the surface of the skin, leading to ingrown hairs, irritation, and razor bumps.
A safety razor uses one double edge razor blade that cuts the hair off at skin level. One blade means less pressure on the skin and less chance of cuts or nicks.
Why safety razors?
I had always admired safety razors but was terrified to try them. I heard horror stories of shaving accidents involving safety razors that were enough to keep me away. The thought of shaving your heading with a safety razor was even scarier.
There is a bit of a learning curve with head shaving. No one has a perfectly shaped head. There are those who have a nicer shaped head compared to others, but even then, if you look closer, their heads are not perfectly even. Regardless of how even your head is, when you shave it, you are always shaving a round surface, which can prove to be very difficult.
Deciding to go bald
I used to have long, waist-length hair back in 1995. I used to think that a hair cut was a horrible thing, but secretly I was getting tired of taking care of my hair every day. It was a lot of work all the time. I had thought about cutting it many times, but always changed my mind because I was so used to having long hair and cutting it short seemed like a drastic change. I also didn’t want to cut my hair and still have to take care of it at the same time. I liked the bald look but was afraid to act on it because once you shave your head, there is no going back.
One hot and sunny summer day in 1996, my best friend bet me I would not shave my head and I immediately took the bet. I said to myself, it’s now or never. The rest is history. I immediately fell in love with the bald lifestyle and have been bald ever since.
Transitioning from face shaving to head shaving
A couple of years ago I decided to take the plunge and learn how to shave with a safety razor. It did take a lot of time and focus, but was well worth it. I decided that I was going to take my time and start with shaving my face first. I started by shaving my cheek, and once I felt comfortable with shaving one cheek I would move on to the other cheek. I focused on different sections until I could complete a total face shave. This process took a couple of months.
I then completed the same process on my head. I started with shaving one side of my head with the grain, then following suit on the other side. Next came the top of my head, shaving against the grain starting from the front and working my way to the very back. The hardest part for me was shaving the back of my head. The back took a lot of time to accomplish since it was hard to see what I was doing.
You can shave the back of your head by feel or do what I do: I stand with my back facing the mirror in the bathroom and hold another mirror in my hand to see what I’m doing. Either way works fine. Ultimately it’s about what works for you. Shaving with the grain was the easy part. Shaving against the grain was more difficult to learn because how your safety razor moves changes.
The process of head shaving with a safety razor took a long time for me to learn because I did not put a time frame on how long it would take. First and foremost, you should know that shaving your head with a safety razor is not a fast process. If you are not willing to take your time, then this style of shaving may not be for you. Wet shaving is very satisfying, and once you learn how to shave with the correct angles it feels good on your skin.
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