Head Shaving with Safety Razors, Part 2: How to Shave Your Head

Welcome to Part 2 of Head Shaving with Safety Razors, featuring guest blogger Jon Wogoman of The Bald Nation! Last week Wogoman shared his journey into traditional shaving and head shaving. Today, he guides you through the complete process of shaving your head, with additional details on how to shave against the grain for those of you willing to try it. 

Enjoy!

What to expect

When you first start shaving your head, your skin will be extra sensitive to your razor and the outside elements because until now it’s been protected by your hair. The sensitivity level will be lower if you have been losing your hair and there isn’t a lot to shave off.

Some areas of your head may be tougher to shave than others, especially the little bumps and crevices of your scalp. In truth, being a good head shaver takes a lot of practice. You can read all the articles on head shaving you want, but practice is vital. Even with experience you will still sometimes get razor burn, cuts, and nicks – that’s just a part of shaving and always will be. However, the more experienced you are, the less likely you are to encounter irritation.

Angle, angle, angle. It’s all about the angle

I can’t stress enough the importance of angle. Angle is what can turn a great shave into a nightmare.

What is the correct angle to use when shaving your head with a safety razor? The area you are shaving will answer that question. A good starting point is always thirty degrees, and from there you can critique your angle as you see fit. Rest the razor flat against your skin and then lift the handle to thirty degrees. After doing this a couple of times you will be able to skip this step and start at the thirty degree mark.

The angle will change depending on what part of your head you are shaving. When I’m shaving, my angle is anywhere from fifteen to thirty degrees, depending on where I’m shaving and which safety razor I’m using for the night.

The process

The top

I always start at the top of my head with the razor at a thirty degree angle. Beginning at the hair line, I shave front to back against the grain in small, fluid strokes. After I complete the first pass I re-lather and shave again, keeping the same angle the whole time. Then I slowly run my first fingers over the top of my head and feel for parts I missed. I spot shave these areas and move on.

Where the top curves into the sides

Before I shave the sides of my head, I concentrate on the area where the top curves into the sides. This area takes a lot of focus because you’re shaving at a continuous angle of twenty to thirty degrees. It was one of the hardest areas for me to learn. If you don’t keep your razor at that continuous angle, you will cut yourself every time.

The sides

The sides of my head are the next area I shave. The sides are a little easier since they’re pretty much a straight shot from top to bottom. I keep the angle of my razor at a strict thirty degrees every time.

The back of your head

The biggest area to shave is the back of my head, and has taken the longest to master. I start at the top of the back of my head, keeping my razor at a twenty to thirty degree angle, and shave from the top down in short, fluid strokes. I re-lather and complete the process again if needed.

Should you shave against the grain?

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the idea of shaving against the grain. There are many supporters on both sides of the fence. It is a personal choice, but keep in mind that shaving against the grain can lead to more irritation and ingrown hairs.

I’m going to talk about my experience shaving against the grain. I decided years ago that I wanted a smooth head in all directions. I did a lot of debating on whether or not I should shave against the grain and ultimately decided to try it. My scalp was extra sensitive the first couple of times, but a couple of weeks the sensitivity level decreased and felt no different.

How to shave against the grain

Expect a learning curve when shaving your head against the grain. The angles and directions of your safety razor change a little bit (although stay the same for the most part). The one section of your head that you don’t have to shave is the top, since you already shaved against the grain the first time around.

The sides

Start at the sides. Begin at the bottom of one side, turning your razor upside down and shaving from the bottom up at a thirty degree angle. Make small, fluid strokes and be careful because now you are pulling the skin instead of pushing the skin.

On the second pass, you will want to shave sideways from back to front in a twenty to thirty degree angle with the razor upside down. Shave both sides the same way with the same angle.

Where the top curves into the sides

The top portion of your head that curves into the sides is an area that I once again shave separately. This area is tricky when shaving with the grain, and even trickier when shaving against the grain. With your razor upside down at a twenty degree angle, shave upwards, keeping the same angle but contouring the head at the same time. Remember be extra careful, and if you need to make very small strokes to complete this section without injury, so be it.

The back of your head

The last section that usually takes the longest is the back of my head. Starting from the bottom with the razor turned upside down at a twenty five to thirty five degree angle, shave upwards in small, fluid strokes. Take as much time as you need and make as many passes as you need, but remember more passes may equal more irritation. Just some food for thought.

That’s my whole shaving routine. This routine may seem very long and daunting, but it’s actually not. My entire shaving routine usually takes around fifteen to thirty minutes. Wet shaving, especially on your head, is something you take your time to do.

There are a few things I want to point out to you before I go:

  • Always remember that shaving your head with a safety razor is not a chore – it’s pleasurable when done the right way.
  • Always pull the skin tight on the area you are shaving to avoid injury.
  • Never change the angle of your razor while shaving. Always stop to change the angle and continue. Changing the angle of your razor mid stroke can cause serious injury.
  • Use good pre- and post- routine products such as pre-shave oil, which should be applied before your shaving soap or cream to give your razor added glide. And don’t forget a good aftershave splash/balm or both.
  • Find a quality moisturizer to keep your skin well hydrated.

Once again, I would like to thank RoyalShave.Com for this opportunity to talk to you about the art form of head shaving with a safety razor. If you have any questions you can find me @Thebaldnation on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

You can also visit my blog TheBaldNation.Com for reviews on shaving soaps and creams, shaving oils, beard care products, and razors as well as bald-related t-shirt reviews. You can email me TheBaldNation@OutLook.Com Love your product and you will love the results. Thank you and have a #Baldtastic day!

 

Visit all of my website projects:

(1.) TheBaldNation.com
(2.) TheBaldNationPortfolio for 6 week shave projects
(3.) TheBaldNationBaldQuotes
(4.) TheSubscriptionShaveBoxProject
(5.) TheDESafetyRazorProject
(6.) TheVanVulayProject

 

-TheBaldNation-

Head Shaving with Safety Razors, Part 1: Transitioning into Head Shaving

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.

Enjoy!

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.

 

You can find Wogoman at the following websites:

(1.) TheBaldNation.com
(2.) TheBaldNationPortfolio for 6 week shave projects
(3.) TheBaldNationBaldQuotes
(4.) TheSubscriptionShaveBoxProject
(5.) TheDESafetyRazorProject
(6.) TheVanVulayProject

 

How to Care for Your Shaving Brush

If you’ve ever had a relative pass down a vintage shaving brush, then you know that with proper care, a shaving brush can last a lifetime – if not longer. For a brush that gives you years of great shaves, regular cleaning and periodic deep cleaning are fundamental.

Here’s how to keep your shaving brush performing optimally:

Basic care and cleaning

Prior to a shave:

If you soak your brush in water before a shave, do so with warm water rather than boiling hot water, which can ruin your bristles.

During a shave:

Only apply light pressure, since using too much pressure (especially in a circular motion) can twist the bristles and cause them to break. Don’t push down so far that the handle is close to the skin. Lighter pressure will also allow you to use the entire brush loft rather than just the inner, longer bristles.

The ideal way to prolong the life of the brush is to use back and forth motions, but if you prefer lathering in circular motions, just remember to do so with a light touch.

After a shave:

Shaving cream and soap are slightly acidic, so be sure to rinse all product out of the brush. If some product is still left, the acidity will condense as the water evaporates. Over time, the acidity will eat away at the bristles. So make a habit of rinsing your brush thoroughly with warm water, followed by cold water. The warm water allows the bristles to absorb water more readily, while the cold water seals the bristles’ cuticles for strength.

Tip: Don’t use hot water, as hot water will open up the cuticles of the boar bristles, leaving them exposed and weak.

When you’re done rinsing, shake the brush dry and place it facing downward in a brush holder. Look for one that doesn’t grip the brush at the base of the bristles, as this damages the knot. Try MÜHLE brush stands, which typically grip the brush at a groove on the handle.

Storing your brush upside down not only removes the bristles of water, but also, more importantly, prevents water from loosening the glue that holds the bristles together. Place the brush in an area with good air flow, as confining a wet brush to a small space encourages mildew growth.

Deep cleaning

Even with a flawless technique, shaving brushes are subject to wear and tear from hard water, certain soaps and creams, and improper storage. You’ll know you need to deep clean when you notice crooked, stiff hairs or soap scum. Or you may find that your brush doesn’t produce lather as well as before.

It’s important to remember that shaving brushes are made of hair, similar to our own. And like our own hair, they need to be cleaned to stay soft and strong.

You should only need to deep clean your brushes once every couple of months. Select the method most convenient to you:

Method 1: Shampoo & conditioner

Start with a gentle, pH neutral shampoo, like Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. Avoid any shampoo with silicones, as silicones cover the hair with a thin, waterproof coating that builds up over time. This can reduce the bristles’ ability to absorb water. Dimethicone, in particular, is a silicone that is water insoluble and very hard to remove.

Work a small dab of shampoo into the brush, then rinse with warm water. To make your bristles feel extra soft, follow with a dab of gentle conditioner, allowing the conditioner to sit for a few minutes before rinsing out with warm water. Finish with a cold water rinse.

Method 2: Vinegar and water

Mix a solution of 9 parts warm water, 1 part vinegar. Soak the shaving brush in the solution for a few minutes, swirling it around every now and then. Rinse the brush with warm water, followed by cold water. The vinegar should dissolve any calcium deposits, removing the coating from bristles.

Method 3: Borax

Mix a tablespoon of borax in a cup of water. Soak the shaving brush in the solution for a few minutes and then rinse in warm water, followed by cold water.

Grooming Artist News Roundup: April 2017

New beginnings are aplenty this spring in the wet shaving community. For starters, there are two high-tech razors in development. Gillette filed a patent on March 9 for a heated razor that warms up during shaving. And The Defender, which is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo, prevents contact dermatitis for all the joy of wet shaving, minus the irritation. OneBlade has also released Model 2 of their signature razor – see full details on Sharpologist’s review.

While companies are hard at work creating the perfect razor burn-free shave, there’s a lot you can do during your own routine for a better outcome. We’ve put together a blog post on 9 unconventional solutions for razor burn. It’s true that a huge part of a good shave is having a quality razor, but making small adjustments – such as exfoliating before a shave – can go a long way.

We’re wrapping things up with grooming tips for the rest of your body.

Enjoy!

Paul Mitchell, the actor who plays Sweeney Todd in the Studley Operatic Society’s production of the same name, was put through the paces by a master barber. (Redditch & Alcester Advertiser)

Gillette just filed a patent for a heated razor. (Biz Journals)

Another razor in the works: The Defender, a shaver that protects you from dermatitis by removing the cause of histamine breakouts. (Yahoo! Finance)

Sharpologist gives his take on the OneBlade Model 2. (Sharpologist)

The hair on the rest of your body deserves some attention, too – especially before summer starts. Here’s how to get rid of back hair. (GQ)

9 razor burn solutions you may have not thought of before. (Grooming Artist)

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