I refuse to pay the ridiculous amounts charged locally for haircuts so I have resorted to using an “ old school “ barber near the local service station. A big plus is that it is within walking distance from my house.
On a subsequent visit, he noticed some “stubble” and offered a shave. I gave in and was horrified to see a basin of water and a cutthroat razor with its disposable blade. I gave in and walked home feeling well-groomed.
This led to a discussion one afternoon after an event and we compared the ways we shaved especially in the bush whilst travelling.
The younger generation opted for battery or electrical shavers, some even using those that offered a wet option for use in the shower. I was not convinced having tried a variety myself.
At home or in the bush I enjoy the ritual and art of a wet shave, it is what our fathers taught us. It was a tradition passed on and never neglected in the bush.
Happily, I see it making a comeback.
It could be because of the cost! A pack of 6 disposable blades and a handle costs serious money as opposed to an old-school double-edged safety razor, and the blade lasts longer. It’s also easier to drop into your Dopp bag when travelling and a pack of blades takes up minimal space. So wet shaving seems to be reinventing itself, especially amongst those of us who struggle to cope with the itch of the stubble. Many lodges will put out a stand with a basin, towel and hot water which allows you to shave under an open sky-bliss.
Then you have a further cost saving by not having to buy a can of compressed foam which does not last long and does not offer a quality shave. It even takes up space in your Dopp bag which does not help when you are travelling light.
So where do we go from here, especially given that ablutions may be pressurised when camping?
Opt for something traditional in terms of a cream or even a soap. Many soaps are now available that can be used for washing, shaving or even as a shampoo.
And they take up minimal space.
Then there are the environmental considerations, disposable blade heads and razors contribute to a significant portion of waste in a landfill whilst a single metal razor blade takes up minimal space and degrades far quicker than its plastic option. And if you use the correct shaving cream you do not have to recycle tubes, bowls or cans as you can use the same container to mix your lather.
And the environment is becoming important especially when outdoors in the bush when you aim for a zero impact.
It sounds strange but using a conventional safety razor will result in less skin irritation as opposed to fancier options which cause burn, ingrown hair and skin irritation. It’s also great to take part in an old ritual -that of shaving before or after you shower. Like your Dad and Grandfather.
It will take a bit of adaption as a safety razor is heavier than a piece of plastic, older versions were all steel and rather more hefty. Try browsing antique stores or check your Dad’s stuff.
Then you have to use a brush, even with a tin mug when in the bush. With warm water, it softens the stubble and hydrates the skin. And you get a rich thick lather. This will result in a smoother shave, and it just feels good.
If you are opting for a brush it does work better with warm water so you may have to be the early riser who stokes the geyser or uses some of the available hot water in the ablutions.
I avoid cream in a can and look for the more natural options, they nourish your skin and organic varieties just feel so much better. Develop a procedure even when outdoors.
- Prep your beard with warm water and soap to soften the whiskers. You will get less irritation when shaving.
- Build up a good lather.
- Shave with your safety razor, avoid excess pressure, get a comfortable angle, shave with the grain and aim to reduce the beard rather than attempt to immediately remove it.
After shaving rinse with cold water and apply your favourite after-shave lotion. This helps reduce any irritation. The last thing you want is outdoors.Then move on to the breakfast table and feel seriously cool