The average man spends something like 3,000 hours shaving over his lifetime. This can seem like a lot, so many people rush through the action. Who wants to spend their precious time in the morning lathering up, shaving over spots multiple times, and pampering their skin afterward? It’s enough to make anyone want to reach for the electric shaver!
However, there’s a growing community rebelling against this go-go-go mentality of shaving. Wet shaving enthusiasts believe that taking the time to slow down and give yourself a great, close, and smooth shave is very much worth the extra effort. Wet shaving encompasses all the methods of shaving that involve water and, in increasing numbers, those who want the precision and quality of a more traditional shave.
Not familiar with the world of wet shaving? It can seem a little daunting to dive into for first-timers. That’s why we’ve created this glossary for all the new terminology you’ll encounter as you explore.
The term “aggressive” refers to the efficiency of the shave a razor offers. Aggressive razors offer a closer, smoother shave, but are recommended more for wet shaving veterans, because it’s easier to nick yourself and cause irritation with one.
Wet shaving vets and those with thicker, coarser hair may favor a more aggressive razor, because there’s a bigger gap between the blade and the safety bar. This allows more hair through, saving time for the shaver.
Badger is one of the most popular choices of hairs for use in shaving brushes. It’s favored because, unlike many animal hairs, it retains water rather than expelling it, and this is crucial for creating a great lather. It comes in four varieties:
Pure Badger is the most common and most affordable type of badger hair brush. It’s made from the hairs on the body of the badger, which vary in length and can cause the brush to be uneven. Therefore, a lot of Pure Badger brushes are trimmed to fit, so the end of the brush become blunter and exfoliate the skin more.
Best Badger is collected from a smaller portion of the body, mostly the belly. It holds onto more water than Pure Badger, creating a richer lather.
Super Badger is found only on the back of the badger and is much finer and softer than Best or Pure Badger. Super Badger brushes tend to be more densely packed than others since the hair isn’t as thick. Because of this, Super works well with dense shaving creams.
Silver Tip is the rarest type of badger hair. Collected from the back of the neck, it’s the softest and finest of the four. It has the best water retention as well, making for a truly luxurious lathering experience.
A DE, or Double-Edge, Razor is a type of Safety Razor that, as the name implies, uses blades with two cutting edges that can be changed out as needed.
The grain of hair refers to the direction in which is grows. You’ll most commonly see this expression used in the form of “With the Grain” or “Across the Grain”, meaning in the direction of growth or across the direction of growth. For example, it’s recommended that you complete your first Pass shaving with the grain (shaving in the same direction that the hair grows).
The Grind of a Straight Razor refers to the overall shape and design of the blade. Usually it’s used to describe the width of the cutting edge and the hollowness of the blade. Hollower blades make Honing easier, while less hollow blades offer a closer shave.
Normally when hair grows, it travels upward and out of the skin. Ingrown Hairs happen when the hair grows sideways instead, causing irritation and little red bumps. Shaving can cause ingrown hair because it makes the tip of the hair sharper than normal and therefore more able to get back under the skin after growing out. Sharper razors with fewer blades lessen the risk of ingrown hairs.
Many modern shaving creams are housed in spray cans and create an instant foam the moment they leave their containers. Wet shaving enthusiasts tend to prefer Shaving Soaps and Shaving Creams, which have to be whipped into a foam with a brush. The foam that’s created is referred to as the Lather.
As opposed to an Aggressive shave, a Mild shave is less efficient, but also much less likely to cause irritation and cuts. Since there’s a smaller gap between the blade and the safety bar, these razors exert less pressure. It may require several Passes to complete a shave with a Mild razor, and you’ll have to clean it out more frequently than with an Aggressive razor.
Because they’re considerably easier to use, Mild razors are recommended for those who are new to wet shaving and those with sensitive skin that’s prone to irritation.
The term Pass refers to one complete cycle of shaving and removing the shaving cream from your face. It may take several passes with re-lathering to get a complete shave. It’s recommended that for the first Pass you shave With the Grain of the hair to minimize irritation.
Pre- & Post-Shave
Razor Burn is a term used to describe a certain type of irritation that occurs after shaving. Dull blades or incomplete cleaning of the razor are often the culprit, since these can cause tugging or displacement of the hair follicle. To avoid Razor Burn, use a sharp blade every time you shave and make sure to use a shaving cream with a smooth, rich lather. Exfoliating before a shave is another great prevention technique.
The SE Razor, also known as the Single Edge Razor, is a razor containing a blade with only one cutting edge. The most common SE Razors are Straight Razors, but there are also Safety Razors designed for use with only one cutting edge.
Whether it’s made from Badger, Boar, or Synthetic Hair, a shave brush is an important piece in a Wet Shaver’s arsenal. When wet, the Shave Brush helps bring the Shave Soap or Shaving cream to a lather to spread across the skin.
Thanks for checking out our glossary of Wet Shaving terms. If you have any more questions or need any advice or guidance, our Customer Service department is always happy to help. You can reach us at (800)-252-0275 Monday through Saturday, 9AM to 6PM Central. You can also contact Customer Service through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Best of luck in your Wet Shaving adventures!