Learning how to shave again?

A few weeks ago I took the plunge and after almost 20 years of sporting a beard and mustache, I switched to a goatee, which means that the edges of my jaw are now exposed to people in a way that hasn’t happened in a long, long time.

The reaction? Almost no guys noticed, and almost all the women I know immediately knew what had changed. I’d say it’s been 95% positive and I have heard nice things like “makes you look younger” and, my favorite, “Mmmm… nice. Sexy.” Yeah, I’ll take that one any time. 🙂

My kids weren’t so sure and when I first showed up with the new facial appearance they all agreed they didn’t like it so much. Fast forward a few hours and they were no longer even aware of it or paying attention. No problem.

What’s funny is that I experienced “new car syndrome” when I shaved and then suddenly I was surrounded by guys with goatees. At restaurants, the bookstore, the library, everyone from senior executives to homeless people were sporting the same facial hair that I’d just selected. Moral of the story? If I’m not going to shave like Hugh Jackman did for his Wolverine role, I ain’t going to be unique on facial hair alone.

More to the point, suddenly having most of my face supposed to be just smooth skin brings up a challenge I haven’t faced in years: how the heck do you accomplish that?

Women who are reading this are probably scratching their head right about now, thinking “uh, shave?” but it turns out that it’s not quite that simple because there are a lot of different ways to shave with quite a lot of different shaving devices.

So far, I’ve been using shaving cream and a three-blade razor, but I have to admit I’m not too thrilled and it generally seems to leave my neck a bit red and uncomfortable. I used to have an electric razor, aeons ago when I didn’t have a beard, but I don’t recall that it worked very well (though my beard does seem to be stiffer than it was when I was in the peach fuzz stage).

The worst thing is that a beard let me be really lazy about my personal grooming (doesn’t that just sound like an advertisement?) and I’d clean up the beard approximately every 7-10 days or so, including using a beard trimmer to keep it short. Looked good enough (I guess, never really got any feedback either way).

Now I feel like I can’t get away with it, and even 2-3 days growth is leaving me looking fairly scruffy, which isn’t quite the look I seek. Not so good.
Problem is, and I just have to admit it, I kinda don’t know much about how to shave effectively, efficiently, and without irritating my skin. 🙂

I’m hoping that I can find a good electric razor that will make it reasonably easy to keep the stubble to a minimum, and I’ve asked on Twitter for recommendations, just to find that there are as many recommendations as there are people who answered. No two guys seem to use the same gizmo. Not so helpful!

Hence this blog post. Guys, what do you use, in terms of equipment, foams, lotions, aftershaves, etc, to keep your facial skin reasonably smooth and attractive? How often do you do it? Gals, what do your partners do?

My face, and, by extension, everyone who has to look at my face, thanks you. 🙂

5 comments on “Learning how to shave again?

  1. I use electric because my skin is finicky (read sensitive) and manual razors because they get closer really irritate and leave bumps on my face. I do use a face scrub after to get any potential rough skin and get a alcohol free after shave (alcohol tends to be drying). Then i cross my fingers and hope my face cooperates.

  2. 16 years of having a goatee. I’ve been thinking of shaving mine off for the past month or so. Call me chicken. I’m taking baby steps. I’m down to trimming it with a #2…. Soon it will be off.
    As for product…
    I alternate between an electric (Norelco) and a Quattro razors. I’ve used various products. The best so far, for me, has been the ones from Art of Shaving. Though the Shaving Butter from Melt or the Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream from Kiehl’s are pretty good too.
    After shaving I usually use Zirh’s correct followed by a lotion from Art of Shaving or whatever the wife has laying around.
    I’ve tried a lot of others, but those are the ones I tend to stick with.

  3. Have always had issues with shaving. Electrics have never worked for me. The old multi-blade disposables (what are we up to these days, 6 – 7 blades?) are not only ineffective at keeping the razor bumps down, but require a second mortgage to maintain the habit.
    So about three months ago I saw a video on wet shaving with a double-blade safety razor – old-school style (think old guys in ascots and dressing gowns puffing on pipes and you’re getting close). Anyway, once you navigate your way through the initial learning period, works like a charm. Much closer than the other options without the razor burn. Best advice I can give is to check out YouTube, searching for “wetshaving.”
    It’s all about technique and products. Luckily, there are some great videos that walk you through step-by-step.
    Can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but I actually like shaving now. Yet another confirmation that the Internet is about as good as it gets.

  4. I went through the same thing when I decided to shave my head. My daughter saw me in the salon and loudly exclaimed, “You’re ugly!” Now she asks me if I’m going to shave it the next day if I let it go a couple of days.
    Electric shavers are just not close enough for me, and I ended up choosing a (Gillette M3 Power) three bladed vibrating razor. The vibrations make it a tiny bit more comfortable, but more importantly get me an extra day out of the blade. You might get a few more when shaving your face.
    My neck is extra sensitive, so I actually use a Norelco electric there and it works well enough. The five blade razors have a sixth blade for trimming sideburns. I don’t need that feature, and I think I’d lose an ear shaving my head if I had one of those.

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