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The First Shave


Guest Blogger: A. Jones


I remember the yellow and black canister like it was yesterday. A pungent odor of rotten eggs hung in the air as my father mixed the shaving powder with cold water in a shallow powder blue bowl. I’d noticed his morning ritual in passing, but this was the first time I studied his actions, knowing that my turn was coming. He walked me through preparing the mixture, application, and removal. I was intrigued by the slow and deliberate way he progressed through this ritual. He talked about learning to use a safety razor, shaving cream, and brush from his Dad.
I suspect that the new routine he was teaching me was adopted as his way of establishing defiance to his years of shaving with a razor in the military.

A first shave

Dad usually sported a goatee, but in a matter of minutes, all of the stubble on his sideburns, his cheeks, and his chin magically disappeared, leaving behind his smooth skin.

I barely had facial hair, probably just enough to tighten it up with my Andis edger, but on this day, I wanted that clean look my Dad inspired. He advised this depilatory shaving cream over the razor to avoid bumps. I braved the smell as the cold cream tingled on my young chin and sideburns. The tingle quickly intensified into a burn. I did not panic since I’d seen my Dad handle this many times, but I did wonder how he could tolerate it nearly every day. Almost immediately, it was over. I’d achieved the look I wanted but knew that I would need to establish a routine that worked for my sensitive skin like my father. It has taken about 35 years to do so, but I now readily go from beard to goatee to clean face without bumps, immediate discomfort, nor lingering irritation. Some of my routines involve products. Yes, I have to plug TCM’s shaving bundle here, but also, my way entails ensuring that my face is thoroughly moisturized before and after. I’ve even used a vapor / steaming device if a long hot shower was not possible. If you want to read more about my routine, tune in next week. I’ll break it down for you and get tips from other friends that have also developed their ways to build on the lessons they were given.