All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Straight Razor

As a kid I remember my grandfather shaving with a straight razor.  It looked cool and MANLY.  My father (his son) always used cheap disposable razors and shaving cream in a can.  When I started shaving that's what I did too.

Frankly I hated shaving.  I hated having my face look fuzzy too so I shaved.  As I got older I discovered growing a beard was out of the question.  I never could stand more than a weeks worth of facial hair.  To make matters worse my beard comes in three colors (now four).  Not only do I dislike the discomfort of a beard, I look like a dork when I try to grow one. 

Over the years I moved on from the cheap disposable razor to the multi blade expensive models.  I still bought canned shaving cream, and I still disliked the whole process. 

I remembered my grandfather claiming that the straight razor was the best shave you could get.  I also remembered my one and only barber shop shave.  It was fantastic.  If I had that kind of cash and a barber around that still did them, I might treat myself once a week or so. 

I started a little experiment this year.  I bought a couple of old fashioned shaving soaps, a bowl and a mug and a shaving brush off of Amazon.  I saw several razors that I liked.  Unfortunately I have champagne tastes and a lite beer budget.  I couldn't bring myself to drop the $299 for the low end model I liked or the $599 for the really cool razor.  If I didn't like shaving this way, it would be a lot of cash just to try it out.  I opted for the $30 razor with disposable blades.   Yes it cheap, but $30 is a pack of Mach III razors, so its not out of my budget.

First the soap.  I bought two kinds.  The first being an inexpensive (maybe $5) kind that came with a shaving mug.  The second was a mid priced ($10-$12) soap.  Using the recommended soap/brush techniques I've been trying them out for three months now.  I will never buy canned shaving cream again if I can help it.  This stuff is great.  Not only does your face feel cleaner, the razor glides over my skin much smoother.  They also smell great.  You can't beat the scent.

On another note, $12 seems kind of steep for shaving soap, but I've been using these soaps for 3 months and they still look like new.  I doubt I'll be able to use the stuff up this year.  Compare that to your canned shaving cream.  I never got that kind of mileage from a can.  There are more expensive soaps.  One that I've seen goes for $30 a cake, and I think I'll give that one a try, one of these days.

On to the straight razor.  I decided to ignore the advice of everyone and tried to shave my whole face the first time I got the razor.  The last time my face looked that bad after a shave, I was 12 years old.  Talk about cut up, there are slaughter houses that butcher with less blood.  The best thing I can recommend is start learning a couple of light shaving strokes with the blade before attempting to do your whole face.  I seem to remember reading that somewhere myself.  It's good advice.

I haven't mastered the straight razor yet.  "Mastered" to me means having a face that is "baby butt" smooth with no more than two passes of the razor, and no nicks.  However, I am at the "baby butt" smooth level with minimal nicks and cuts, even though I have to think my way through the process.

I'm not a master myself yet but, I fully recommend "old fashioned" shaving.  Even if you don't want to go the straight razor route, pamper yourself with a soap and brush.  It will make your shave a better experience with any razor.  When you learn the "touch" you can get a closer shave with less irritation than with a safety razor.  Old dogs can learn new tricks.


  1. WaterBoy11:49 AM

    Interesting. I had always wondered about shaving the old-fashioned way, but never seriously considered it. Newer is better, right?

    I might just give it a try, now. Thanks for the review.

    I hating shaving, too, and have managed to whittle it down to twice a week, now (Monday and Thursday).

  2. I've been considering this too. I have a heavy beard, so shaving plugs up the disposable razors I use. It is a pain.

    I buy the cheapo barbasol cream and it seems like a can lasts forever.

    I've been using the same disposable razors all winter. The thing to remember is they don't go dull from use they corrode. So if you get them clean and rinse with hot water or blow the water off they don't go dull.

    I might try it.

  3. Res Ipsa5:37 PM

    It takes getting used to but its not a bad way to go.

    I think the shaving soap is at least 50% of the battle.

  4. Raggededge7:18 PM

    I use The Art of Shaving soap and a nice badger brush. I do use disposable razors still though.

  5. I just shave in the shower. Never have bothered with shaving cream, and found that shaving the head seems to work best with nothing more than my Schick Extreme3. Its open at the back of the blades and is easy to clean out by letting water pool at my feet and swishing it back and forth. Each razor lasts me for at least a month so its been working out well.

    I also think the straight blade would be cool, but I am so not shaving my head with one.

  6. Anonymous10:01 PM

    I have a Manly Beard, but I still shave the top of my cheeks (the ones in front), and my neck (to save my shirt collars), and the back of my neck (to avoid the werewolf look). I don't use any creams or soap, just hot water. And I clog disposable razors (which totally suck anyway), so I use a Gillette with replaceable blades. I find that my old Gillette works better than the new razors with three or four blades, the new ones clog faster and are harder to clean. But. The newer ones are much safer, I can even shave when hung over with the new razors.


  7. I've dry shaved, hot water only, and done cream in a can. I can't believe how much more I enjoy the brush and hot lather method.

    Once I get the straight razor prefected I think I'll start saving for a nice razor.

  8. Anonymous5:12 PM

    You didn't give us any info on brands or cost. Could you give me a better idea on that? Thanks