If you’re not an every day safety razor shaver, there are plenty of websites that recommend it. Your average safety razor blade runs you less than 50 cents, at least 5x’s less than those fancy 5 blade vibrator cartridges with aloe inserts.
What you’ll need to shave is:
- A safety razor – we carry a couple different models. If you’re a first timer, you’ll do just fine with either our basic German Rogerit Razor or our GI Clix razor. A butterfly style razor gives you a better grip on the blade, and makes it easier to change. Or, for the real shaving connoisseur, we recommend our Merkur bakelite razor, which is a top of the line shave.
- Soap or Cream – no green goop here, although if you prefer, we do have some handy WWII era Barbasol boxes that can hide a modern travel size can. We carry Williams and Arko shaving soap. If you’re a brushless guy, I recommend Proraso. The stuff dates back to 1947 (ok, ok, it’s not QUITE wartime, but Burma Shave is unfindable).
- Shaving Brush – We carry boar hair, which is a good entry level brush.
- Blades – There are all kinds of choices of blades, but we recommend this pack that is already packaged from the manufacturer in WWII style blade packaging.
- A Mug – We get lots of requests for a specific “shaving mug”. Of course, there were lots of special shaving mugs manufactured that had a lid, or a lip to pour the water off, or a little hanger for the brush. These may have been popular, but not practical in the field. The truth is that most soldiers will tell you that they didn’t have room for a special mug to shave. Anything that’s big enough to hold the puck of soap will work. We carry an assortment of WWII period style mugs – just don’t pour your coffee over the soap.
- A Towel – I know, I know, you’d rather use yesterday’s shirt. But we carry a full line of WWII style towels to keep your face nice and clean.
TIP – When shaving at an event, a pocket Esbit stove will allow you to heat hot water in a jiffy. However, too much hot water will dull your blade. Dry your razor blade off after shaving to keep it from rusting. Cleaning the blade with a little mineral oil or alcohol when you get home will keep your blade in tip top shape.
For a good lather, you’ll want to pre-soak or rinse your brush in some water to help work the soap up into a lather. Get the water running as hot as you can tolerate it and use it to work the lather into your face with the brush. You want a nice hot and soapy face to soften your whiskers.
A safety razor doesn’t need a lot of pressure. Much less than your modern cartridge razor. It should glide gently across the skin. With a good sharp blade, it’ll chop down everything in it’s path. Too much muscling will leave you bleeding. So don’t do that. It’s better to use too little pressure than look like you’ve taken a shrapnel hit to the chin.
Hold the razor at a nice 30-45 degree angle and keep the skin taunt. Use your free hand to keep skin stretched. Shave WITH the grain, not against it. It’s recommended that you use several passes to get a good shave. This is not a single fly-over to eradicate everything in one pass. Two blades means that you can shave, flip, and shave some more. But you’ll want to rinse between major passes. If possible, rinse your blade in cool water to keep it rust free. Don’t be afraid to apply more lather between passes.
After your shave, rinse your face with some cold water. Treat yourself to some aftershave, which, in addition to smelling nice, keeps your face from becoming irritated. Classic 1940’s aftershaves include Clubman, Bay Rum, and Old Spice.