by Niall Doherty

Consider this a follow-up to my 2011 post about giving up soap and shampoo. Not long after I tried giving up shaving foam, too. The reasoning was pretty much the same. I asked myself…

At what point did men start needing a bunch of chemicals on their faces to shave comfortably? Do we use all these shaving products because we need them, or because we’ve fallen for some clever marketing?

It’s been about eighteen months now and I’m still not using any shaving foam or gel.

A couple of disclaimers before I go any further with this:

  1. I’m not saying that you can get a closer shave by foregoing the foam/gel and using only water instead. I actually doubt that’s the case. But I do know that I, personally, can have a plenty satisfactory shave by using just water and a disposable razor. Saves me a nice chunk of change, too.
  2. It’s possible that I may just be lucky to not have sensitive skin, and so I can get away with shaving the way I do. Your results may vary. I recall though when I first started experimenting with this that my skin didn’t respond very well. But after a couple of weeks everything came good. Could it be that your skin is sensitive because you keep babying it with fancy foams and gels?

Some of you might be wondering if you could take this even further. Instead of using disposable razors, why not use a cut-throat? I’ve never tried the latter, so I can’t comment much on it. My perception though is that they’re harder to keep, since they need to be sharpened regularly. I’m guessing each shave would take more time with a cut-throat, too, since you’d need to be more careful.

But hey, I’ll no doubt question those assumptions some day, too.

The larger point

The larger point here, and a recurring theme of this blog, is that it’s good to question traditional ways of doing things and traditional ways of thinking. Most of the time we’re not consciously choosing to act and think how we do; we just pick up habits from other people and assume that they’re for the best. But of course it often turns out that such habits aren’t in our own best interests at all. We’d be better off choosing different.

You can take this too far as well, though. Be careful not to become too dogmatic about your own preferences. It’s rare that something will work as well for absolutely everyone as it does for you. So if you prefer eating with your hands than eating with knives and forks, good for you. Just don’t expect everyone else to do the same.

The important thing isn’t that we think about specific things in specific ways. The important thing is that we think for ourselves and make up our own minds about what’s best for us.

Comments are open.