Chopper

Corey-

I’m tempted to switch to old school shaving, but have a question – would your methods/equipment change for a bald(ing) man who shaves his entire head 2/3 times/week?

Thanks,
Landesman

Landesman,

Not being bald myself I can’t state for certain that what’s good for the puss is good for the pate, but feedback from some of my readers who do chop it all off seems to indicate that the bon temps definitely continue to roulet when you shave your head with an old-school safety razor.

You do need to be careful and take it slow when you first transition from a modern multi-blade to an old-school, single-blade DE (double-edge). You’re still swiping a blade-onna-stick across your skin, but beyond that it’s a whole different trip — how much pressure you apply, how much more attention you need to pay to your hand/razor/skin relationship to keep the blade angle right, the audio feedback from the cutting of the whiskers. It’s like learning how to shave all over again, although what it really is is learning how to shave right for the first time. Most guys (me included) need a week or so to get to the point where they can get through a DE shave without a nick.

If I was balding I’d definitely chop it all off. Because if I’m going to be bald I want to be bald, son. None of that Gallagher crap with the party in back — when this glorious Michael Landonesque Jew Mane starts falling out in clumps because of all that 1st-gen Blackberry phone RF I soaked up back in the day, that’s it, issue me my Player’s Club card and get out of this bald, virile man’s way.

And no modern multi-blade razor, be it the Fusion, Mach3, Quattro, Sensor, whatever, gives me as close or as long-lasting a shave as a good DE. Forget those little hand-grip “headshavers” on the drugstore shelves that take multi-blade Gillette cartridges — nobody who uses those things is getting as close a shave as they should be.

Back in the day, when balding guys went Full Monty they had their barber do it with a straight razor, and that’s why these guys looked absolutely clean, I’m talking “Mr. Clean” clean, not with that faint skinhead “rough trade” stubble that all modern cartridge-fed “head shavers” leave behind. Unless you’re trying to rock that look, which is a personal choice and also a wrong one, because for the life of me I can’t understand why a guy would want to look like the Commish when Michael Chicklis would be plenty happy if he looked like Eric Banna even when he was Chopper.

If you want to shave your head old-school, the same rules for face shaving apply up top. You need to soak your stubble in warm water for at least 2 minutes, to waterlog the hair so it’ll slice through neatly like wet noodles. Use a high quality glycerin-based shaving cream or shaving soap, and of course a good shaving brush is mandatory. Short, careful strokes, not those ridiculous eyebrow-to-Adam’s-apple glides you see on the Gillette commercials. I got news for you, there’s as much actual blade in those prop razors the male models are miming with as there is sexual interest in the towel-wrapped girls hugging them from behind.

If you’re shaving your head with a DE for the first time, I recommend laying down a protective layer of Jojoba oil to smooth the runway a bit for your first few forays. Five or six drops rubbed between your hands and spread over your skull should do it. A little Jojoba makes everything glide along just that much more smoothly, and it helps you get the hang of the much less forgiving nature of an old-school DE razor. When you’ve got your technique and touch down, you won’t need to use the Jojoba, although you may want to continue anyway as it’s really good for freshly-shaven skin and you may even find you won’t need to use moisturizer up on the dome anymore, as Jojoba does the job better and with less expense.