The Coward's Way

A couple times since stratifying my prep, I've unintentionally omitted the oil, and been displeased with the immediate release of ammonia, as well as the dicey shave. The method itself suggests that my prior skin prep axiom, "preshave = oil cleanse," is a bit misleading. Oil is an effective chemical barrier, too. When I put it on prior to splash, I get a less-stinging, improvised lotion. When I put it on prior to Stirling, the artisan's glycerin is tolerable.

Last night I browsed once again a search I had bookmarked, "unconventional shaving preparations," which usually just leads to a bunch of women shaving with peanut butter and whatnot. But one hit I had forgotten about, from a para-medical group, reads pretty close to my own findings. Perhaps it is coincidental, as I regularly mine medical sources for ideas. I found the article generally too chemically focused, as all cosmetic producers are (the "Dermalogica" line, in this case), but this one tip was completely jarring: "After the initial shave with the grain ... the client must re-apply all necessary shaving mediums before shaving against the grain." I can only imagine how much their shaving system costs, eh?

While I consider my skin to be chemically fixed by a single application of Noxzema, and a thin layer at that, perhaps I have been too stingy with the oil. So today I applied another three drops after the first pass. With my old boar brush not making the most prodigious lather, I just squeezed out the Arko and smeared it on top. That seemed very skin-safe, reducing the blade feel... though the hair was not especially soft anymore.

After rinsing, a slick residue, thicker than any I've previously shaved upon, remained, and it seemed obvious that I should take a pass on it, since it basically felt like shaving gel. I skimmed lightly, and was encouraged to go directly ATG, though again, the hair was more burnt-toasty than crunchy.

Blue aftershave probably didn't remove half of the residue left by rinsing, but it felt good and done, after backing off with a wet towel. Only then did I see the amateurish swath of red, irritated skin on one side of my jawline. And I felt nothing. That one spot was hairless; the rest, nothing special, a DFS with some individual hairs missed. I was a little sticky and shiny, too, so I powdered, thinking to come back later to tone and moisturize. Yeah, and "later" is when the acute burn suddenly became perceptible.

The skin therapist craze probably isn't going to take off in my part of the country, but it occurs to me that a lot of barbers simply prevent clients from feeling the damage, with heavy oil prep.

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