Give WTG a Chance

I don't read about it much anymore, since I'm not dredging the annals of dermatology for shaving info, but some people advocate only shaving with the grain (WTG). I think I'm ready to give it the academic try.

Yesterday I went for the gusto with Williams, Shave Secret, and witch hazel solution, and was asking myself all day whether I had "gotten away with it," because I couldn't feel any hair emerging for more than five hours, and it was still mostly smooth at bedtime. Some abrasive soreness has been accumulating on my left jaw corner, and I dug too hard under the jaw, too, but it never developed into the late-onset burn that I dreaded.

The weird thingI noticed was, as fierce as that shave was, I could still SEE the stubs, little gray dots in my hair follicles, even immediately after shaving. I asked myself, why bother? I probably wouldn't have done it at all if I hadn't encountered some clogging with the Shave Secret and rapidly-drying Williams. When I re-installed the blade mid-shave, one edge was more exposed, giving the blade extra reach.

Today I went the other way with the same hardware, prepping with bath soap and lathering PdP No. 63. The hair was standing up nicely, as it seems more inclined to do since I started the witch hazel, so I shaved three passes WTG: lather, crema, and water.

And though I can feel stubble when I rub the wrong way, the visual result is at least as good, probably better when you take the skin condition into account. There may be something advantageous about a cut that is nowhere near parallel with the skin surface.

Rubbing the right way, most areas are smooth enough, too. Under the jaw, I would say, is still unsatisfactory. So I will now aim to find the minimally ATG solution for under the jaw. Well, I guess we'll have to see how I feel about this whole plan at bedtime.


  1. Just wondering. Ever tried using Williams like a shave stick? One thing I have noticed, I tend to get closer shaves when I use a shave stick. I think one of the benefits is when applying the stick directly to the face, I go against the grain and it lifts the stubble up and then when I face lather I try to go against the grain in the more difficult to shave spots. Just a thought.

    I quite using Williams because it left a drying, irritating film after a shave that was hard to get rid of so I have no idea if it would work if rubbed directly on the face. Might be worth me blowing a buck and a half some day just to try it.

    1. It certainly does work that way: one of the "minimalists" on Badger and Blade had a puck he wrapped in foil, making one round side flat, then the other, until it was actually a sort of stick!

      I don't feel fully in control of the transient soap concentration on my skin when applying that way, so I mix soap and water in the brush, and truly only do the lathering part on my face.

      If there were any soap solids propping up the hair, I would hope they melt before the blade gets there, but I can also see how that spot would end up cleaner.