The Man’s Ephemera: Safety Razors and Combs


I never really liked to shave. I began shaving with one of those terrible electric rotary razors when I was about 13 years old, and the chore only became worse as my facial hair thickened. Whoever invented electric razors was incompetent; mine yanked the hair out and burned my face. Afterwards I moved to a Trac II razor that came in a gift set, then on to the Mach I, II, I, IV series of blades. I shaved in the shower, and abhorred the duty.

Last year, however, I decided to buy a simple straight razor from Fendrihan along with a leather strop, and a fine badger brush made by Kent. Shaving now became an act of danger and daring – one false move and my nose was gone; there goes my earlobe. Shaving in the shower was impossible. I have not looked back. Ironically, what has ended up happening is that as I came to love the art of shaving I have grown a beard. What started out as my waiting for the beard to grow a few days to shave properly, became a ritual that became a way of understanding a part of being a man. The beard came and went over the past few months, but has literally grown on me.

Fate is hilarious. Now that I have grown a beard I am, in fact, shaving more than ever. At Christmas my brother bought me an Edwin Jagger safety razor and my father gave me his old safety razor, too. Both of them are unique, but I prefer the weight of the Jagger for my face, as the heaviness feels strong in my hand. Shaving and trimming the shape of my beard is a peaceful process. I no longer need to buy overpriced, toss away razor cartridges for $30 a pack. I merely sharpen the straight razor or replace a safety razor blade and I am off to the races. The photo featured in the blog shows pieces from the latest shipment I purchased from Fendrihan: a sampler pack of 90 razor blades for $36.95 and two combs. After four orders from this online-only company, I can only recommend them for the quality of what I receive and the quick shipments.

The blades were needed because I wanted to try different brands to decide which worked best for my face. Plus, I figured that it would be fun to have a wide variety of blades to choose from based on my mood. The combs…beards need to be combed unless one wants a wild man beard, and while I am at it I might as well comb my hair. The beard comb is made of bone, while the Baxter of California comb is a faux tortoise acetate. Both are special and they, too, feel like new pieces to enjoy as I grow old performing the same grooming ritual. Lastly, I ordered in a hair tonic. I have no idea what it is for, but the orange smell and cool bottle make it a fun addition to the cabinet. The photograph was taken with the Linhof adapter and the American-made Wollensak 162mm lens with a bit of cross-processing added to give it a lo-fi hipster look, but without the loss of quality. Next stop…axes coming in tomorrow from Base Camp X.



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