Quelle barbe

In which a skeptical modernist learns to appreciate 19th Century technology.

Shaving has always been an unpleasant experience for me. My skin is sensitive, dries out easily, and I get allergic reactions to a lot of chemicals. At the same time, the bristle of my ever-nascent beard is incredibly rough and wirey. I tried electric razors, I tried disposables, I tried twin blades. I even considered giving up entirely and growing a beard, but that just itched even worse.

The least-bad option had turned out to be the Gillette Mach 2, and later the Mach 3. The M3Power helped a little, but not much—the vibro action helped get through the bristles without tugging on them, but that was all. The main plus of the Mach 2/3 was that at least it didn’t immediately clog up the way a Schick (Wilkinson-Sword) twin blade did; there was a good clean gap between the blades, without too much plastic in the way.

Then one day I found myself reading an article about old-style shaving. And by “old style”, I mean over a century old.