The Journal is an online collection of articles and essays written and curated by writer & photographer Thomas W Coombs, published bi-annually.

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Issue 20; Now That Was Close

written by @coombstw

Doing my bit for the environment was my reason for the changing my razor and my this along with my skin has been a tale of not so much sweat or tears but a whole lot of blood.

I have always been one for nostalgia, history and gentlemanly ways and I don't just mean manners and draping a jacket over puddle for a lady. The latter never happens and to be honest I struggle with the first one at times. But when it comes to barbers and shaving I think it is great to look to the past. Now firstly, why?

We all know the price of a Gillette or Wilkinson Sword razor, the big lump of plastic and metal, with its safety bars and different amounts of blades, the constant changing of plastic heads at the same cost the whole razor was to start with.  This was why I first started looking at subscriptions for shaving. But from Bamboo to Gillette themselves they all had one thing in common, plastic heads. So when I came across The Personal Barber I couldn't say no.

They use the safety razor, the classic razor your grandad or dad may have wielded back in the day. The razor is all metal, the single blades are recyclable which was a huge selling point for me. You can collect them in a jar and once full take them to a recycling centre and dispose of, no more single use plastic.  You get a brush also along with blades soap and a couple of extra bits with your first box. As this is a subscription you can choose 6 or 12 week options and you receive more blades, of differing makes, soaps, oils, balms etc all to try out.

All sounds great and it is but I tell you now, all those techniques you have learnt to shave your face since you finally got rid of that pathetic top lip curtain, forget them all, and trust me when I say you will soon take note once you start. 

You see, unlike the modern razor, which is light weight and requires some pressure, the safety razor has a heavy head and makes its own pressure. If you lean on it you will cut the hair but also take a layer or two of skin. No matter how much hair prep you do will prepare you for that mess. And I know this due to experience and was being careful, in fact very careful and my sink looked like that scene from the film IT.

The basic Personal Barber razor is of great quality and you will notice that it is shorter than your used to, there is a certain way to hold it.  All instructions on how to shave come with your razor. If you do not have a stand then I suggest you get one, better for drying your items.

Once you get used to using the single blade you will notice how close the shave is and much better than my old Mach 3 heads, and 6 bladed beasts from Gillette I tried once.  Shaving also becomes a bit of a pamper rather than a chore, and it is possible to have a quick shave once you are used to using it and not slicing your face off. The Personal Barber have tips, videos on how to shave and best way to prep your skin, so take note and take it slow.

This is a must and so much better than the plastic alternatives. To sign up head here and you won't regret it.