“Winning is like shaving—you do it every day or you wind up looking like a bum.” – Jack Kemp
It’s hard for me to imagine a life-changing event more random than shaving. I shaved with an electric razor for 30-plus years and never much thought about it. Buzz, buzz, zip, zip, done in two minutes. Yeah, I had a five o’clock shadow at two, but I thought that was “normal.” Now, I spend a luxurious 10–15 minutes with warm, fragrant lather and shave with a single blade razor that works just as well (in some ways better) as a multi-blade cartridge razor. And my blades cost me under 25 cents, versus almost $4 for a modern cartridge refill. It’s almost meditative in nature. Let me explain.
Shaving A Life
In the mid ’90s I began a serious relationship with a special young lady. One thing she absolutely adored was the feeling of my face just after it was freshly shaven. Unfortunately, she could only enjoy caressing my face for a few hours before it would get a bit “sandpapery” again.Advertising
A couple of years after my wonderful young lady and I were married, we decided to go to Las Vegas for our wedding anniversary. One morning while we were there, she came to me with a gleam in her eye and said, “Don’t shave today, I have a special anniversary present for you.” That afternoon she took me to The Art of Shaving (in Mandalay Place) and had them give me a barber shave as an anniversary gift. It was a little freaky at first—I mean, here’s this stranger hovering over me with a straight-razor—but after a while it became strangely relaxing and I enjoyed it. The barber finished and pulled off the smock with a flourish. I felt my face…
My face was insanely soft and smooth. I’d never felt anything like it before. My wife had a sparkle in her eye and a huge smile on her face as she ran a finger along my jawline, “Ohhh, Mama likes!” I didn’t need to shave again for two days, and I was almost continuously touching my face in amazement: I was sold on this way of shaving.Advertising
Would you like to change shaving from an annoying (even painful) chore to a pleasant diversion? There’s a bit of a learning curve—after all, you’re learning a new skill, like riding a bicycle or playing a musical instrument—but it is not particularly difficult:
Prepare the area before you shave with lots of warm water and a gentle facial soap. No deodorant or body bars! Doctors tell me it can take up to three minutes to fully hydrate the skin for shaving: take the time and leave the skin wet.
No canned shaving cream! The propellants actually dry out the skin and then artificial lubricants have to be added to try to compensate. Use a cream or gel out of a squeeze tube. Or better yet, a lather soap or cream that you apply with a shaving brush: they come in many scents that can really enhance the shave experience!
Yes, use a shaving brush. They may seem old fashioned or foppish, but they are excellent for both gently exfoliating the skin—cleaning out the tiny bits of debris from around each stubble of hair—and spreading the shave lather evenly and thoroughly. It’s better than massaging the lather in with the fingers, believe me!
Use a razor with as few blades as necessary to get the job done. A single blade can actually work better than a multi-blade cartridge for a lot of people—any more and you are just inviting razor burn or irritation.
Initially shave in the direction that the hair grows. It’s worth a careful look before you start: the hair “grain” can change directions. Not close enough? Re-lather and shave across the grain (90 degrees from the grain). Still not close enough? Re-lather and shave across the grain from the opposite direction. Want to try for “smooth as a baby’s butt?” Re-lather and shave against the grain (caution: some people just can’t do this). The idea here is to reduce the stubble in stages or passes instead trying to get rid of it all at once. Believe it or not shaving this way is actually less prone to irritation. Be sure to use the least possible pressure on the razor—don’t press down!
After you’re finished shaving rinse thoroughly with warm water. This will remove any lather residue that could cause plugged up pores (little white pimple-looking things) and ingrown hairs. Then, rinse with cool water and apply an aftershave (one that does not have alcohol as a primary ingredient) to calm and protect the skin.
I challenge you to give these techniques a try and comment below. You may be surprised at the results!
Last Updated on November 22, 2021
Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things
Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”
During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.
But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.
I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?
And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.
If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:
- You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
- Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
- Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.
You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.
Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.
Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.
Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.
As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.
Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?
But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.
So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.
Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com