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When you first get into wet shaving, there are many acronyms and terminologies that may lead to confusion. At times it may feel like you have been let into a military compound or require the need to speak in a different language. For most men, their education in shaving only consisted of shower, shave and deodorant. It was an easy three-step process where most of the items could be acquired directly from a single aisle at the grocery or convenience store. But, many of the best ingredients for a truly classic shave have been lost to the lay person, including basic terminologies, definitions and acronyms. Fortunately, we have tried to distill most of the wet shaving terms here in a single post.
Balm – This is somewhat of a catch-all term, referring to nearly any cream or lotion that may be used in both pre and post-shave routines. Balms can include skin recovery serums, moisturizers, beard oils and pre-shave oils. Balms generally are semi-solid and can typically be used as cross-functional. For instance, I can use the same beard oil as a pre-shave oil, if I so desire.
Barbicide – A commonly used antiseptic for cleaning shaving supplies. Originally developed by Gillette in the 1940s, it is still used as a sterilizing agent in hospitals. Barbicides are particularly helpful in cleansing used razor heads for use by other individuals as they can remove some of the downsides inherent in blood-borne pathogens.
Classic Shave – Typically involving the use of a straight razor or safety razor, the classic shave avoids the use of multi-blade cartridges and electric shavers. Today’s shavers generally use clsssic shave techniques to avoid things like razor bumps and razor burn that are more typically caused by other methods of shaving. The term classic shaving is often used interchangeably with “wet shaving” and “traditional shaving.” While there are slight differences between these terms, they are all very closely connected and usually refer to the same thing.
Double-Edge Safety Razor – Also referred to as DE safety razor or simply DE razors, these razors can come in one, two and three piece sets. All allow for the shaver to interchange a double-edge safety razor blade that includes two usable, sharp edges. For a real shave, a safety razor is usually the desired weapon of choice among discerning shavers.
Faceturbating— The act of not being able to stop touching one’s face due to extreme smoothness.
Grain – Every face is different. No two men have hair that grows the same direction for the same patch on their face. The “grain” typically refers to the direction of hair growth on your face, which can change drastically as you change locations. Understanding your own facial hair growth patterns will allow you to draft your own wet shaving face map. This will give you the right shaving direction for your first, second and third shave passes.
Shave Brush – Whipping-up and applying a proper lather is best achieved through the use of a quality wet shaving brush. Brushes help to both whip up the lather, but they are also very effective at exfoliating the skin and hair follicles as well as cleansing the skin prior to cutting the hair follicles. There are many considerations in choosing the right shave brush — the true three-in-one tool for the expert wet shaver.
Strop – For those most masculine cutthroat straight shavers among us, the strop provides a rare glimpse into a time when cowboys and bandits were a more regular sight. Typically made of leather or linen, the strop is used as a sharpening instrument for the straight razor shaver. A few passes against a quality strop and the straight razor achieves ultimate sharpness. Strops have become a more rare site these days, even among barber shops as other forms of razor use have taken hold.
Styptic Pencil – Used for stopping bleeding in nicks, cuts and weepers produced from a classic wet shave, the styptic or hemostatic pencil is designed to both stop bleeding and disinfect the wound.
Straight and Safety Razor Acronyms
General Wet Shaving Acronyms
Wet Shaving Product Acronyms
Wet Shaving Brand Acronyms
Razor & Brush Acronyms
Shaving Forums Acronyms