The Shaven Gamer

On my quest for the perfect shave

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Types of Safety Razor

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner
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My preferred razor these days is one out of three safety razors. However, safety razors come in a few different types. The divisions may be made using different definitions, and are only mutually exclusive within the definition:

Single edged safety razors: These are exactly what they sound like; a safety razor which only has one edge used for shaving.
Double edged safety razors: These, too, are what they sound like; razors that feature two edges for shaving. These are the ones you find today, with single-edged razors being more or less extinct.
Manual razors: Razors that require the user to manually remove the protective head of the razor to replace the blade.
Twist to open razors: Razors where the protective head of the razor opens up to allow changing of blades. Usually has a knob on the bottom to operate the TTO functionality.
Fixed razors: These razors have no possibility to adjust the angle of the blade, effectively to set how close the shave should be, and will, for many users, be either success or failure, and only rarely something in between.
Adjustable razors: These razors feature a wheel with which the desired angle of the blade may be set, and consequently, how close the shave should be.


From left to right: Single edged safety razor, manual razor, automatic razor, adjustable razor
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Sun May 6, 2012 6:00 am
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Con Survival

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner
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For some years now, I have been following the 1-2-5 rule of convention attendance. It is, I believe, the reason why I have yet to be badly affected by con crud, and it makes my attendance at the con that much more enjoyable.

The full rule goes as follows: At any given convention, within a 24-hour period, make sure to take one shower, eat two proper meals and get at least five consecutive hours of sleep.

Let me expand on that:

Take one shower: This goes to the heart of this blog. By taking a shower, and shaving afterwards, if you choose to do so, you start your day of gaming off on a good note. The warm water will wake you up, and rinsing off the sweat of the previous day will prevent all sorts of problems, as well as being a welcome gesture towards all of the other gamers attending the con.

In addition, the one shower per 24 hours will not only help prevent con crud through virtue of improved personal hygiene, it will also sharpen your mind, making you ready to kill monsters, take their treasure, and stab your buddies in the back.

Eat two proper meals: Now, most gamers know and love the junk food typical of our archetype. I do not think massive intake of this kind of sustenance is conducive to good gaming. Make sure to get two decent meals in your belly. A hamburger with salad is definitely a decent meal, however, think outside the box. If in a unknown city, ask the locals where you can get decent takeaway. If it's in your budget, go to a restaurant.

Making sure to get the vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals makes your body better able to fight off con crud. Add to that the invigorating effect of a proper meal, there can be no discussion that it will help.

Get at least five consecutive hours of sleep: If you keep falling asleep at the table, it might be time to catch some solid Z's. While you may run the risk of missing something, you will feel better for it, and have more fun the next day.

In addition, rest is also an essential part of what your body needs to fight off infection, and so, this, too, will help you ward off the dreaded con crud.
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Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:00 am
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Myth: More blades necessarily means a better, closer shave

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner
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This is the fundamental selling point of the cartridge razors, and it is widely believed. The theory is that, by using more blades, you need to use fewer passes to get a good result, and that the result necessarily will be better, closer and last longer.

I will discuss two sets of circumstances in this post. The first is the regular shave, someone who shaves regularly, removing stubble, and not having to contend with the longer hairs. The second is the weekly shave, where those exact hairs are what you must remove. For the purposes of this post, anything less than 4 millimeters is short, everything more than 4 millimeters long.

d10-1 The regular shave
When shaving on a regular basis, you remove short stubbles of hair, as the hair never has time to grow long. In this case, you shave somewhere between three and seven times per week. When using a cartridge with two or more blades, the first blade actually drags the skin and hair a little, allowing you to cut closer to the follicles. This may, for some shavers, result in a shave that feels sort of jumpy, as it feels like the razor jumps about a bit on your face.

The problem in this case, is that this pulling will also irritate your skin, causing razor burn. It will not cause razor burn for everyone, but the more sensitive your skin is, the more likely it is that you will get razor burn.

When using a single-bladed razor, this pulling does not occur, greatly decreasing the chance for razor burn. While it may take a little longer, and a little more effort, shaving is the most masculine form of self-pampering that I know of.


d10-2 The weekly shave
When shaving once in a while, you need to first remove the longer hairs, before you can go on to remove the stubble. This is where the curse of the first-blade-pull really comes into play. First you get the pull on the long hairs, making the preliminary passes uncomfortable. Then, you get the pull on the follicles. Combined, this makes it even more likely that you will get razor burn.

When using a single-bladed razor, the cut cuts through the hair. There is far less of a need for a preliminary pass, and your shave will be more comfortable and quicker with a single-bladed razor than with a multi-bladed one.

I'm going to call this one busted. Your mileage may vary, but for me, time is less of a concern than the quality of the shave. Since switching to wet-shaving with a single-bladed razor, I get a better shave, with far less razor burn, and the quality remains good for longer.

Myth BUSTED!
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Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:00 am
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Basics of the wet shave

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner
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The wet shave can be achieved with whatever kind of razor you have. It takes a little longer, but the results are, to this shaver's opinion, far superior.

Many might wish to keep their old cartridge razors, and just use the cream and brush. That's fine, but I honestly believe you will get a better result if using a traditional razor, too. The list below assumes you go full monty, but go for a safety razor, not a straight razor.

You will need;
-Safety razor
-Razor blade
-Shaving cream
-Shaving brush
-Cup or bowl in which to make the lather
-Towel
-Styptic pencil or gel
-After shave balm

d10-0d10-1 Place the bowl and brush in warm water.
d10-0d10-2 Take a shower. Take your time, and make sure to use warm water, vigorously washing your face.
d10-0d10-3 Empty the water out of the bowl, adding a little shaving cream to the bowl.
d10-0d10-4 Use the brush like you would a whisk to work the cream into a airy, compact lather.
d10-0d10-5 Wash your face in hot water for at least 30 seconds.
d10-0d10-6 Cover the beard you want to remove in lather.
d10-0d10-7 Shave. Make sure not to push on the razor.
d10-0d10-8 Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you are happy with the result.
d10-0d10-9 Rinse your face off in cold water for at least 30 seconds.
d10-1d10-0 Dry your face off with the towel.
d10-1d10-1 Apply the styptic pencil to your face as needed.
d10-1d10-2 Apply the aftershave balm, and take time to massage it in to your skin.

Those are the basics of a successful wet shave. If you cut yourself a little, don't worry about it, everyone does to begin with, I still do it, but the styptic pencil takes care of the nicks and cuts. The important thing is to take your sweet time, not thinking about anything other than the shave. Be sure to breathe calmly and try to enjoy yourself.
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Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:00 am
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Myth: Wetshaving is vastly more expensive than regular shaving

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner
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I have heard this myth so many times, I can't even remember how many any more. I even believed it myself.

Let's look at the evidence. I live in Norway, so the prices are in NOK.

In the one corner, the Gillette ProGlide razor retails at 199 NOK. Four blades retail at 199 NOK. Proglide Hydragel retails at 69 NOK. This assumes you never cut, and don't need after shave balm. It works out at 467 NOK.

In the other corner, we have a starterkit for traditional shaving, consisting of a 5-pack of blades, a brush, a razor, shaving cream and aftershave balm, which retails at 549 NOK. Add another 5-pack of blades, which retails at 25 NOK. This works out at 574 NOK.

At this point, before any shaving has taken place, wetshaving is, indeed, more expensive. However, let's go a year down the road. The following calculations is based on just buying additional blades and cream, three shaves per week, and changing blades every third shave. We also assume that more shaving cream is needed once every three months.

The Gillette shaver needs new blades after eight weeks, and needs eleven four-packs of blades at a total of 2189 NOK. Three additonal cans of shaving cream comes in at 207 NOK, bringing the total from no shaving to shaving regularly for an entire year to 2863 NOK.

The Wetshaver needs new blades after ten weeks, and needs nine packs of five blades at 25 NOK per pack (assuming they are bought one at a time. If bought in bulk, they come in at 19 nok per pack when buying five packs) and three tubes of shaving cream at 99 NOK per tube. This brings the total for the first year to 1196 NOK.

After a year, that's a saving of a whopping 1667 NOK, or 58%. In addition, after eight weeks, when the Gillette shaver needs new blades, he passes the wetshaver in spendings.

I concede that my assumptions may throw the timeline off, however, the substantial point, that wetshaving not only is not vastly more expensive than regular shaving, but rather significantly cheaper, still stands.

Myth BUSTED!

Sources:
Gillette prices: https://www.boots.no/butikk/s/products/category.html?categor...
Wetshave prices: http://www.barbershop.no/gavesett/barbering-startsett-1.htmlhttp://www.barbershop.no/barberutstyr/barberblader/barberbla...http://www.barbershop.no/produsenter/proraso/proraso-barberk...
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Sun Apr 8, 2012 6:00 am
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How I got to where I am

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner
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I remember way back when, when I was just a little kid, how my dad would spend a long time in front of the mirror, lathering up and shaving, lathering up and shaving. He always seemed to enjoy shaving, and I looked forward to starting shaving myself.

When I did start shaving, it was a huge let-down. I was constantly plagued with razor-burn, and I could never understand why. No matter how fancy a razor I used, or how many blades it had, I always got it. No matter what foam I used, or what after-shave balm I used, my face would be red for a day or two after shaving.

When in the Navy, shaving was a daily occurrence, and a daily ritual of pain. When Pesach came around, I got a letter from my rabbi, and got dispensation from the demands of shaving until the end of the Omer count. I found I was able to grow a decent beard, and applied for, and was allowed to, abstain from removing it.

Yet, still, my torment remained, as my mustache never looked good, and I needed to shave that at least. I turned to electric razors which helped, but only a little.

Shaving became a chore, and not one I enjoyed.

That is, until I discovered wet shaving with a traditional safety razor. I found a site called barbershop.no, who not only sold shaving equipment, but who also featured some videos on how to get a good wet shave. Before I knew it, I had decided to become a wet shaver, and to do so using a one-bladed razor.
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Sun Apr 1, 2012 10:26 pm
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(A preliminary) Definition of terms

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner
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Caveat lector: This is in no way a comprehensive list, but rather intended to give you an inkling of the world I am trying to tell you about. I am not an expert, but rather a happy amateur. Updated versions will come.

Types of razor:
Cartridge razor: This is what most of us imagine when we say "razor". These razors consist of one or more blades, set in a cartridge. Typical manufacturers include Gillette and Wilkinson Sword.
Safety razor: This is the father of the cartridge razor. It uses a one- or two-sided blade, which is fastened in the razor using a screwing mechanism.
Straight razor: The grandfather of cartridge razors, the straight razor is the open blade favored by many barbers, usually hinged, so that the blade folds into the handle when not in use.


Left to right: cartridge, safety and straight razor.

Types of brush:
Synthetic fibre: These are the cheapest brushes around. They usually don't last too long, and the fibres are usually very stiff. Most people I have talked to avoid them. Be prepared to spend a lot longer making the lather if you go for these brushes.
Boar hair: These are the cheapest of the animal hair brushes. The hairs are less stiff than the synthetic brushes. When new, these brushes tend to smell when made wet, this dissipates over time. Making lather takes a shorter time than with synthetic brushes, but longer than badger brushes.
Badger hair: Badger hair brushes range from Pure Badger (coarsest, come from the hair covering 60% of the badger's body), via Best Badger and Super Badger to Silvertip. The latter three come from the softer 20-25% of the hair of the badger. As a rule, badger brushes are softer than other brushes, and making lather is quicker than what it is when using boar hair. Badger hair brushes are more expensive than other brushes, and top-quality silvertip brushes with high-wuality handles can sell for over $1000.

Types of foam:
Pressurized can: So-called brushless foam or cream, this is what most people imagine when you say shaving foam. It comes in a pressurized can, and makes a lather with little to no work.
Soft cream: A cream that comes in a tube, a little amount is placed in the lathering bowl or cup, and worked until a lather is attained.
Soft soap: A soft soap that usually comes in a container, the brush is worked directly on the soap until a lather is attained.
Hard soap: A hard soap of which shavings are made to place in a cup to work with a brush until a lather.
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Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:00 am
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Mission statement

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner
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I will be a good example to my fellow gamers. I will demonstrate how, by using a little more time and effort, personal hygiene may become a pleasurable event, every single time.

I will give specific advice based on my own experience, and my main focus will be on the art of shaving.
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Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:39 pm
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I am shaven gamer

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner
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Many of you may know me as a bearded gamer, and indeed, I am. Here is photographic proof:



However, I am also a shaven gamer. I do not wear a mustache, and my wife certainly prefers me not to be stubbly. For years I kept using the multibladed razors from the big brand names, and every time it was a chore. I did not enjoy it, and I certainly did not want to do it for any other reason than looking presentable.

When I did not shave using a multibladed razor, I used an electric one. I got less razorburn, but there was no enjoyment in that either.

These days, I hugely enjoy shaving. It is an essential part of my routine, and I feel fresh and pampered once I'm done.

In this blog, I will talk a little about how this change came about, and what I do.
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Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:37 pm
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