I’m thrilled to see that some of the popular straight razor and shaving forums — such as Badger and Blade and SRP — are including discussion of and by women about using straight razors to shave.
While there are definitely environmental reasons to use traditional razors, which are much less wasteful and can last a lifetime, I have also suggested that using straight razors is conducive to a lovely self-care ritual, and that the accessories and products associated with traditional shaving are luscious and beautiful. And there are women who use straight razors!
Personally, I do not use a straight razor for my underarms. This is not because it is not possible, but because I tend to sometimes rush in shaving my underarms and find using a safety razor hassle free.
I use a short handled Mercur safety razor (above), although I think I would prefer one with a longer handle. The blades are easy to replace, and the bottom screw/unscrew fastener makes both cleaning and changing the blade so simple. The blades are from a sample pack, and I’m not particular about the difference between Japanese and German blades, although some are. The forums will have much more to offer in terms of insight and opinions on that matter.
There have been some questions on my blog previously about shaving the armpit area. This is what I find works for me.
For my legs, I find the short handle safety razor works fine. However, like plastic disposable razors, if your leg hair is coarse or it’s been a while since your last shave, given the area you’re shaving on your legs, I find the safety razor can get a little clogged in a way that the straight razor doesn’t. So, my preference for leg-shaving is to use a straight razor.
I never did know the truth about it, about toes-for-thumbs-Nicole.
But once that utterance evaporated, more than the scent of a breath-mint lingered. My imagination was in thrall. Like that beautiful scene in Doubt, when pillow feathers rain and scatter through the boroughs’ brick-lined streets and Philip Seymour Hoffman denounces: “That Is Gossip” — no amount of good intention or fact could undo the damage done. Curiosity is like a stray thread — begging to be prodded and pulled until one’s entire sweater has come undone.
There is no way to know who said it: toes-for-thumbs-Nicole. Or even if it were my own mind’s insidious whisper. But I became mildly fascinated by her grotesque hands – so deceptively normal – as we painted a still life in acrylics on neighbouring, rickety easels. Those stubby thumbs with a pronounced outward arch. I would steal glances to notice but never see if her knuckles bore a scar. To this day I’ve never repeated those words, to her, or about her – it seemed unspeakably cruel, somehow. Yet I couldn’t help but wonder: what do her feet look like?
Someone once said (I’m almost sure of it): start where you live. I will do exactly that in a series of reflections on my home, hearth and heart, and how I keep in them glowing in tough times.
Not that I particularly like hardship, or economic recessions, or joblessness… but in all the crap that is inevitably part of downturns, I try to find (and perhaps cling to) the silver linings of these cloudy times.
Up until I recently moved, my home was the city — a bustling kaleidoscope of life with all its excitement and anxieties. It’s home to the rich, the poor, the good, the bad, the meek, the demanding, and me.
I lived in a colourful neighbourhood. Acquaintances call it ‘urban’ and ‘edgy’; friends admit it’s sketchy; and strangers, well they don’t come by much. However, it has recently been prime condo-boom territory… until the recession. I have nothing against redevelopment and greater residential density in a city-centre region well serviced by public transit and parks, but I do think gradual change is both more authentic and less disruptive of the current community. Especially since the anticipated community is young, single and wealthy while the existing community fabric is a mosaic of low-income families, high wealth individuals, artists and a significant marginal population who, while not home-owners, are very much tennants of the space.
Diatribe aside, I’m opening a crisp new chapter heading in my blog on home, with emphasis on making beautiful spaces on a dime. Keep your eyes peeled for new entries on how to pay like a pauper & live like a king.
Sometimes when I was younger I would play make-believe. I had a big old costume box, which was really a cardboard filing box that I had claimed with a sharpie and poor spelling. It was a treasure trove. It was the turn of the century. It was a far away fairy land, a kingdom where flower petals and rain water were the special ingredients in magical potions and flowing scarves were anything from veils to skirts to wings. Wondrous, garish chiffon and silk – scarves had transcendent power. You became something else with the right scarf.
Some things never change.
Everything Old is New Again:
Marilyn Monroe & Lindsay Lohan
Marilyn Monroe & unknown
Grace Kelly & Stana Katic
Sophia Loren & Beyonce
Brigitte Bardot & Nicole Richie
‘Little Edie” Bouvier Beale & Jennifer Lopez
And then there is a host of contemporary celebrity scarf styles which keeps the imagination and play-acting going.
With Hallowe’en mere days away, I’m pleased that my vision of a perfect Trick or Treat night is coming together. That’s right … I’ll be drinking wine by the fire and doing a puzzle with a girlfriend, periodically pausing our chit chat to answer the door and give candy to cute little bunnies and robots and vampires and princesses.
Given how popular my previous entry on using straight razors for shaving was, I have decided to put together a little ditty on shave straight alter egos based on a handful of iconic celebrities, their style vibe, and a mouthwatering sample of the shaving accessories available for your pleasure …
So go ahead — take a gander and consider: Who are you?
Girl Next Door:
A fresh-faced practical hottie, you sleep in boxers and a T-shirt (sometimes both) and adore the recent trend of flats and comfortable boots. You always had a crush on your big brother’s cute friends, but never had the guts to wear the red bikini you bought for ‘tanning’ when they were over.
Rachel Bilson —
Your bathroom is stocked with drugstore staples: Head and Shoulders 2-in-1 shampoo, Lever 2000 soap & Nivea body moisturizer. To match your sensible self-care routine, your shaving accessories are simple with clean lines – even slightly boyish, as though they were hand-me-downs from big-brother when he moved away for college.
A sun-kissed natural beauty, you literally shine. Must be all that organic vegetarian fare and yoga… Whatever, as long as you feel great, get to play outside, sing out loud and laugh your ass off, it’s a good day. As a kid you idolized Leonardo DiCaprio, and even though you still kinda do, you’re more into Woody Harrelson and Sean Penn – it’s a tough decision, kinda like when you turned 16 and had to pick: horses or Harleys.
Sheryl Crow —
More of an outdoor shower, really, your cedar-and-slate sanctuary is stocked with great product: Burt’s Bees, Aveda, and a real pumice stone keep you buff and glowing. In keeping with your ethics and whimsy, your shaving accessories are crafts that have a story behind them and make you smile.
With abs you could wash laundry on, your hot body is worth all the work, especially when you flaunt it on stage like the flesh-covered firecracker of angst that you are. Hell yeah. Sex-on-a-stick, you’re all woman and proud of it. The scars and tattoos are milestones of the memories that make you what you are: strong, loud, and up for the ride of a lifetime.
Since you love sweat, tattoos, whiskey and 5-cent candies, your bathroom has a champagne bucket for your Jameson, and the polished cement sink counter top has glass containers of sour peaches alongside Q-tips, Dirty Girl bubble bath and Cake body scrub. A charismatic contradiction, your shaving accessories are flashy, sensual, feminine, and jagged – reminders that anything a man can do, you can do better.
You believe all beauty regimes begin with drinking water and end with sunscreen — after all, your mother taught you the most important thing about wearing make-up is how to take it off with the right cleanser, toner and moisturizer for your skin type. It is no surprise then that your skin is smooth as chamomile-infused-milk. All the better for wearing pert skirts with cute polo shirts or lady-like dresses to brunch.
Reese Witherspoon —
Your bathroom is a peaceful as a cloud: white veined marble, his and her pedestal sinks, and potted moon orchids on the windowsill behind your claw-foot soaker tub. It might shock your mother-in-law, but you started shaving with a straight razor because it is completely feminine; as such your accessories are delicate works of art that remind you how precious beauty is.
You want to be a legend. You are already a princess. And L’Oreal stole their “Because you’re worth it” line after overhearing your mother and you in conversation. Every inch of your body is perfection: curves, planes, secret bits… Never mind a diamond in the rough, you’re so perfectly cut the crown jewels are jealous. Holla!
Your boudoir is palatial in grandeur and sparkles like the milky way – crystal chandeliers and gilt mirrors glitter as you knowingly smirk at your infinite reflections. If honey and caramel made a lovechild body product, it would be named after you. Until then, you stick to the classics: Shiseido and Guerlain. Similarly, your shaving accessories are exotic and luxe.
You’ve never put much stock in textbook pretty. You were more into modernist poetry and Kierkegaard as far as books went. You know you’re stunning and how to make a guy desperate for you, while wishing he were half as cool as you — really, it makes dating a bit of a hassle. You frontline for a band that’s pretty tight, but have to admit you’ve had better luck as a music video extra than lead singer. Except fund-raisers – those shows are packed.
Natalie Portman —
Since you share your bathroom with two roommates, you like multipurpose, compact products: Bed Head, Neutrogena and Covergirl — shh! Nobody’s used the bath since you moved in, but you love to steam up the little space when you shower — it makes the lavender travel candle you light for a touch of luxury on a budget flicker and smoke; it reminds you of a club. Like the chipped mirror medicine cabinet where you keep it all, you like your shaving accessories to be retro, functional and campy.
You love to travel, swim in the ocean, and eat meals with your foodie friends. Beauty comes from that: having fun and being loved. A style chameleon, you’ve always felt that things like you rather than the other way around — objects that you pick up along the way in life, one day just become part of who you are. A decor magazine asked to feature your home, but you declined because you didn’t understand why they’d want to.
Jessica Alba —
It might sound flaky, but you like individual things and believe that if each piece has a good look and feel, they’ll work together, like an imperfect but loving family. So it stands that your bathroom has mismatched Moroccan lanterns, a four paneled folding Chinese screen, and a vintage copper tub. Your shaving gear is also mismatched, but totally jives.
You have timeless Hollywood appeal with tons of personal taste. You are gorgeous and sure of yourself, and that confidence only gets more alluring with time. You love being a woman, and recognize that vulnerability and imperfections make you strong and real — and that, more than anything, is sexy.
Kate Winslet —
Your bathroom is a private homage to the senses: the sensual textures of granite and silk beckon, candlelight caresses steam, Debussy whispers his nocturnes, rosewater tickles your nose, and a smoky, full-bodied red awaits you beside the tub. Your cabinets offer up a choice of Lancome and Crabtree & Evelyn delights to pamper yourself with. The secret to moments like this is to lather yourself in time and love, and using striking classic shaving accessories make that easy.
You strut to the beat of your own drum; sometimes it’s a preprogrammed Casio samba rhythm. You’re not self-conscious, nor are you really self-confident: it’s just bodies. All bodies are beautiful aren’t they — you just gotta be open to see. And besides, time is fleeting; mistakes come and go, so it’s best to make a few. Rumour has it we regret what we don’t do, rather than what we do… so your policy is to do, to take risks: live, laugh and love big. If you don’t give yourself fully to each moment, how can you expect each moment to give back?
Maggie Gyllenhaal —
Your bathroom is part sanctuary, part showroom. It has an old-timey record player beside a Japanese soaker tub that is surrounded by pillar candles and tucked behind a Turkish screen. But it is also home to your three favorite collections: your vibrators, perfume bottles and framed butterflies. You want your shaving accessories to keep you on edge – so you pick art pieces that are reminiscent of that peak between pleasure and pain. Oh, and your Opium is handy — the Yves Saint Laurent body wash (seriously).
I’m curious… what is your alter ego? (I can’t decide.)
Most of the blades and mugs featured in this post are vintage, and drawn from collectors or auction sites. In the meantime, here are a few websites that offer discussion-boards, and products for sale. In the future, I’ll give my 2-cents on sites and products.