I have an old Gem Micromatic, exactly like the one in the third photo in the bakelite case here: http://wiki.badgerandblade.com/Micromatic
I used this once a really long time ago. It was awful. Now, I wouldn't hesitate to chalk that up to bad technique or a cheap blade. But does anyone use these daily? Is there a secret I'm missing?
I did a lot of reading last night, and this morning gave it another go. There are some things to learn about safety razors before just diving in, it seems. Damn this thing shaves close. No nicks or cuts, no irritation.
For those interested in today's recipe for success:
- Pre-shave oil seems to be The thing. I've never used it before, nor did I have any. So I raided the pantry and used some sunflower oil (based on the ingredients in some of the DIY shave oil recipes I found). I worked it in and let it sit for a minute before moving on.
- Went back to the badger brush and old fashioned shave soap. I can't remember what brand of soap is in my little lather pot. The brand has long since worn off the puck. The badger hair brush is another must, as it works the lather into, around, and under your stubble.
- Hottest of hot water. It was still from the tap, but I made sure the lather was piping hot, as well as the razor.
- Angle. This is the biggest thing I needed to learn, and would have continued hacking up my face had I not read it. There is a distinct happy angle for these razors. Too far one way and you're not cutting anything. Too far the other and you're brutalizing your skin.
- Followed up with a bit of ye olde Bay Rum aftershave.
I apologize if I'm preaching to the choir. But if you've tried an old school safety razor and hated it, give it another go. You might just fall in love.