By Brian Trepka
Many women do if fact wet shave, but they usually do so with modern implements – multi-blade cartridge razors and shaving foam or gel. Many men and women alike get good shaves from these tools, but many do not. Multi-blade cartridges can be irritating, as you are obviously pulling multiple blades across your skin. Modern gels and foams can be drying. Then there’s the cost of both of these – cartridges in particular are extremely expensive. However, traditional gear can also get costly if you’re not careful.
What’s the prescription for the modern shaving blues? It’s traditional wet shaving, of course: one blade, in a reusable razor that glides over the skin on a protective layer of shaving soap or cream. Even with a modern razor, a proper shaving soap or cream can be a vast improvement. A good soap or cream is slick, cushiony, and moisturizing. You can check out Shannon’s Shaving soaps if you’re interested. Further down the page, there’s a tutorial on how to use them.
Now that you’re sold on shaving soap, let’s talk about razors. There are a number of vintage razors that were manufactured for women, including ones that are curved so as to more easily shave the underarm area. A little more common are the ladies versions of Gillette double edge (DE) safety razors. These are much like their masculine counterparts, but with longer handles aimed at making tough spots like ankles a bit easier to reach. Since many men today like longer handles, there are a number of modern DE razors targeted to men that ladies can also enjoy. There is a bit of a learning curve, and some women (and men too, for that matter) could be intimidated by a DE. A great solution is an injector razor.
The predecessors of injector razors were invented by Jacob Schick, and were originally sold by the Magazine Repeating Razor Company, which Schick founded in 1925. An initial attractive feature of injector razors was that replacement blades were sold in a metal “magazine”, which allowed a blade to be loaded into the razor without the user having to touch it. Perhaps a feature that’s more significant to users of modern razors, is that the injector is used very much like a modern cartridge razor – with the razor head nearly parallel to the skin. In fact, the first cartridge razor, Wilkinson’s Bonded Shaving System, seems very much an evolution of the injector design. A double edge razor is a bit trickier, as the user sets the angle.
Enter the Eversharp Beauty Razor. In 1962, Eversharp, then owner of the rights to the Schick razor, began to market the Eversharp Beauty Razor, an injector with a long handle marketed to women. Not too long ago, I found one on eBay, and bought it for the hefty sum of $1.99. Shannon has long used her shaving soaps to shave, but she was using a twin-blade disposable. I wanted to bring her into the traditional wet shaving scene a bit more, so I decided to include the Eversharp as part* of an anniversary present, because as I said in a Facebook post at the time: “Nothing says ‘I love you’ (and ‘You’re hairy’), like a razor for your anniversary.” I reasoned, as discussed above, that since an injector is similar in form and function to a modern razor, she’d be more likely to use it, and less likely to have problems using it.
Injector blades, while not as easily obtained as DE blades, can still be found occasionally at pharmacies, and are readily available online. As they were once ubiquitous, injector blades were adapted for other uses, such as in scientific dissection tools, so they can often be found at scientific supply houses. They are more expensive than DE blades, but they are said to last longer than DE blades.
So what’s the verdict? According to Shannon, the Lady Eversharp shaves very much like the disposable it has replaced – but better. It’s sharper, smoother, better balanced, and only took a minute to learn how to use. Of course, some credit is owed to the blade, but that’s another benefit – you can find a blade that suits you.
So how about it ladies? Get yourself some soap, a brush, and injector razor, and like more and more men, you too can have a better shave.
* I said part. I’m not crazy, people.