I’m a beard kinda guy that comes from a bearded family line. My father and both of my grandfathers had beards – on my mother’s side, my grandpa had a borderline grizzly bear wild kind of beard, while my dad’s dad had an almost artistic look to his facial hair, perfectly trimmed and maintained. Of course, ever since high school, I’ve walked in the steps of my male ancestry, proudly displaying the inherited genetic trait, with a preference for something in between wild and maintained. Occasionally though, I’ve shaved my beard off entirely, mostly because I’m feeling too lazy or too rushed to take the time for proper trim, but sometimes it feels good having that smooth fresh face, especially when the weather starts to heat up. Having a large beard, while dealing with triple-digit temperatures, isn’t pleasant, to say the least.
Anyways, lately, I have not had the option of shaving. Why? Well, I’m in a relationship, and my significant other forbids to me shave off the beard. “You look so much better with it,” she says.
“If I pull up, and you’ve shaved off your beard, you’re sleeping on the couch.”
“You look like a child without a beard.”
“I’m not attracted to beardless men.”
Needless to say, for two years now, I have worn my beard, occasionally wondering to myself what it would feel like to free my face, but too scared about what the reaction from “you know who” would entail. This is a joke of course! Sort of? Maybe? She’d still love me without a beard right? I hope so.
When I heard the news, “Hey babe, I was accepted into the summer program over in England,” yes, the first thought that went through my mind involved how terrible it would be spending a whole summer alone, but you know, eighty some odd days isn’t eternity – distance makes the heart grow founder and all that jazz – besides, this meant I finally had the option to shave my beard without having to deal with any of the relational reactions my imagination kept conjuring.
With such a big decision on my plate – a complete shave would be my first in two years! – choosing between blades became a difficult endeavor. In the past couple of years, I’ve definitely used razors here and there, but again to trim, not for the full-fledged shave off. These have mostly been the cheap throw away kind, to deal with places around my neck, since my preferred trimming mechanism involves clippers. Even within these small areas, however, I usually experience some type of razor burn. I’ve been told by my barber that I have sensitive skin…and with this in mind, it became quite the task, choosing between the so many options all claiming to help those with my “condition.”
I decided to go with Gillette’s SkinGuard Razor. As one who appreciates brilliant marketing, what swayed me was a delightful commercial featuring a fireman with braces.
I went all out and ended up using Gillette’s Soothing Shave Gel as well since the shaving cream underneath my bathroom sink…being two years old and all…you get the picture. I had to trim first, using scissors, after which I used my clippers. The tendency of my beard is to eventually grow curly, so you can imagine the scene, hair everywhere. Then I applied the shaving gel, started to completely shave, and oh my goodness, it was just like that adorable fireman said, so smooth! The SkinGuard razor has this little strip (or guard) in between the blades, which somehow keeps away the tug and pull, something that especially happens to someone with a beard like mine, as the curly hair tends to resist even a good sharp blade. The gel did what you would expect it to and was a little messy, since I definitely applied too much, inexperienced as I’ve become with the sort of thing. Honestly, the gel didn’t seem that different than any other I’ve used in the past. Still, back to the razor, while I don’t plan on keeping the entirely shaven look (I do look like an adolescent), it’s rather obvious that I’ve been using inferior razors for maintenance. Considering that the SkinGuard starter pack (two blades and the handle) is only ten bucks and since refills are only $24 for an 8 pack, the cost difference between the cheap blades really isn’t substantial enough for me to not keep on using the SkinGuard.
When I told my girlfriend about shaving, she replied, “Thank God I’m not home.” And at least for the near future, we will not be FaceTiming! Still, the SkinGuard razor is great, like really great. You can find one really anywhere, but the best bang for your buck that I found comes from Walmart and Amazon…a whole three cents cheaper!
Featured Image obtained on the official Gillette website.