There is widespread consensus among wet shavers that hot water provides the best shave. Nearly every shaving guide I’ve read recommends it, mostly with some claim of superior performance because of how the hot water softens your skin and stubble. There are, of course, some who disagree with this and are instead ardent advocates of cold water shaving.
I enjoy both, and I’m not going to argue that someone gives up one for the other. But while both have always appealed to me for various reasons, this summer I’ve discovered that Proraso soap makes for an excellent cold water experience.
I discovered this one day after a long morning run. It was hot outside, I was trying to cool down before I headed to work, and a warm water shave just didn’t sound very appealing. So I lathered up with as cold of water as I could get, and went to shaving.
The result was wonderful. A hot shave with Proraso creates a sauna like soothing, both in feel and smell. But by shaving cold when I was already warm the normal tingles and sharp smell created a chilling effect, much like when you step outside on a cold day and feel the air crisp your skin and chill your nose with each breath. By the time I finished my face was smooth and cold feeling, a sharp contrast with how I started, and with a splash of spice aftershave it felt almost holiday like. It was one of the most refreshing shaves I’ve ever had.
The cold water did have some draw backs. It thickened the soap, so when I needed to clean the blade of stubble I’d have to run it under hot water to break up the gunk, then back under cold to chill the now clean blade for the next pass. But, with modern indoor plumbing this really wasn’t a problem at all. By being cold it also made it more difficult to lather, again because of thicker soap. A bit more water than usual did the trick on that part.
Whichever works best for you, do it. But how to use cold water to change the experience is a trick I’m slowly working to build. And if I ever have to shave away from hot water, at least I’ll be used to it!