The last two weeks I have written up a review of shaving books that are available for sale.  I have continued to garner some great feed back on this and will continue until I run out of books (One or two posts more).  The first shaving book review was broken down into three categories:

  1. The Good = Good content, well written, not overly skewed by personal opinion.  Good formatting, grammar, and spelling.   If a book has decent content and is presented in a easily readable format.
  2. The Bad = Poor content and/or poorly written.  Poor formatting, grammar, and spelling.  Not worth the price and also possibly heavily skewed by authors opinions.
  3. The Complete Wastes Of Your Money = Meets one of two criteria.  Either so badly written it doesn’t even qualify for The Bad category or is a reprint of material you can obtain for free.

While these are probably not the most nuanced of categories, I will keep using them for the rest of the review.  Lets get to it!

Check out the rest of the reviews here:

Part 1:   Shaving Book Reviews:  The Good, The Bad, and The Complete Wastes Of Your Money

Part 2:    Shaving Book Review Part 2:  Things Start to Look Up

The Good

The Art of the Straight Razor Shave by Chris Moss

Dr. Chris Moss has written a free PDF featuring a write up pertaining to straight razor shaving.  This is hosted by the folks at the Shavemyface.com shave forum.

PROS:  I will be honest and say I really like this booklet.  It covers some basic history, and all of the aspects of straight razor shaving.

CONS:  The only quibble I would have is Dr. Moss having a distinct preference badger hair brushes and dismissing synthetic and boar brushes.   This book was written in 2005 so it is possible the variety available was not as good as it is today.

CONCLUSION:  Get this book, end of story.  It’s free and it’s a great resource.  This is the best straight razor oriented book available.  Pair this with Leisureguy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving  and there isn’t much more you can read about how to wet shave.  Officially on The Good list.

 

 Shaving – The Beginner’s Masterclass: A Guide To Getting a Straight Razor Shave Made Easy

This is a book written by Tyrone Humphries.  The book is written with the new straight razor shaver in mind.

PROS  A very well written and formatted book.  One of the few shaving e-books that actually reads like a book.   Both equipment and technique are covered for the new straight razor user.

CON:  Calls cartridge razors “safety razors” and  safety razors “DE razors.”  A minor quibble but annoying all the same.  Not sure if I agree with some of quoted prices in the book, but I may be a little  pickier in my equipment choices than a lot of new wetshavers.

CONCLUSION:  I was a bit surprised, but this is a good book and one that I would recommend to a new straight razor user.  While I would of liked to see more depth in the topics, I realize that there is only so much that a book can convey.  This book makes The Good list.

The Bad

 Shaving without the Bloodbath: The Gentleman’s Guide to Your Perfect Shave

This is an ebook written by Andy Tate.  This is a book that covers all forms of hair removal, however briefly.  Topics include waxing, beard trimmers, cartridge razors, and DE razors.

PROS:  Well formatted book with a friendly writing style.  Book touches upon all  forms of hair removal (from wax, to electric to safety razors) and some solutions to common problems when shaving.  Advocates shaving cream instead of the canned goo.

CONS:  Gives more weight to cartridge razors than anything else and only briefly touches upon badger hair shaving brushes.  Straight razors are only mentioned so you can be warned away from them.

CONCLUSION:  While this book touches upon many subjects, it is not a good resource for any of them.  After reading this you get the feeling that this is more of an advertising and branding campaign for the author’s razor website http://bestrazorformen.co.uk/.   Save your money for something else.  This book earns The Bad rating.

 

 Shave With a Straight Razor – A Guide for Beginners

Written by John Davis.  Read this in an ebook format.  A guide written for beginning straight razor users.  Covers all aspects of straight razor shaving.

PROS:  Well written and formatted, the author has a passion for traditional wet shaving.

CONS:  The author has quite a few opinions that I disagree with or that are just wrong.

  • Stainless steel is no good for a straight razor and only use carbon steel.
  • Only use natural materials for razor scales and brush handles and don’t trust plastic,
  • Horsehide strops are better than cowhide.
  • Good shaving soaps are rare.
  • New razors are commonly shipped shave ready.

Weather or not you agree with all of the above statements, telling a new wet shaver something like that could seriously hamper their ability to achieve a good shave.

CONCLUSION:  Have you ever really wanted to like something?  I wanted to like this book, I really did.  There is some good advice here and the author is obviously passionate about wet shaving, BUT I can’t recommend this.  There are too many opinions stated as facts for me to be comfortable recommending this book.  While this book has some great info I have to put it in The Bad list.


Happily enough, there was nothing that made the Complete Waste of Your Money category this time around.. though one or two came close IMO.  In wrapping up I will state that I have 5 more books lined up for review next week.  One of them is a brand new book to the market that I just downloaded.  It better be good.  If the price is any indication the author certainly thinks so.

Once again I hope this was of some help.  If there is a book you want reviewed let me know.  Before I wrap up, I wanted to ask you a favor.  If you liked this article and found it helpful please like, share, or comment below to help spread the word.  Have a great day and a smooth shave!

Matt