La Pogonotomia IV


One should have two razors stand by in case that one might refuse during the procedure, preventing the foam from drying out. Index finger and thumb are placed on the flanks of the tang; the middle finger on the plug connecting handle and tang, the ring finger on the handle, and the little finger on the other side of the handle (handle pointing upwards between middle and little finger). Very important is to keep the skin under tension.

There are rules, described below, where and how to put your fingers and how to keep the razor, but it is necessary to experiment yourself and to find the best position both to shave and to keep the skin under tension. All movements should come from the wrist; the arm kept suspended somehow.

One should keep the razor in the right hand, put your left arm over your head and put your fingers of the left hand just below the right ear, and stretch the skin. Put the razor under the fingers, the back not touching the skin, and shave in a few strokes to the jaw angle. Remember always that the point of maximal tension is just before the fingertips, so replace them with the razor in order to prevent injuries. Then put the fingers on the cheek and shave downwards to the jaw.

Then proceed with the left side. If you want to use the left hand for that, take the razor in the left hand and stretch with the right hand as indicated above. For beginners, ambidexterity is difficult; it is also possible to shave with the dominant hand only, as follows.

After having shaved the right cheek, take the left hand to the left ear, keep the razor below it with the right hand, and shave downwards to the jaw, repeating this in vertical downward strokes until you reach the corner of the mouth. For the moustache, take the nosetip upwards and stretch the upper lip by opening your mouth. Shave downwards, guiding the back by the nose. In that way, the razor rotates along its point-angle axis, which is called 'coup de maitre'. It implies cutting and rotating simultaneously on a stretched upper lip, thus preventing injuries. After having shaved under the nosetip, keep the tip aside and shave the lateral parts of the lip downwards.

The chin is difficult: put the left hand to the left cheek and under the left corner of the mouth and stretch well. Put the blade just before the fingers, and shave from left to right untill the chin, making the movement of a scythe. Then replace the point of tension towards where you stopped shaving, somewhere left from the chin, then 'scythe' towards the other side of the chin. Instead of two strokes, you can use three or four, constantly replacing the point of tension to just before the edge, because you cut easily at this site. Then repeat on the right side with the razor again in the right hand. Finish at the chin, using the round point to prevent cutting the lower lip. This is not possible with a square point.

The last part is the neck. Lift the head, stretch at the chin, shave from chin downwards, vertically. Then repeat this more laterally, shaving downwards, first left, then right. Here, also use scything movements. Then put your finger on the chin and shave upwards to the lower lip, using the finger as a guide for the back.

No matter how good a razor is, there are two types of hair which resist this firts shave: coiling hairs and hairs which grow in different directions. Therefore, a second shave against the grain is always necessary. This procedure is different for every person; find the best grip and study the grain; sometimes it is necessary to shave horizontally from left to right. In general: the procedures of the first shave but then in the opposite direction. Some points are important: Stretch, keep the point of tension just before the edge at all times, and make a scything movement at points where this was indicated above. Scything means that the direction of cutting changes a little, and the whole edge is used successively during one cutting movement. Use the tongue to stretch the skin when necessary, or pinch the skin between fingers and then pull. Study carefully the direction of growth of the hairs at all places.