It's not often you willingly let another man hold a razor-sharp (literally!) blade to your throat, but at male-centric grooming places such as We Need A Hero in Tiong Bahru, it's actually quite therapeutic.
I don't usually shave, and even when I do it's with an electric shaver, so I was skeptical how a good a complete wet shave costing S$55 could be. It was an impromptu thing too - I just happened to be scruffy enough to be demoed upon during the opening of the Hero's Den, the retail section of We Need A Hero.
Like a spa session, only much manlier
We hear about people "indulging" themselves at a spa all the time. But if you're like me and grew up in the testosterone-filled 80's on a steady media diet of Schwarzenegger and Stallone, going to a spa was reserved strictly for women and "girly-men". I'm a lot more accepting of that nowadays for other people, but when it comes to myself, I'd still never do it. Maybe it's the inherent danger that a sneeze could lead to a severed carotid artery, the possibility you could be scarred for life by an errant flick of the blade.
But this, I could really get used to. First the barber trimmed the longer hairs on my face with a clipper, before he applied a cream to prime my face for the bladed contact to come. He then proceeded to wrap a really hot towel around my face, apparently to open all the pores and let the cream take hold. It was surprisingly relaxing.
After a couple of minutes, we moved on to the business end of the session: the shave itself. Lather was applied using a Kent badger effect brush to lubricate the area, which also felt rather good, and then deft strokes of steel from the straight-edged razor followed. It was completely painless, with the only sensation being akin to somthing rough being gently scraped across your skin.
Apparently, it's recommended to only shave with the grain to avoid excessive irritation, which applies to regular razors too. Besides clean shaves, you can opt for the barber to sculpt your facial hair or beard as you wish as well. Then it was time to apply the aftershave, and quite literally wrap up the entire affair with a cold towel to close all those pores back up and lock everything in.