The Ritual of Beauty

I’ve made another upgrade to my beauty routine. I’ve recently started old-fashioned wet shaving with a safety razor. Part of this comes from my exposure to shaving soap makers on the soap making forums I’ve started frequenting, and part of it is from a desire to reduce the waste of my routinesTo that end, I purchased a simple, double-edged safety razor set. I got a butterfly razor for easier blade loading, which came with five blades to get me started, along with a badger bristle brush and a stand to hold them while they dry. It all arrived in the mail over the weekend, but I was missing one thing: the soap.

Now, I have been friends with a local soap maker for a number of years, first befriending her when I was experimenting with using shampoo bars. I helped her develop her shampoo bar formula, although I’ve since found shampoo bars in general to be non-ideal for my hair. And she makes a lovely range of scented shaving soaps. Add to that the fact that her shaving soaps are actually fairly highly rated by those on shaving forums, and I knew there was nowhere else I could go for my first shaving soap.

I think I spent an hour at her stand, Mystic Water Soaps, on Sunday. She had one that was my favorite fragrance of hers, jasmine, but she also had a delicious rose-lemon scent. And I discovered her Viola de Bosca fragrance, which is a beautiful, old-fashioned powdery floral. In the end, I went home with a puck of her unscented, sensitive skin soap, and an agreement to come back in a few weeks for samples of the scented soaps.

That evening, I prepared myself for a wonderful beauty ritual. Using such beautiful, well-made products to shave meant I felt like the whole process was more special. So I washed my face and put on a mask with green clay, honey, rosewater, and witch hazel, and then ran a very hot bath. I slipped in and soaked in the water for a few minutes before applying a grapeseed and jojoba oil blend to my legs to soften things up. Then I got to work.

Creating shaving lather is a skill and an art and I was very new at it, but I managed to get a good lather for both my legs. I moved slowly, wary of this new blade and how sharp it might be. But, in the end, I did not even nick myself and was rewarded with soft, smooth legs. I was a bit bold and did my underarms as well. Thoroughly shaved and rinsed, I stepped out of the tub, blotted with a towel, and applied my rosehip-and-tallow balm to seal in the moisture. I rinsed out my shaving mug and wiped off the outside of my soap container. I rinsed the brush and rinsed my razor under running water and set them out to dry. Then, I completed my facial by rinsing off the mask, toning, and applying rosehip oil.

This ritual of beauty left me feeling relaxed and lovely, not just because the treatments had made me more aesthetically pleasing, but because I felt graceful and connected to a tradition of female beauty. Such things make me feel like these practices are bigger than myself, and that is a wonderful thing indeed.

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2 thoughts on “The Ritual of Beauty

  1. How wonderfully cool! Tony uses a safety razor (he’d wanted to get into doing so for years, so two or three Christmases I bought him a really nice one and all the accouterments), but I’ve never tried it myself. You’ve got me thinking I should borrow his and see if it works well for me, too (it certainly is very vintage after all! :D).

    Many hugs & joyful start of autumn wishes,
    ♥ Jessica

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    • I had a lot of fun trying out my safety razor. I’ll admit, I was very nervous, and I definitely had a few moments where I could tell if I were being less careful, I might have cut myself. You can actually find vintage lady’s safety razors on ebay, which some people like a lot. They’re certainly made to last! And so many of the large shaving soap companies have been in business since the 19th century. So I hope you try it out!

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