Shaving in Basic (or, I joined the Army, how do I shave?)

Thoughts and input on anything related to wet shaving or men's grooming.
DieMonkeys
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Shaving in Basic (or, I joined the Army, how do I shave?)

Post by DieMonkeys »

So, I recently joined the Army and will be leaving in mid-March to go to Basic Training. I have been wet shaving for about three years now and I cannot even fathom going back to disposables and canned goop. Has anyone gone through this before and have any suggestions? Should I bring my safety razor, brush and everything and hope they don't take them away? And should I try to learn a new way of shaving that's much quicker due to the time constraints I will have each night in Basic when they have 70 other guys trying to do the same thing at the same time?
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slimjim5751
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Post by slimjim5751 »

Being an ex soldier myself You will have to keep it simple Favourite blades and Razor most of the time you will only get to make a one pass shave with luck two passes in basic training everything is done at double time you are always pushed to the limit whether you are in the British or the American army then if you get time in the evening have a good shave then, but that will depend on your training schedule, i wish you good luck and a long career.
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paperpundit
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Post by paperpundit »

First off, thank you for your service.

Next, stick around a little while and soon all the former military guys will chime in on how their stuff was snatched from them during basic. In other words, I'd pack something simple that you didn't care about -- like a Trac II -- and look forward to shaves with a DE after basic.

One clip that has made the rounds around here is a guy shaving out in the field...you can probably find it on youtube.
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GA Russell
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Post by GA Russell »

Congratulations and best wishes DM!

My understanding of basic training in all of the branches is that a primary purpose is to get everyone to fit in. I suspect that being different with your shaving gear won't go over well.
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aircraft_electrician
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Post by aircraft_electrician »

I can't say anything about the Army, but I can tell you in the Air Force we were given about 5 minutes to use the toilet, shave and brush our teeth before PT formation. There is no way I'd try to mix a good lather in that amount of time.

You also don't want to draw the attention of your instructors unnecessarily. They'll find enough things to make your life rough without teasing you about using your grand dad's razor or not using foam from a can like everyone else.

It's only a few weeks...once you've graduated you can go back to enjoying your shaves again...if Army Basic is like Air Force Basic, you won't have time to enjoy it any way, even with a good razor and brush.

Tom
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Post by BeatlesFan »

Thank you for your service and good luck to you.

During basic, I'd ditch wet shaving altogether and just go electric. I like Braun myself, but others prefer Philips / Norelco. Just do what you can to get an acceptable shave in 3 to 4 minutes without fuss. It's not great, but you should pass inspection, and you can use it anywhere (sink or no sink).

(You might even try a Panasonic electric in the shower . . .)

I personally can't do anything acceptable with a wet shave in 3 minutes, but can do "OK" with my Braun in that time-frame.

After basic, you'll probably want to get back into wet shaving.

Alternatively, you could see what you can do quickly with a Bic disposable and a can of Barbasol . . . still not great but it might be acceptable for a few weeks!

Good luck to you.
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Post by Squire »

Disposables, canned foam or gel and learn to use them quick. Those DIs will give you enough to think about other than whether your lather is properly hydrated.
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Post by Moe »

In USAF basic training, in 1971 (the year the Trac II was introduced), we all still used 3-piece DE razors and canned foam from the BX. Because everything in your footlocker had to be immaculate, we each had a spotlessly clean "presentation" razor with blade in it, and an unused can of foam. We were also allowed to have spares in the bottom of the footlocker.

Each 8-man squad had another 3-piece DE razor, of which each piece was carried during the day by different individuals. Each night, a different man donated a razor blade, can of foam, and bar of soap (yes, the "presentation" one in your soap dish in the footlocker had to be immaculate). Eight guys shared one blade, one can of foam, and one bar of soap, and pitched what was left. The guys who got the end of the blade got a rough shave.

There's absolutely no way one could keep an electric razor as perfectly clean as they required things to be.

Caveat: This was before AIDS, so sharing, especially a blade, wasn't a big deal.

As others have said, take a cheap Trac II and can of foam and play it by ear. And thank you for your service!
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Post by aircraft_electrician »

We were also reqiured to keep our razors and canned goo as clean as possible, however, their idea of as clean as posible was impossible, so we all kept a "presentation" set in our locker and hid the "user" set in the bottom of our laundry bag.

Standard Disclaimer:
I'm not recommending any one in basic training hide anything in their laundry bag, it's just an area that we discovered our particular instructors didn't search.

Tom
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Post by Moe »

aircraft_electrician wrote:I'm not recommending any one in basic training hide anything in their laundry bag, it's just an area that we discovered our particular instructors didn't search.
We lived out of our laundry bag, which strangely enough, had a zipper in the bottom so you didn't have to undo the perfectly wrapped and tied knot on the bed foot board. We were allowed to have clean t-shirts, shorts, and socks that "weren't quite dry" in the cloth bag, as well as dirty clothes in a clear, plastic bag inside the cloth bag.

Most of our t-shirts, shorts, and socks were washed one time, ironed and folded, and put out for presentation in the footlocker. We used inside out loops of masking tape to hold these and other things in place in the footlocker, which would often "accidentally" be kicked by the TI/DI when they wanted to write you demerits for "items out of place."

You could also smack a can of shaving cream, deodorant, etc on the floor to put a flat spot on the back, so it wouldn't roll.

Lots of other tricks for getting through we haven't even begin to touch here.
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Post by ichabod »

BeatlesFan wrote:Thank you for your service and good luck to you.

During basic, I'd ditch wet shaving altogether and just go electric. I like Braun myself, but others prefer Philips / Norelco. Just do what you can to get an acceptable shave in 3 to 4 minutes without fuss. It's not great, but you should pass inspection, and you can use it anywhere (sink or no sink).

(You might even try a Panasonic electric in the shower . . .)

I personally can't do anything acceptable with a wet shave in 3 minutes, but can do "OK" with my Braun in that time-frame.

After basic, you'll probably want to get back into wet shaving.

Alternatively, you could see what you can do quickly with a Bic disposable and a can of Barbasol . . . still not great but it might be acceptable for a few weeks!

Good luck to you.
My thoughts were very similar - when I used my Braun electric I could get the hair off my face in about two and a half minutes. By my now much higher standards it was a disgraceful shave, but for basic training I imagine it'd pass inspection and buy you time.
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swarden43
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Post by swarden43 »

First, thanks for serving!
I'm retired Air Force myself. I echo what the other military guys have said. It's only for a short time. Don't try and draw unnecessary attention to your self. One of the things Basic Training is designed to do is force you learn how to quickly adapt and overcome. Think of this as your first test!

God's blessings to you!
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Post by KAV »

9:46 Pacific Time, or 0946 and I'm having unexpected flashbacks of bootcamp :shock:
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Post by Furrball2 »

Moe wrote: Each night, a different man donated a razor blade, can of foam, and bar of soap (yes, the "presentation" one in your soap dish in the footlocker had to be immaculate). Eight guys shared one blade, one can of foam, and one bar of soap, and pitched what was left. The guys who got the end of the blade got a rough shave.
And now I see a less nefarious reason why US Military service during the Vietnam period is a risk factor for hepatitis C infection... don't share your used razor blades!
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Post by 95% »

U.S. Army, 1966-68. What Tom said of the Air Force applied to the Army as well. In basic, you had about five minutes, or maybe ten, to do the three S's (s***, shower, and shave) before falling into formation. Later I was assigned to Korea, where these things could be done at greater leisure. You'd walk from your quonset hut, wrapped in a towel, to the latrine down the hill, carrying a kit containing soap, toothpaste and a toothbrush, a can of shaving cream, and a DE razor. All well and good except in the winter, when there often was only cold water for the shower and shave.
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Post by Racso_MS »

Ask your recruiter for a packing list of items to bring or not to bring.

But if you want my advice, take a travel size can of goop, a disposable razor, and the smallest bottle of A/S or Balm you can find. If not issued to you, you will be marched to the PX and made to purchase shaving gear. A DE razor will be taken away from you so fast you won't even remember you had it.

Wait until you get through Basic and AIT and at your permanent duty station before dragging out your DE shaving gear.

For what it's worth.
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DieMonkeys
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Post by DieMonkeys »

Wow, thanks for all the replies! I'm going to look at inexpensive electric razors and see if I can get one soon enough to play around with and see if I can get a passable shave at home. If not I'll just stick with disposables and cans of Barbasol. The only thing that I'm afraid of in Basic is not having enough time to shower and shave properly, the rest should be easy!
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Post by BeatlesFan »

Thanks again for your service and good luck.

You might consider this model of electric razor from Remington. http://www.amazon.com/Remington-MS2-390 ... 113&sr=8-1

For around US$50-$60 (i.e., a pretty inexpensive model), it's considered one of the fastest and closest -- maybe THE closest. It's a bit loud, but that's minor, and you can probably get an acceptable shave in 3 minutes.

You can also get lots of good info at the Electric Shaver Page. http://iavbbs.com/gflinn/ Click on New Tell Mr Steelbeard board, and also "shaving message boards."

Btw, that Remington is washable, so keep it clean!

Finally, it would be my pleasure to send you a bottle of unscented 'Lectric Shave (now discontinued, but much better than the regular, scented stuff). Just PM me, I'll be honored to send you one at no charge. (My chance to support the troops!)

Best of luck!
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Post by aircraft_electrician »

I'm not sure about Army basic, but 11 years ago in the Air Force, electric razors weren't allowed. Everyone had to use a razor, most of used disposables or a Sensor. Even some of our airmen that suffered from nasty razor bumps weren't allowed to use an electric, they had to use a blade.

Check with your recruiter to see if electrics are allowed, and learn to adapt to stupid rules. If you can do what you're told even when it doesn't make sense, you'll do great!

Tom
A razor is a good deal like a gun, much depends on the man behind it - paraphrased from John Philip Sousa

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Post by Moe »

I can't whether they were allowed 39 years ago in USAF basic. But see how long it takes to clean an electric razor to be "inspection-ready" i.e. not a single whisker remnant anywhere inside. That ain't happening and it's gonna be hard and time-consuming enough to get them all off the outside.
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