Wet Shaving Glossary

Wet Shaving Glossary2018-09-15T05:41:30+00:00

Welcome to Bespoke Unit’s Shaving Glossary.

Below is the internet’s largest and most comprehensive shaving glossary with over 200 tonsorial terms with links to our shaving resources for further reading.

How To Use The Shaving Glossary

Find A Term: Use the Alphabet Key below to jump ahead down to the required letter.

Learn A New Term: If you come across another word that you don’t understand, you can use the links to jump to its definition.

Explore Shaving Topics: If you see a “Learn More” link, you can be directed to its relevant guide for more in-depth learning.

Anything Missing? If you can’t find the word you’re after, just leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!

Select a letter below to jump down to its entries!


A

Acquisition Disorder [AD]

A term used among shaving enthusiasts online with large collections that keep expanding through impulse buys.


Across The Grain [XTG]

An optional second pass after shaving With The Grain (WTG). Here, the razor strokes perpendicular to hair growth. Some wet shavers prefer this to Against The Grain (ATG) as it is more forgiving on sensitive skin.

Learn More: Shaving Routes & Directions


Adjustable

A razor which allows the user to adjust the blade gap to become milder or more aggressive according to his tastes. This can be achieved through interchangeable plates or a adjustable knob.


Aggressive

A very sharp razor blade or exposure that cuts hair much more efficiently but has a higher risk in weepers.


Art of Shaving [AOS]

A popular retailer in the USA that offers high-quality shaving supplies.


AS

An acronym for “aftershave”, there are also several variants such as ASB (aftershave balm) and ASL (aftershave lotion).


Ass Milk

Soaps based on donkey’s milk. These offer a very rich and pleasant lather.


Against The Grain [ATG]

The practice of shaving in the opposite direction of the hair’s natural growth. This is usually the final pass and is preceded by With The Grain (WTG) and sometimes Across The Grain (XTG).

Learn More: Shaving Routes & Directions


Alum

An abbreviation of Aluminium Potassium Sulfate. A natural astringent and antiseptic that often comes in the form of a block.


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B

Baby Butt Smooth [BBS]

The closest possible shave achievable with no stubble felt when rubbing the skin with or against the grain. Sometimes the BBS acronym is intended to mean ‘billiard ball smooth.”


Backbone

A term used to describe a shaving brush’s resistance when it is pressed on a hard surface.

Learn More: Assessing A Shaving Brush’s Quality


Badger & Blade [B&B]

A popular internet forum for shaving enthusiasts.


Badger Hair

The natural bristles used for some of the most premium shaving brushes.

Learn More: Shaving Brush Bristle Types


Barber’s Notch

A small, curved notch designed into the point of a straight razor blade.

Learn More: Straight Razor Point Types


Bay Rum

A type of aftershave or hair tonic consisting of bay leaf, spices and rum with roots in the West Indies.


Beardruff

Dandruff in the beard usually caused by dehydrated skin underneath.

Learn More: Why Do I Have Beardruff?


Best Badger

A slightly higher grade of badger hair that is collected from the animal’s belly. It is somewhat better than Pure Badger but much lower than Super Badger.

Learn More: Shaving Brush Bristle Types


Bellied Hollow

A type of straight razor grind that features a small ridge for extra resistance.

Learn More: Straight Razor Grinds & Hollows


Blade Buffing

The act of repeatedly passing the razor over a particular area due to stubborn growth.


Bloom [Bristle]

Bristle bloom refers to the way the bristles of a shaving brush fall when held upright.

Learn More: Assessing A Shaving Brush’s Quality


Bloom [Soap]

The process of adding a some water to shaving soap before using it so it softens. The bloom water can be saved for making the lather afterwards.

Learn More: How To Lather Shaving Soap


Boar Hair

A natural fibre used for making shaving brushes. It’s rougher than badger hair and therefore much cheaper.

Learn More: Shaving Brush Bristle Types


Bowl

A shaving bowl is often used for making lather.


Breaking In

The process of rendering a shaving brush ready for use. This is often necessary with boar hair brushes that can be either quite stiff or give off a strong smell.

Learn More: How To Break In A Shaving Brush


Bristle

The fibres of a shaving brush. They can be made from synthetic or natural hairs such as boar or badger.

Learn More: Shaving Brush Materials & Types


Bulb

The most common bristle shape for a shaving brush.

Learn More: Shaving Brush Bristle Shapes


Butterfly

A safety razor mechanism where the user can turn a knob at the base of the handle to open the razor and replace the blade.

Learn More: Safety Razor Opening Mechanisms


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C

Cartridge Razor

Modern razor blades with interchangeable heads that consist of multiple blades. As they provide inferior shaves and contribute to pollution, they’re perceived as the sworn enemy of traditional wet shaving.


Close, comfortable shave [CCS]

The third closest level of shave that is somewhere between a Darn Fine Shave (DFS) and Socially Acceptable Shave (SAS). The skin is smooth when rubbed with the grain but some stubble can be detected across the grain.


Closed Comb

A safety razor guard bar with small, comb-like points for increased blade exposure.

Learn More: Safety Razor Head Types


Cream

See Shaving Cream.


Croap

A lathering product that shares properties of shaving cream and soap. They’re often firmer than cream but without the hardness of soap.


Cut-Throat Razor

See Straight Razor.


Cutting Edge

The sharp part of a blade used for shaving. Cutting edges on straight razors require maintaining through stropping and honing.

Learn More: Parts Of A Straight Razor [Diagram]


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D

Damn Fine Shave [DFS]

A grade below Baby-Butt Smooth (BBS) where only some stubble can be felt against the grain (ATG).


Double-Edge [DE]

The most common type of safety razor, which features an exposed blade on each side.


Dry Shaving

Effectively the opposite of wet shaving where no lubricant is used. Usually this implies the use of an electric razor or trimmer.


Dutch Point

A rounded straight razor blade point. Also simply known as a “rounded point.”

Learn More: Straight Razor Point Types


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E

Essential Oil

Natural oils extracted from flowers and plants that are often used as a fragrance for soaps and creams.


Exfoliation

The process of scrubbing the skin to remove dead cells and grime. While wet shaving does partly do this, it’s recommended to exfoliate properly beforehand to prevent the build-up of a grime in a blade. It also improves the skin’s appearance.


Extra Hollow

Also known as a “singing” grind, this is one of the thinnest types of straight razor blade possible.

Learn More: Straight Razor Grinds & Hollows


F

Face

Not only the main body part to be shaved but also the name for the blade’s surface area on a straight razor.

Learn More: Parts Of A Straight Razor [Diagram]


Faux Frameback

A Type of straight razor grind designed to mimic the aesthetic of a frameback.

Learn More: Straight Razor Grinds & Hollows


Face Lathering

The process of creating a rich lather directly on the face rather than through the use of a mug.

Learn More: How To Lather Shaving Soap


Fan

Shaving brush bristles that are machine-cut, which results in a fan shape when left to rest.

Learn More: Shaving Brush Bristle Shapes


Flat Top

Shaving brush bristles with hairs shorter at the centre, which gives a flat appearance.

Learn More: Shaving Brush Bristle Shapes


Fluting

See Jimps.


Foam

A canned lathering product that was enormously popular in the late 20th Century. Demand for foam has fallen due to the rise of gel products but also thanks to the renaissance of traditional shaving.


Fragrance Oil

Unlike essential oils, fragrance oils are synthetically blended aromatic compounds.


Frameback

A type of straight razor where the blade can be removed and replaced with age. Unlike shavettes, it’s still a genuine straight razor, which requires honing and stropping.

Learn More: Straight Razor Grinds & Hollows


French Point

A straight razor point with a slightly curved nose offering a balance between safety and precision.


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G

Gel

A modern type of lathering product that is often delivered in a pressurised can. Due to their synthetic composition, they’re often shunned by wet shaving enthusiasts.


Goo

An internet forum term used by wet shaving enthusiasts when referring to mass market canned foam or gel.


Grain

Facial hair’s natural direction of growth. This is an important factor to keep in mind when planning each shave pass.

Learn More: Shaving Routes & Directions


Grind

The shape and design of a straight razor’s blade with regards to its hollowness.

Learn More: Straight Razor Grinds & Hollows


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H

Half Hollow

A slightly thicker concave straight razor grind.
Learn More: Straight Razor Grinds & Hollows


Heel

The starting point of a straight razor’s blade. It’s often either bevelled or finished to prevent accidental cuts.

Learn More: Parts Of A Straight Razor [Diagram]


High Mountain White [HMW]

A very rare grade of badger hair brush made using only the finest follicles between the animal’s shoulder blades.

Learn More: Shaving Brush Bristle Types


Hollow

A concave straight razor grind.

Learn More: Parts Of A Cigar [Diagram]


Honing

The act of sharpening a straight razor with a stone in order to create a sharp edge.

Learn More: How To Hone A Straight Razor


Horse Hair

An alternative to badger and boar hair where the bristles of a shaving brush are made from a horse’s mane and tail hair..

Learn More: Shaving Brush Bristle Types


Hot Towel

A method used by barbers for softening beard follicles before a shave. A warm damp towel is placed over the face until ready for shaving.


Hybrid

A shaving brush bristle shape with both bulb and fan characteristics. Mostly found on synthetic brushes.

Learn More: Shaving Brush Bristle Shapes


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I

Ingrown Hair

A source of great discomfort for some people. Ingrown hairs are irritated bumps or spots caused by hair reentering the skin. Symptoms can be alleviated by proper treatment.

Learn More: The Benefits Of A Post-Shave Regimen


J

Jimps

A knurled finish on the underside of a straight razor’s shank for providing grip.


K

Kamisori

A traditional Japanese razor with a one-sided blade made from a solid plate of metal.

Learn More: Best Straight Razors To Buy Online


Knot

The knot is the part of a shaving brush where the bristles are held together either using glue or other traditional methods. It is hidden inside the handle but can be carefully removed.


Knot Diameter

The way shaving brush thickness is measured.


L

Lather

The result of thoroughly mixing soap and water, lather is essential in order to ensure lubrication when passing the razor over the skin.

Learn More: How To Lather Shaving Soap


Loft

The measurement of a shaving brush’s bristle length.

Learn More: Assessing A Shaving Brush’s Quality


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M

Mild

A term used as the opposite of “aggressive”, mild usually implies that a razor blade that is not quite as sharp or well-concealed by the guard. This may provide a gentler and easier shave for sensitive skin.


Mug

An alternative to a shaving bowl. Shaving mugs can be actual mugs or specifically made for shaving. Their key feature is the convenience of a handle, which can be easier to hold with wet hands.


N

New In Box [NIB]

Although not exclusive to wet shaving, this refers to how new products are when sold between members of the community.


New Old Stock [NOS]

This means that a product being sold is no longer manufactured but still in its original packaging. Like New In Box (NIB), this term isn’t reserved solely for the wet shaving community. However, it’s a highly desirable feature when selling vintage items.


Notch

The point of a straight razor’s blade that has been cut into a shape.

Learn More: Straight Razor Point Types


O

Open Comb

A safety razor guard bar with extra blade exposure thanks to a comb-like design. Although very aggressive, they’re ideal for thick hair growth.

Learn More: Safety Razor Head Types


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P

Pass

The act of lathering the face and shaving the face once. The majority of wet shaving enthusiasts believe that multiple passes are required for a comfortable and enjoyable shave.

Learn More: How To Wet Shave – The Basics


Pay It Forward [PIF]

The practice of giving away products within the shaving community, which allows members to discover new things together.


Pivot Pin

The rivet in a straight razor that braces the blade inside the scales.

Learn More: Parts Of A Straight Razor [Diagram]


Point

The flat end of the blade on a straight razor.

Learn More: Parts Of A Straight Razor [Diagram]


Post-Shave

Treating the hair and skin after a shave with moisturiser and balms in order to soothe any irritation and rehydrate the shaved areas.

Learn More: The Benefits Of A Post-Shave Regimen


Pres-Shave

The process of preparing the skin and hairs before a shave. This may involve the use of a hot towel, shower as well as lotions and balms in order to soften the hairs.

Learn More: How To Prepare Your Skin For A Shave


Puck

A shaving soap that is made into a round disc-like shape in order to be stored in a bowl.


Pure Badger

The most common and lowest grade of badger hair for brushes.

Learn More: Shaving Brush Bristle Types


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Q

Quarter Hollow

One of the thickest concave straight razor grinds.

Learn More: Straight Razor Grinds & Hollows


R

Razor Bumps

See Ingrown Hair.


Razor Burn

Irritation experienced after a shave, which may be caused by improper technique or low-quality tools. Moisturising can offer some relief but improving your technique will prevent it occuring. Sometimes also referred to as “razor rash”.

Learn More: Why Do I Get Razor Burn?


S

Safety Bar

A flat blade guard on a safety razor.

Learn More: Safety Razor Head Types


Safety Razor

A razor that uses disposable blades that are braced between two plates. One features a safety guard to prevent accidental nicks.

Learn More: Best Safety Razors To Buy Online


Scales

Essentially the handles on a straight razor.

Learn More: Parts Of A Straight Razor [Diagram]


Scalloped Safety Bar

A flat blade guard on a safety razor with small bumps for more blade exposure.

Learn More: Best Safety Razors To Buy Online


Scuttle

A type of shaving bowl that features a secondary bowl for hot water. This allows the lather to stay warm.


Shank

The part of a straight razor’s blade that extends from the pivot pin.

Learn More: Parts Of A Straight Razor [Diagram]


Shave Of The Day [SOTD]

Used on social networks and forums to show and discuss what people used on that day’s shave.


Shave Ready

A term used to indicate that a straight razor is already honed when sold so that it can be used straight away.


Shavette

A straight razor where the blades can be replaced. Although often designed with barbers in mind, they’re a popular choice for those who want to use low-maintenance straight razors.

Learn More: Best Shavettes & How To Use One


Shaving Cream [SC]

A soft lathering product offered as a popular alternative to soap. Although easier to lather, more is used for every shave.

Learn More: Best Shaving Creams & Soaps To Buy Online


Shaving Soap [SS]

A hard lathering product that is very similar to regular soap but has been designed for shaving.

Learn More: Best Shaving Creams & Soaps To Buy Online


Shoulder

An indent on a straight razor where the blade’s spine and shank meet.

Learn More: Parts Of A Straight Razor [Diagram]


Single Edge

An older safety razor design where the blade is exposed only on one side. It has since been effectively superseded by the Double Edge.


Silvertip Badger

The most premium badger hair used for brushes that is collected from the back of the animal’s neck.

Learn More: Shaving Brush Bristle Types


Slant Head

A slanted safety razor has a head positioned at an angle. Some enthusiasts believe that it provides a closer albeit more aggressive shave.

Learn More: Safety Razor Head Types


Soap

See Shaving Soap.


Socially Acceptable Shave [SAS]

The lowest closeness level of shaving just below close, comfortable shave (CCS) that is still considered passable. Some stubble will be felt in all grain directions when the skin is rubbed.


Spanish Notch

An ornate straight razor blade point.

Learn More: Straight Razor Point Types


Spike Point

A straight razor point that is similar to a square but with a slightly longer toe.

Learn More: Straight Razor Point Types


Splash

An alternative name for aftershave.

Learn More: How To Apply Splash Aftershave


Splay

Unlike the backbone, which considers the resistance, the splay refers to the way the bristles spread when pressed against a hard surface.

Learn More: Assessing A Shaving Brush’s Quality


Square Point

A flat-ended straight razor blade point.

Learn More: Straight Razor Point Types


Straight Razor

A traditional razor blade, which usually pivots on scales or a handle. Also known as a cut-throat razor.

Learn More: Best Straight Razors To Buy Online


Stropping

The act of maintaining a straight razor’s cutting edge by passing it over a leather surface.

Learn More: How To Strop A Straight Razor


Stroke

A single movement when passing a razor across the face.


Styptic Pencil

An alum block shaped into a point for treating specific cuts.


Super Badger

One of the finest grades of badger hair that is found on the animal’s back. Silvertip badger hair is only a cut above.

Learn More: Shaving Brush Bristle Types


Synthetic Hair

An alternative to boar, horse and badger, synthetic brushes are by far the cheapest option. Although ideal for those concerned by animal welfare, they tend not to provide the richest lathers.

Learn More: Shaving Brush Bristle Types


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T

Tang

An extending level on the rear end of the straight razor’s blade that offers stability.

Learn More: Parts Of A Straight Razor [Diagram]


Three Piece

A three piece safety razor is made from three separate components that consist of the handle, the blade guard and the cap. Changing the blade requires disassembling the razor.

Learn More: Safety Razor Opening Mechanisms


TOBS

An acronym often used in forums for the renowned British shaving supplier, Taylor of Old Bond Street.


Toe

What you don’t want your razor to fall on. Also the name for the cutting edge’s endpoint on a straight razor.

Learn More: Parts Of A Straight Razor [Diagram]


Tugging

The discomfort experienced when trying to shave with a dul blade that pulls on hairs rather than cutting them.


Twist-To-Open [TTO]

See Butterfly.


Two Piece

A two piece safety razor consists of two components, which are disassembled when replacing the blade.

Learn More: Safety Razor Opening Mechanisms


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U

Any suggestions or requests for words starting with this letter? Leave a comment below!


V

Any suggestions or requests for words starting with this letter? Leave a comment below!


W

Wedge

A thick straight razor grind that is hard to hone but provides excellent performance for thick hair growth.

Learn More: Straight Razor Grinds & Hollows


Weeper

A slang term used to describe a shaving cut that causes blood to trickle.


Wet Shaving

The act of removing facial hair with the use of a blade, water or a lubricating liquid unlike dry shaving.


With The Grain [WTG]

A razor stroke in the direction of the hair’s natural growth. This often consists of the first pass.

Learn More: Shaving Routes & Directions


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X

Any suggestions or requests for words starting with this letter? Leave a comment below!


Y

Your Kilometres May Differ [YKMD]

See Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) below.


Your Mileage May Vary [YMMV]

Wet shaving is rife with personal preferences and subjectivity. As such, many enthusiasts are aware that results may be different for everyone.


Z

Any suggestions or requests for words starting with this letter? Leave a comment below!


Other Resources

Having now fully explored our shaving glossary, take a look at some of our favourite guides and resources to learn more about wet shaving:

Bespoke Unit Shaving Glossary
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