Shaving with mouthwash -Why does it work?

Couple years back I see this older guy at the Y shaving his head and face, apparently dry (no cream, soap, etc.). Inquiring, he tells me he’s been shaving for years with nothing but mouthwash, preferably one with a plaque remover. Tells me it works best on a dry face. So, I try it. Splash a bit on my hands, rub on my face and damn if it doesn’t work. Smooth as silk and no burn whatsoever. Anyone know what’s in mouthwash that makes it suitable for shaving?

BTW, he uses mouthwash because it’s cheaper than shaving cream.

WAG, the alcohol dries out your skin completely which reduces the friction between the blade and your face.
I’m only guessing this because of a product called “Lectric Shave” which is essentially a bottle of alcohol that you rub on your face before using an electric shaver.

This is my WAG as well. I’d wager that if you tried one of the alcohol free mouthwashes, you’d regret it.

WAG? Alcohol. Dries and tightens the skin and helps make the beard stand out a bit. The menthol would also help cool the skin and make it feel a little better.

ETA: I remember 'lecric Shave. It’s a pre-shaving agent that is, as mentioned, basically a bottle of alcohol.

Being an intellectually curious type, I decided to try this this morning. I found some tarter control Listerine and splashed it on my face. Without a doubt, it made my face minty fresh. Given the cooling sensation that accompanied the smell, I’m quite certain that alcohol was also involved. I was confident that a close, smooth shave would follow. I was wrong.

The first scrape across my face felt as if a beaver had attempted to sharpen his claws on my cheek. Undeterred and apparently stupid, I decided that I would try again. The second stroke was reminiscent of the time that I wondered what it would feel like if I used my wife’s Epilady on my hairy leg. Epilady describes this as a “tingling” sensation. I prefer to call it “ripping hair out by its root.”

Being a moron, I continued the shave to its conclusion. I decided that the conclusion of this shave would be the right half of my face. I finished with traditional shaving cream. There was no quantitative difference in shaves between the left and right sides with the exception that touching the right side of my face results in pain similar to rubbing alcohol into an open wound.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend it.

I think this method would mainly be applicable in electric razor shaving. Unless you have skin like leather, using a blade and nothing but an alcohol based mouthwash would likely be unpleasant for most people.

I’ve had mornings like that. :smiley:

I did the same experiment with 91% isopropyl alcohol last week. If it had any effect on making the shave smoother or less painful, it was minimal. I could not finish shaving in this way–it was too painful. (I don’t normally use shaving cream, either. I just use some regular soap, body wash, or shampoo, but I shave in the shower and wait until the hot water and steam does whatever it does to my skin to make shaving smooth and completely painless.)

I’ve used 'Lectric Shave and it seems to include some kind of lubricant that remains on the skin after the alcohol evaporates to provide a better shave than just rubbing alcohol alone.

I don’t know about you, but I am quite capable of shaving just with water (it’s not great, but it is doable). Maybe because I use old, not-so-sharp razor. From this I can infer that with some razors you can shave after applying any liquid to the skin.

On the subject, I prefer shaving in the shower. However when I can’t do that shaving with just water and shaving cream is pretty rough. So I use generic electric shave with water and shaving cream, and that works extremely well.

I have no idea why but like others have said, it might be the alcohol.

I use a store brand of 'Lectric Shave. While it’s mostly alcohol, there’s something more in there than just alcohol. When I wash my hands after applying it, the water beads up on my hands. It works amazingly well.

Do you use an electric or a razor?

'Lectric Shave (as well as, I presume, its knockoffs) contains ispropyl myristate, an oily substance that is probably included to provide lubrication.

My dad never explained shaving to me. I vaguely knew he had lots of little bottles and tubes for it, but wasn’t the least bit curious about them. I was 28 when my GF first explained an aghast look of hers in those words : “OMG you’re shaving *dry *?!”. I shaved my head at the time, too…

God, was I ever hardcore.

I admire your investigative spirit (not that I would try the same thing). For completeness’ sake have you considered brushing your teeth with shaving cream? :smiley:

Maybe he means products like Plax? It’s definitely got extra surfactants or something that rinse much more gunk out of my teeth than regular Scope or something.

Plax is mostly water, sorbitol, and alcohol. It contains, among other things, less than 1% of sodium lauryl sulfate and poloxamer 407; both are surfactants, but I don’t know how much lubrication they provide at that concentration.

I’ve never used a pre-shaving agent. With my electric, I shave dry. I then use a bit of shaving cream and a Fusion Power for the finishing touches. I find that works best. Every time I’ve tried to use the electric with my face wet, it made shaving harder because the water’s surface tension tended to hold the hairs down and make it harder for them to get swept up into the foil.

I use both, but that particular reference to Lectric Shave was in regards to my electric razor.

I’ve shaved with bar soap with my blade razor, and I’ve shaved with shaving cream, and with nothing (in the car on the way to my wedding). Shaving cream works best.