Wet shaving at its simplest, is just that – shaving with water, a razor blade, and some sort of lubricant (soap, cream, gel, oil, etc.) on your face.
Men have shaved this way for centuries, starting early on with a sharp knife or stone, progressing to the straight (cut-throat) razor for many years.
In the late 1800s patents began to be issued for ‘safety razors’ as we know them. These originally held a single edge blade with King Camp Gillette filing a patent application for a safety razor using a disposable double-edge blade in 1901 which was granted in 1904, 15 November 1904 to be precise.
Over time many modifications were made to this basic concept with additional ‘features’ such as twin and then multiple blades added, pivoting head mechanisms, lubricating strips, etc etc. These have ended up in the cartridge razor ‘systems’ and disposables we have now.
A closer shave can generally be had from a wet shave versus an electric razor. The ‘benefits’ of some of the other ‘advancements’ in razors over the years are far more dubious.
The ritual, scents, and connection to the past associated with using high-quality wet shaving products can also turn what is generally viewed as a chore into something pleasurable – that was certainly my experience. Many men also feel their skin quality is improved by the exfoliating nature of the wet shave and the moisturizing nature of the products used.