When I speak to guys about shaving I often find they rush their morning shave and treat it as a chore that they try and get through in as minimal time as possible. As a result they leave the house with sore, red, uncomfortable faces which makes them detest the process even more.
In reality with a bit of guidance on how to improve how you shave and a bit of extra time while shaving, you can achieve a close, immaculate shave that will leave your skin looking and feeling great, which will make you feel better and make shaving the enjoyable grooming experience it should be.
Don’t cut corners on your pre-shave prep, this is where you prime your skin and facial hair to make it easier to cut to achieve that close smooth finish.
Take a Hot Shower
Taking a hot shower before your shave will moisten your facial hair, wet facial hair can absorb up to a 30% of its volume in liquid making it weaker and easier to cut. while the heat from the shower will open your pores allowing you to achieve a closer shave.
Use a Hot Wet Towel
If you aren’t able to take a pre-shave shower then apply a hot wet towel or flannel to your face for a few minutes prior to your shave, this is the standard technique you will find in most good barbers and achieves the same results. Some people prefer to use a hot wet flannel aswell as a shower to minimise any water or heat lost between shower and shave.
Wash – Cleanser Not Soap
Avoid using harsher soaps on your face during your shower as these tend wash away any of you skins oils that help to soften the hair. Opt instead for a facial cleanser which will help to soften the protein in your hairs making them easier to cut.
Your Razor – Keep it Sharp
Always use a good quality sharp blade! Whether you prefer to use a disposable, a multiblade or an actual razor blade you need it to be sharp. The more times you use a blade the duller and blunter it will become and the duller a blade the harsher it is on the skin which will leave your skin looking blotchy and feeling sore.
You should be looking to change your blade between every 5 to 10 shaves, if you feel it becoming dull, get rid of it.
Shaving Foam – Use a Brush
Opt for a foam, gel or cream that is for sensitive skin if you your skin is more sensitive than most and then most importantly apply with a shaving brush. I can’t recommend a shaving brush enough, a brush helps to raise the hair on your face for a closer shave, create a good lather and remove any left over dead skin cells which will help to avoid marks and razor bumps. I would opt for a badger hair brush as it holds more water allowing you to get a really good facial lather going.
It’s important to get this step right as besides from lifting your hair the main job of the lather is to lubricate your face and stop the razor rubbing and scraping against your skin, which will prevent rashes, sores and razor burn.
Shaving – Don’t shave against the grain
Shave in the direction that your facial hair grows, never shave against the grain. You may feel as though you get a closer shave going against it, but not only is this going to give you razor burn, but you are likely to cut the hair below skin level which will lead to ingrowing hairs and all sorts or problems. If you are not getting a close enough shave going in the direction of hair growth, I would invite you to re-read the above sections on preparation and shaving foam application which will soften your hairs and raise them away from your face which is going to give you that close smooth finish you’re looking for.
Wet your razor in hot water and shave in short strokes taking care that the direction of hair growth can change around the neck and chin. Don’t press too hard and let the blade do the work.
Cold Water – Close pores & Tighten skin
After shaving splash cold water over your face. This will close the pores that you opened in preparation and re-tighten your skin. It’s also a great way of reducing any inflammation that might have resulted from your shave, think of it like applying an ice pack to an injury.
Drying – Pat it Dry
Pat your face dry with a soft towel, having just shaved your face your skin will be more sensitive and rubbing it dry can irritate it more.
The shaving process can remove up to two layers of skin and leave your face feeling dry, a good quality moisturiser or after shave balm will help to replace any lost moisture, while cooling and soothing the skin. Be sure to use a moisturiser for men, we typically have thicker and more oily skin, while women’s moisturisers are usually greasier.