Follow these basics for a mistake-free and reliable shaving routine.
- Quality gear is worth the investment
If a pre-shave oil isn’t part of your shaving routine, add it — a good exfoliating tonic unclogs pores and removes dead flakes of skins for a smoother shave that doesn’t end up causing pimples. You also want a shaving cream that produces a thick lather rather than the thin fluffy foam that comes out of the bog standard brands you’ll find in the supermarket — if it comes in an aerosol can, put it back on the shelf.
- Preparation is pivotal
Open up the pores and soften up the bristles with a hot shower or warm damp towel, then apply the oil to lubricate your face, and lather up the shaving cream with a brush, preferably badger hair — use circular upward strokes that lift the stubble off your face readying it to be cut. Leave the cream in for a couple of minutes to weaken your whiskers even more before picking up the razor.
- More blades doesn’t equal a better shave
Don’t listen to the television commercials: cramming three or more blades onto a razor is not necessarily the best a man can get, and it’ll cost a small fortune to constantly replace. It’s not the number of blades that counts, but rather their sharpness — so a safety razor with a single sharp blade does the job perfectly well (or a straight razor, if you’re really going for the closest shave possible).
- How to extend the life of the blade
Dull blades traumatise your skin so it pays to keep your razors, well, razor sharp. Rinse after ever two passes to clear away excess cream and stubble, then when you’re finished, wash thoroughly and dry with a hair dryer or gently with a towel and store somewhere protected from the corrosive effect of shower steam, which causes rusting that dulls the blades. Change the blade at least once a week.
5. Don’t pass the same spot twice
Following these steps should ensure a one-pass shave but if the first pass doesn’t pick up all your whiskers, don’t hack away over the same area without re-applying shaving cream — going back for a second and third pass is a one-way ticket to razor burn. Oh, and this is no secret, but always — always — shave with the grain, rather than against it.
6. The value of routine
Knowing your steps makes the whole process quicker and smoother . . . and you’ll also never forget to finish off with a bit of post-shave care to soothe any irritation. Rinse your face with a facial wash and cold water to reduce inflammation, gently pat your face dry, then apply an after-shave lotion to moisturise your skin.