- How to Shave Your Neck: Tips, Products, and Expert Advice
- Cartridge Razor vs. Safety Razor
- Cartridge Razor Pros and Cons
- Safety Razor Pros and Cons
- Where to “Draw” the Neckline
- What Type of Shaving Agent to Use on Necks
- 10 Things No One Ever Tells You About: Shaving Your Legs
- 1. Exfoliate
- 2. Don’t forget the lather
- 3. Be gentle
- 4. Find the best product for you
- 5. Last, but definitely not least
- 6. Your thighs matter too
- 7. Longer strokes don’t always make for a better shave
- 8. Yes, there is such a thing as the “right razor”
- 9. Moisture is key
- 10. Give those babies some SPF
- Shave With the Grain, and 14 Other Tips for the Perfect Shave
- How to Shave the Right Way Using Shave-Oil
- Step 1: Pre Soak Hair
- Step 2: Apply Oil
- Step 3: Apply Shave cream
- Step 4: Shave
- Post Shave Care
- Forget everything you know – this is the right way to shave
- Step one
- Picking the right razor
- After your shave
- How to Shave Your Face the Right Way – Get a Great Shave in 5 Steps
How to Shave Your Neck: Tips, Products, and Expert Advice
Every guy needs to trim or shave his neck. Whether you rock beard or not, neck hair is a universal “no.” First of all, a neckbeard detracts from the shape of the beard itself and shaving it provides flattering geometry to your facial hair. Secondly, guys who shave their face will obviously be shearing their neck hair, too, so there’s really no reason for you to forgo grooming.
It’s totally fair if you prefer a trim over a shave. You’ll have to trim more often, yes, since the hair won’t ever be cut below a stubble, but you can buy yourself a few days with each trim. If you want a totally clean, smooth neck, on the other hand, then you must rely on a shave.
In some ways, shaving the neck follows the same rules as shaving your face, but there are other rules reserved simply for the neck itself. For all pertinent tips, we sought the neck-shaving expertise of some of our favorite barbers.
They include Vicky Pena, head barber and lead training specialist at Boardroom Salon for Men, as well as Justin Virgil Gramelspacher and Stephen Gennello, barbers at Blind Barber in New York and Philadelphia. Here’s what they had to say.
How to Grow and Maintain a Long, Unruly Beard Jason Momoa
Cartridge Razor vs. Safety Razor
The first thing to consider is which type of razor you want to use for the neck shave. There are two obvious choices: First, the multiblade cartridge razor (the standard one you see in shaving commercials), and the more vintage, single-blade (and often double-sided) safety razor. Here are the pros and cons of both.
Cartridge Razor Pros and Cons
Pros: All those blades can be a good thing. If it’s a good razor and a fresh blade (and if you prepared the skin properly for the shave), then it should yield baby-smooth results with a single pass of the cartridge blade.
“A cartridge razor has built-in protections that make it harder to cut yourself—especially when performing detail work your neckline,” says Virgil Gramelspacher. “Many cartridge razors have moisture strips that offer additional protection.”
Cons: The cartridge razor isn’t perfect for everyone: “The blades of a cartridge razor are close together, allowing for moisture and debris to catch between the blades,” says Pena. “This causes the blades to rust and become dull, which can result in nicks and cuts during shaving.
” You can remedy this by replacing the cartridge every six to eight shaves, or every two to three weeks, whichever interval arises faster, and by properly rinsing and storing it between shaves. Do so by drying the razor upright (in a razor stand or even a cup) in a cool, dry space.
Once dried, store it away from moisture and dust.
You might dis cartridge razors if your skin is especially sensitive. Having multiple blades isn’t always a benefit, as it leads to extra drag and redness. These individuals who experience redness from a slow, proper cartridge shave may consider the switch to safety blades.
We recommend: Gillette Fusion5 cartridge razor, $17
How to Get Chris Evans’ Manicured Beard and Slicked-Back Hairstyle The Art of Shaving cross knurl safety razor Courtesy Image
Safety Razor Pros and Cons
Pros: “A safety razor gives a closer shave (than cartridge blades),” says Pena. But that’s not all: The blades are extremely cheap, often only 5–10 cents per blade, so they don’t turn your routine shaving habit into an expensive one.
Guys with ingrown hairs and sensitive skin will especially love safety razors: “A safety razor can also help with ingrown hairs, as well as eliminate skin irritation,” says Pena. This is largely due to the fact it has fewer blades dragging across the skin—but also because the blade cuts the hair more cleanly, and lower, than cartridge blades.
Cons: You may not see a safety razor as an affordable option upfront, though. “The initial cost of the safety razor is high,” says Pena. You can buy cheap options for $20 or so, but this is a device that deserves an investment. You want one with a properly weighted handle, a steady grip, and high-quality steel. (It makes a perfect gift, by the way.)
The learning curve of safety razors is also a factor: “Safety razor shaves are more time consuming and may take some time to learn how to properly shave.” It requires holding the blade at a 30-degree angle from the face, applying the proper (light) amount of pressure, and gliding that sharp blade down your precious mug. But luckily, it’s easier than it looks.
We recommend: The Art of Shaving cross knurl safety razor, $65
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Where to “Draw” the Neckline
A lot of guys miss the mark, quite literally, when it comes to shaving their neckline. They either shave it too high (up on the underside of their chin) or too low (across the Adam’s apple). One compromises the stature of the beard and the other negates the process of shaving altogether.
Here’s how to get it right, according to all three of our experts. Pena says: “While looking slightly up in a mirror, place your middle finger on your Adam’s apple, and then your index finger above that.” Imagine a “U”-shaped line that connects this point to the back of your ears. “From there, you will shave everything below that line.”
This is how Gennello recites it: “When shaving a neckline, I use a 1-2-3 system. 1.) Just below the jawline. 2.) Bottom of the ear to top of the throat. 3.) Clean up the lower, natural beard line on the front of the neck.”
And Virgil Gramelspacher’s take: “If you bend your chin into your neck while looking into the mirror, several creases will form in a smile shape. Generally the line that creases along your Adam’s apple will be perfectly positioned and symmetrical.”
Blind Barber shave cream Courtesy Image
What Type of Shaving Agent to Use on Necks
Because you’re trying to shave a clean neckline, you’ll want to use a somewhat translucent shaving agent on your neck, says Virgil Gramelspacher. This rules out many foams, and gives favor to creams, gels, or even oils. His preference is shave cream, though: “You can see through it but it’s still offering a layer of protection between your skin and the blade.”
We recommend:Blind Barber shave cream, $18
This Six-Blade Razor Is A Real Beast
Other Neck-Shaving Tips
Here are a few other pointers from our experts.
Extend yourskincareregimen: “Make sure your daily facial routine includes the neck too, in order to condition the skin,” says Pena. “For example, your facial cleanser, exfoliator, and moisturizer should extend all the way down the neck.”
Shave with your hair grain: “Shave with the grain of your hair to avoid irritation,” says Gennello.
Keep skin taut: “Pull your skin the opposite direction of where you are shaving,” Pena adds. This keeps the skin even and gives you an easy, seamless surface upon which to shave.
Clinique for Men face scrub Courtesy Image
Exfoliate if you’reingrown-prone: “Exfoliating the skin will help to remove the top layer of dead skin that can clog the pores and in turn prevent hair from growing up and out through the skin’s surface,” says Pena.
We recommend: Clinique for Men face scrub, $21
Wahl beard trimmer and detail set Courtesy Image
Or ditch the blade altogether: “If you’re constantly fighting razor bumps, it may be wise to ditch the razor and opt for a beard-detailing trimmer instead,” says Virgil Gramelspacher. “You can trim daily and be clean-groomed with much less opportunity for discomfort.”
We recommend:Wahl beard trimmer and detail set, $20
Reapply before a second pass: “If you do need to shave closer after the first pass with the razor, add more shave cream before additional passes,” says Virgil Gramelspacher.
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10 Things No One Ever Tells You About: Shaving Your Legs
We’re not against a little body hair, but there’s just something about rocking a breezy dress with sleek legs that makes you feel so confident. Summer is on the horizon and knowing the exact way to shave your legs for maximum smoothness is imperative—so we’re showing you how.
Below are 10 little known facts about shaving your legs, and some tips to help you get the best shave possible.
Always make sure to exfoliate your skin before shaving. This helps to get rid of dead skin cells that could clog up your razor—it also works to prevent a close shave which can lead to cuts or razor burns. You can use a mild scrub or an everyday exfoliant.
2. Don’t forget the lather
Lather is super important for a good, clean shave, but ditch your soap and stick to a shave cream or a pinch of hair conditioner. Soap dries out your skin, while conditioner or a cream based product helps to provide moisture, which makes for a smooth shave.
3. Be gentle
After shaving it’s best to avoid a washcloth or a loofah, as the tugging at newly shaven skin can cause major irritation and can even lead to redness and bumps.
4. Find the best product for you
any beauty product, it’s always good to know what works for your skin before buying shaving cream. If your skin is dry and irritable, then stay away from products that contain alcohol or fragrance.
5. Last, but definitely not least
When shaving, it’s best to wait until the end of your shower before pulling out the razor. The heat and steam from your shower help soften your hair and open up your pores which make shaving much easier.
6. Your thighs matter too
Most women skip the thigh area, but we’re not really sure why. Thighs need love, too!
7. Longer strokes don’t always make for a better shave
This is a common misconception when it comes to shaving, but in order to get the best results shave in smaller strokes without pushing too hard. If you constantly have to go over an area more than once, chances are that your razor is dull and needs to be changed.
8. Yes, there is such a thing as the “right razor”
Finding the right razor is the first step in quelling your shaving anxiety, and the right tool is one that is rounded, with a pivoting head and a handle with a soft grip. The perfect razor also has more blades, which means that you don’t have to go over the same area more than once.
9. Moisture is key
Your legs need moisture, too! When your legs are dry give them some TLC with a moisturizing lotion. This helps to reduce the chances of ingrown hairs and rashes.
10. Give those babies some SPF
After shaving your skin is obviously bare and more susceptible to the sun’s glare, so don’t forget to stock up on some SPF filled lotion and try a product that’s not super greasy but provides the right amount of moisture.
Originally published April 2014. Updated May 2017.
Shave With the Grain, and 14 Other Tips for the Perfect Shave
We get asked a lot of shaving questions here at Dollar Shave Club (who’d have thought?), from how to shave with the grain to the tricky business of edging under the nose. Because it’s important, here’s how to shave with the grain: Pull the razor in the same direction that your hair seems to be pointing to prevent creating sharp angles.
Now, the rest might sound a bit complicated, but the perfect shave isn’t as elusive as you might think: We’ve put together 15 simple steps to help you soften the whiskers, avoid rashes and, yes, even more on how to shave with the grain (it’s important! Did we mention that yet?) Follow this guide and you’ll never have to Google how to stop bleeding from shaving again.
Step 1: Map Out Your Stubble
Start by running your fingers over your stubble to determine the direction of hair growth. If it feels smooth, you’re moving with the growth — if it feels rough, you’re moving against it.
This is what people are talking about when they say to “shave with the grain” — to move the razor in the same direction that the hair is growing.
If you go the other way, you are shaving “against the grain,” which, while it does get even closer to the skin, can result in those red razor bumps that come with ingrown hair.
In general, to shave with the grain, you’ll run the razor down your face, but up your neck.
Step 2: Wash Your Face
Wash your face with warm water and a good exfoliating prep scrub to remove any gunk — including dirt and dead skin cells — that would otherwise clog up your blade.
Step 3: Get Steamy
Apply a hot, moist towel to your face for at least 30 seconds. This softens up your whiskers and open your pores, making it easier for the razor to glide smoothly across your face and effortlessly slice through the hairs.
Step 4: Lather Up
Choose a shave product that’ll lubricate your skin and soften the hairs without drying out your face.
The type of cream you use is down to personal preference: Shave lather is traditional for a pillowy, smooth shave, but those who want to be able to see where they’re shaving more clearly — if, for example, they’re experimenting with some different beard styles — may want to try a soft, transparent shave butter instead.
Step 5: Shave With the Grain
As we mentioned earlier, it’s vital to know how to shave with the grain (especially around the crease of the neck), as it helps to prevent razor burn, skin irritation and ingrown hair (if you try to go against the grain and discover that your skin generally isn’t prone to irritation, then shaving this way is certainly a one-way trip to Smooth City — just be aware that this isn’t true for most people.)
Another useful thing to remember is to use a fresh razor blade, and run it under hot water before shaving, since a hot blade cuts through hairs a warm knife through butter.
Step 6: Flush Your Razor Out
Rinse the front and back of your razor with hot running water after each stroke to remove hair and excess lather. If the running water isn’t enough to remove stubble build up, gently tap the razor’s handle on the side of the sink, or use that crusty, old toothbrush that’s still hanging around to clean it out.
Step 7: Edge Under the Nose
Getting to all the hairs under and around your nose can be a pain, but the best way to shave your upper lip is by making a few passes, as follows. First, curl your top lip inward to stretch out the skin, then shave downwards from your nose.
Next, position the razor sideways under your nose and shave outwards horizontally, from the middle out to the left, then from the middle out to the right (almost you’re cleaning your windshield).
Finally, curl your lip once again and shave upwards (the only time we’ll recommend not to shave with the grain).
If you notice a few stray hairs even after all this, check the back of your razor — many of them come with a special trimmer edge designed for getting into tight spots, right under your nostrils. You can use this edging strip for removing the final stragglers.
Step 8: Go Smoothly
For cheeks as smooth as a baby’s bottom, make your razor strokes long and apply a consistent amount of pressure.
Step 9: Be Careful to Shave With the Grain On Your Neck
Use small downward strokes once past the jaw until you feel your hair growth change direction. Then, to shave with the grain of your neck hair, flip your blade around and use upward strokes, following the direction of your hair growth.
Step 10: Trim the Sideburns
Use small strokes under the sideburns, stopping at the jaw line.
Then, even out your sideburns by making sure the razor is perfectly parallel to the ground: It’s a lot easier to get them the same length if they end in a straight horizontal line, and not curving away in different directions.
It also helps to use a transparent shave butter for extra visibility when shaving precision zones your mutton chops. You can trim any excess bulk on the sideburns themselves with a trimmer.
Step 11: Shave the Jaw
As with shaving the neck, use small downward strokes until hair growth changes direction. Of all the parts you’ll shave on your face, this is the hardest part to accurately shave with the grain, so take your time here. And don’t press too hard: Too much pressure is what causes irritation and razor burn.
Step 12: Shave the Chin
As you reach the natural curves on your chin, apply even less pressure to avoid nicks and cuts.
Step 13: Rinse Your Face
Rinse your face with cool water — this removes residual shave lather and helps to close your pores. When finished, pat dry with a clean towel, since rubbing dry can cause irritation and redness.
Step 14: Calm Your Skin
A shave isn’t over when you put the razor down — proper aftercare soothes your skin when it needs it most. Since shaving is a natural exfoliant, make sure you always apply a gentle alcohol-free post shave cream afterwards to put back what you took out by shaving. This will help to soothe, nourish and hydrate your skin.
Step 15: Realize How Good Your Face Looks
Check it out! You’re even more handsome now that you can actually see your own face! And all it took was a few basics: The right preparation, knowing how to shave with the grain, and how to care for your skin afterwards. We told you it’s easy when you know how.
How to Shave the Right Way Using Shave-Oil
For most men shaving is a mundane task. The only people who seem to enjoy it are teenagers who have not yet been burdened by the monotony of shaving every day. Having a nick or cut on your top lip is almost a welcomed sight to young teens.
If anyone asked what happened they could proudly respond with “Oh this? I cut myself shaving!”. To them growing facial hair is a sign that they are becoming a man and shaving is what men do.
Unfortunately shaving many other things in this world has fallen to the societal norm of rushing and using an improper technique, that leads to a poor end result.
Many men, in their haste to leave the house in the morning, will shave in the shower using bar soap or shampoo. Others will do it immediately before entering the shower without presoaking their face and facial hair.
In both of these cases, steps are lost in the process which results in a number of problems resulting from improper technique.
Some men see this as an unavoidable consequence of shaving and others assume the products they are using are the reason for irritation, ingrown hairs, razor burn and other problems arising from poor shaving.
A poor shave can leave your face feeling you have used sand paper as an exfoliant, so whether you are exiting the house to an icy winter day or a 30+ degree heat wave your already irritated skin will be aggravated by the elements, highlighting your poor technique and subpar grooming equipment.
Milkman Grooming Co. has devised a product that combats this, with their premium “Shave Oil”. It has avocado and coconut oil as well as aloe vera to moisturise as you shave. This Australian made product transforms the task from a burden, into a unique sensory experience.
It gives you the same sense of pride as the first time you were shaving in your teens only this time without the nicks and cuts.
Whether you are doing a full face shave, beard sculpting or a lineup, this cheeky silver bullet will ensure you leave the house looking and feeling fresh!
People say “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. This is a sentiment shared by most men when it comes to shaving.
Shaving soaps and creams have been around forever, so there is a belief that irritation, dryness and lack of control caused by these products are all apart of the shaving process.
If you suffer from dry skin, ingrowns, and difficulty in sculpting your facial hair then why not try something new and different.
Some folks use shave oil incorrectly and miss out on its amazing benefits. If you want to achieve a superior shave by using a shave oil just follow these easy steps.
So here’s how to use shave oil using multi-blade, cutthroat or fat tip razors…
Step 1: Pre Soak Hair
Wash your face thoroughly in the shower with a moisturising face wash. This will allow you to soften your hair and skin, as well as opening up your pores allowing dirt and grime build up to be washed away. This exfoliation will also make you skin smoother, providing a smoother surface for your blade to slide across.
Step 2: Apply Oil
Dispense a few drops of shave oil into your palm and rub and apply it to your face. Remember to rub it up and down many times in order to lift the hair follicles of your skin as well as massaging it into your skin and hair. By lifting the hair you are able to cut it more evenly and at a closer angle. Don’t go overboard, too much oil will clog your razor and make shaving difficult.
Step 3: Apply Shave cream
This step is optional but is suited for those with sensitive skin. The benefit of this step is that there is greater lubrication between the blade and the skin, therefore limiting the razor burn.
Step 4: Shave
When shaving always use a clean sharp razor. Too many people try and milk the razor, and the complain that their face is irritated from the shave.
When you’re shaving always go with the grain initially. If you are someone who s a close shave then you can do a second pass going with the grain.
Remember when shaving to always have a cup of warm water next to you in the sink, this is used to clean out the excess shave oil and built up hair on the razor.
Its removal is imperative as a clogged razor increases the gap between the blades and makes for an inefficient, uncomfortable shave.
- If you have sensitive skin then be cautious of shaving against the grain. As the hairs are facing the direction of the blades motion, greater friction is happening between the blades and the skin and there is a higher chance of irritation, ingrown hairs and razor bump if your face isn’t used to frequent shaving.
- The shave oil is not just limited to traditional razors. If you use an electric razor you can apply a small amount of oil before you shave.
Post Shave Care
Once you have finished shaving wash your face with cold water by either splashing some on or using a clean wet towel.This will close the pores and cool the face down. After you are finished use a clean towel to dry your face.
During any shaving process, layers of skin are being stripped away and minor abrasions are being caused on the skin. This process causes dryness and irritation.
While the shave oil contains ingredients with hydrating properties, for the best results on your skin use an aftershave product. We recommend applying a hydrating balm to your face once it’s dry.
This will moisturise your skin as well as reduce irritation caused by shaving to keep you looking and feeling fresh.
Rather than seeing shaving as a burden or a hindrance, use the time you have doing it to focus and centre yourself before the day begins. A bad shave can leave your face irritated which can makes you start your day off on the wrong foot.
Your face is what people know you for, if you mistreat it then how do you expect others to treat you well. So spend that 5-10 minutes extra to focus on yourself and leave your house feeling as good as you look.
Ps. Did you know shave oil can also be used to improve the shave you get from an electric shaver? This video below shows you how.
Forget everything you know – this is the right way to shave
Unless you were lucky enough to have a father that taught you how to shave properly, the lihood is that you learnt to shave either by watching him or another older gentleman do it – or worse, from a Gillette advert.
Therefore, you would have never fully appreciated what it takes to achieve that perfect shave. Many gentlemen come the other end of a shave with a rash that lasts most of the day and then, because they’ve never understood the reason say, ‘this always happens when I shave’.
It always happens when you shave, gents, because you’ve never understood how to shave.
But that’s about to change: dunhill’s second-generation head barber at their spa in Mayfair is dishing out the dirt on how to achieve that perfectly smooth face – and with years and years of experience doing exactly that, we think he might know what he’s talking about:
“I find a lot of my clients have been taught incorrectly by magazine articles and television advertisements about how to shave. And now that the beard is a prominent style, a lot of guys don’t need to know how to shave.
But I can tell by looking at a man’s face if he is using correct shaving techniques. If a man is shaving properly, the skin on his face glows and his hair grows in naturally well; there are no cuts, ingrown hairs, or razor burn.
Often, if someone has had too close of a shave with too much pressure applied from the razor to the skin, typically the next day little white blisters will appear on the face.
When a man continues to shave over these blisters it causes razor burn, and after shaving on top of razor burn, ingrown hairs develop. At this stage, we recommend a visit to The Spa & Barber for the skin to be carefully treated.”
Before shaving, it’s always necessary to properly cleanse the skin. A facial cleanser helps remove sebum that can block pores and contribute to ingrown hairs.
You then need to exfoliate the skin to smoothen it. Men with very course hair should use a stronger exfoliator.
Men with stray hairs can use a mid-grain exfoliator; he shouldn’t use anything too abrasive that will damage the skin.
To save time, a gentleman with less course hair could combine steps one and two by using an exfoliating cleanser. For men of all ages, steps one and two are the most important to help prepare the skin for the best shave.
The third step after cleansing and exfoliating is to apply a shaving oil. Shaving oil softens the hair, making the shaving process much smoother. Most men don’t need to apply shaving cream unless they have very course hair. Someone with a thicker beard should apply cream on top of the oil.
At home, men should always shave after taking a shower – and never before. The shower helps bring more blood to the face, which helps smooth the skin, and the water from the shower helps soften the skin.
The best shave comes from skin that has been prepared properly and is clean, smooth, and soft. When a man really knows the shape of his face well, he can successfully shave in the shower without the aid of a mirror.
In fact, he could do all these steps in the shower: cleanse, exfoliate, apply shaving oil, and shave.
Picking the right razor
If a man is using a standard razor at home, he should use a razor with a maximum of 3 blades only.
The razors available now often come with four or five blades, but I’m not sure people realise how damaging multiple blades can be for the skin – one stroke is the friction of five blades, two strokes is ten blades, three strokes is fifteen blades. With every repeated stroke the friction further damages the skin.
I recommend for men to go back to basics by using a razor with two blades. He should use three blades maximum if his hair is courser. If he has more time, he can clean up any stray hairs with an open blade.
When shaving, always follow the grain of the hair. Never shave against the grain; it creates terrible damage to the skin. Especially under the chin and on the neck, men typically shave in the wrong direction.
Pay attention to the grain of the hair and follow it carefully. A good tip is to use two hands when shaving; one hand should hold the razor and the other should carefully pull the skin of the face taught.
A lot of men move their faces around when they shave to try to pull the skin, but the best technique is to hold back the skin with the second hand.
There’s a famous picture of Marlon Brando shaving with both hands this, but I think there’s a cigar between his fingers! The pressure from the hand on the razor should be firm but directed across rather than downwards, otherwise the skin will get cut.
After your shave
After shaving, the next step is to cleanse the skin again to remove excess shaving oil and cream.
Often people simple splash water on the face after shaving but this doesn’t properly remove shaving oil or cream, which can block pores and lead to irritation.
After the skin is cleansed again, applying a cold towel to seal the facial pores protects the skin from pollution, especially for men working in big cities. The final step is to apply a facial moisturiser that is suitable to the man’s skin type.
On average when I work with a customer, I spend 15-20 minutes preparing his skin for the shave. The shave itself only takes me 5-10 minutes at most. Preparation to soften and smooth the skin really is the key to achieving the best shave for a man.
The benefits of having a professional shave in the Barber at Bourdon House is that we share a lot of tips on how to best prepare the skin, how to position the razor, how to hold the skin and the razor, and what products to use a man’s facial hair and skin types.
Because men usually don’t have the time at home to spend on thorough preparation before shaving, a special appointment allows sufficient time for us to really prepare the skin for the optimum shaving experience.
Recommended reading: The grooming products that are actually worth your money.
Visit The Spa & Barber at 2 Davies Street, W1K 3DJ or here.
How to Shave Your Face the Right Way – Get a Great Shave in 5 Steps
Shaving is, for many guys, a ritual that they'd be happy to live without. In fact, many of them do, as evidenced by the rise of the beard over the last few years.
But still, shaving is an important skill, and it's essential to know how to do it properly.
Simply spraying foam on your face and then dragging a blade across it will result in irritation, discomfort, and, quite possibly, the eventual growing of a beard. If you want a great shave, this is how you do it.
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Step One: Prep
The best thing you can do for your face before you shave is take a hot shower. Or, if you don't have time for that, wrap your face in a hot moist towel. The heat and moisture will open pores and soften your beard hair to make shaving a whole lot easier.
You should also prep your face after with a pre-shaving oil. This will further soften the beard. It'll also help to prepare and moisturize your skin, making for a better—and closer—shave.
Sandalwood pre-shave oil ($25) by The Art of Shaving, artofshaving.com
Step Two: Lather Up
The whole point of shaving cream is that it lubricates the face. And the best way to do it is to go old school with the kind that comes in a tin (not an aerosol can) and an old-fashioned brush. Not only does it help moisturize your face and lift your whiskers, it also cuts out the harsh chemicals found in those spray cans. And those can wreak havoc.
Shaving cream ($40) by Pankhurst London, mrporter.com
Wellington shaving brush ($120) by Truefitt & Hill, truefitt.com
Step Three: Shave
First off, whether you're using a straight razor of a safety blade, make sure it's sharp. This may seem obvious but, let's be honest, some of us can go months without changing the blade.
To shave properly, you should use short light strokes. Don't drag the blade from your ear to the base of your neck.
Stick to one- or two-inch strokes at most, and make sure to rinse off the blade between each stroke.
Feather double edge stainless steel razor ($220) by Seki Edge, sekiedge.com
As for the direction, always shave with the grain. An experienced barber may shave against the grain, but he (or she) actually knows what he's doing. Going against the grain on your own only leaves you more vulnerable to cuts and ingrown hairs.
Also make sure to shave the neck area last. Given that it's a more sensitive area than the rest of your face, the extra time will allow the shaving cream to soften up the hair. And one way to tackle those pesky angles, your jaw and lip, is to puff out your cheeks with air while you shave the area. This will give you more surface to work with.
Step Four: Rinse
Obviously you're going to want to get the excess shaving cream off your face. But rinsing with cold water also closes up your pores, which will help prevent ingrown hairs and will keep your face smoother and healthier. Once you've rinsed, make sure to dab (not wipe) with a towel to dry.
Step Five: Salve and Aftershave
If you did get a knick or two, use a good salve, an alum block, to help coagulate the blood and prevent infection. Then apply an alcohol-free aftershave lotion, which will both calm and moisturize your skin.
Aftershave balm ($16) by Proraso, amazon.com
Alum block ($20) by The Art of Shaving, artofshaving.com
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