On average a man will shave approximately 20,000 times throughout his lifetime. If the average shave took 10 minutes, this would mean that men spend the equivalent of almost 140 days or 5 months shaving. But are you doing it correctly? In order to assure that you are making the most of your time and getting the best result from your razor, we picked the brains of our Barber friends over at Gentlemen’s Tonic in Mayfair for this step by step guide to the perfect shave.
Shaving; it is a daily ritual for most men yet it may damage and remove up to two layers of skin in the process. It is therefore imperative to prepare with a cleanser in order to protect the skin and experience a better shave.
The Basic Steps
Always shave after or during a hot shower but never before. The hot water helps to loosen up pores, cleanses the skin and softens hairs for a closer shave. Before shaving, lightly rub a pre-shave oil to protect the skin and to soften the beard, allowing the razor to glide easily. Once or twice a week, especially before commencing a shave, an exfoliation scrub should be used to help eliminate dead cells, excess sebum and residues from the skin surface. It will also assure a closer, safer and longer lasting shave.
It is important to use a good quality shaving cream or soap for a close and comfortable shave. Lather up a dab of your shave cream with a shave brush or your fingers to soften and raise the hair away from the skin for a closer shave. If you don’t use shaving brushes it may be worth giving it a try as they help generate a rich and warm lather, soften and lift the beard, open pores, bring sufficient water to the skin and help to gently exfoliate the skin.
The most important rule of shaving is to always shave with the grain first – in the direction of hair growth. Shaving against the grain first can cause ingrown hairs and razor burns. Never use a blunt blade as it is distressing to the skin, causes redness and irritation and fails to evenly shave skin. The moment you feel your blade is not performing properly, replace it immediately. However, the blade is just one part of the equation. Finding a good razor to provide proper weight, balance and comfort for better control is also extremely important. Increasing pressure will not change the outcome of the shave so long as the blade is clean and not overly used. Always glide the razor across the skin with gentle pressure and if you are aiming for an even closer shave, re-lather and shave lightly across or against the grain, using small strokes to prevent irritation or razor burns. Around the neck area, where hair grows in different directions, run your finger along the skin to feel and adjust accordingly to shave with the grain. Use hot water to rinse off the blade when shaving. After you have finished, rinse the face thoroughly and pat dry. If you have cut or nicked yourself whilst shaving, try using an alum block to stop the bleeding. Some might need to use a post-shave serum that relieves razor bumps and ingrown hairs and calms irritated skin directly.
The last but often ignored step which is no less important than the shave itself; you should moisturise using an alcohol-free moisturiser balm or gel to soothe, refresh and regenerate the skin and to help close the pores after shaving. Add a small pea sized amount to the tip of your finger and dab little circles onto the face, evenly spread. Then gently rub in the moisturiser with your fingers in small circle motions until it is all absorbed and no longer visible.
Article by Menswear Style