Essential Shaving Tips for Men
Shaving is a right of passage into manhood, and usually begins sometime in our teens. With the right advice, this passage is smooth and painless.
With the wrong advice however, the first shave and every one thereafter can be a roll of the dice. Some days it works out and you get a smooth shave. On other days it feels like the razor can’t cut your stubble but insists on cutting your skin.
If you are still searching for a consistently good shave, try the following shaving tips and say goodbye to uneven shaves and irritated skin.
How to Get a Good Shave Every Time
Start your shaving process by washing your face with soap and warm water. If you just washed your face in the shower, there is no need to repeat this step.
Whether you wash in or out of the shower, avoid using overly hot water, which strips the skin of essential oils and makes for a rougher shave. Either that or keep the shower short.
When washing your face, avoid harsh soaps that dry out your skin. If you already have dry skin, use a moisturizing soap. The better lubricated the skin, the smoother the shave.
Even if you just washed your face in the shower, splash very warm water on your face before you start shaving. This makes the skin and stubble more pliable.
A good barber will do this with a hot towel treatment before taking a straight razor to your face. You can duplicate this process by using a hot washcloth or applying shaving soap immediately after your shower.
Essential Shaving Tools
It’s shaving 101, but to get a good shave you need the right tools. The ideal list will have:
- Good quality safety or disposable razors
- Shaving soap, gel or foam
- Shaving brush
- Aftershave toner and lotion
Razors and Shaving Cream
In general, use whatever works best for you. Start with an articulating multi-blade razor and a thick shaving foam or gel. While these products can be applied by hand, using a shaving brush will produce a lather faster and is gentler on the skin. A skin-friendly moisturizing soap will work just as well as a shaving gel or foam.
While razor choices are a matter of personal choice, be aware that choices exist beyond the plastic disposables from major manufacturers. For an elegant alternative, try a sturdy, double-sided metal safety razor.
The double-edged safety razor has a disposable dual-sided blade covered to allow only the edges to be exposed. Although it requires a little more skill to use, there are many fine designs that make this a prized possession to own.
A good shaving brush can make a big difference in your shaving experience. The circular motion raises hairs evenly, unlike using your hands, and produces a rich lather. This creates a smoother surface for the razor blade.
Brushes are made with a variety of synthetic and natural fibers, including nylon and boar’s hair of varying qualities. However, the best brushes use high-grade badger hair for its durability, softness and flexibility.
Badger hair bristles have four classifications; pure, best, super and silvertip. These general guidelines are not used by every manufacturer, but give you and idea of the different qualities available.
The “pure” classification typically comes from under the badger’s belly and has inconsistent characteristics of softness and pliability. Pure badger hair brushes tend to have stiffer bristles.
The “best” badger hairs use longer, finer hairs from more select areas of the badger’s body. These finer hairs are usually lighter colored, and manufacturers need to use more of these strands, resulting in a denser brush head and greater lather. Not to mention, it feels a lot softer on your face.
“Super” hairs are the result of sorting the best “pure” hairs, resulting in a better performance. Some companies will bleach the tips to pass them off as “silvertip,” but if the color doesn’t go all the way down the shaft, it is probably a fake.
“Silvertip” brushes have natural white tips with a high water retention capacity. This trait allows the bristles to produce the best and quickest lather, which results in the best shave. This is the finest and most expensive category, with brushes priced in the high hundreds or thousands.
Aftershave and Toner
When you prepare your face properly and the shave goes well, your skin should be smooth as silk. To keep it this way, an invigorating toner and moisturizing aftershave should be applied.
Don’t reach for that manly scent just yet, though. The fragrances in many aftershaves can dry out and irritate skin; especially skin you just ran a razor across. If you have sensitive skin or just prefer to avoid the sting of alcohol on your face in the morning, try a hypoallergenic toner followed by a lotion with a mild scent.
On the other hand, if you like the smell of a strong aftershave, buy with your skin type in mind. Certainly subtle scents should be the rule, but your skin type can alter how long the scent stays with you.
An oily complexion will hold the scent longer, so less is more in this case. Dry skin will absorb whatever you apply, so be sure it is alcohol free and moisturizing. To retain your heavenly aroma, dry skinned men will need to reapply the product after a few hours.
A poor complexion is often caused by a poor diet. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water and maintain a regular face-washing routine. Any excess sugars or toxins you eat or drink are going to find their way to the skin’s surface, which will create a bumpier road for your razor to travel on.
So get the right tools, and follow the steps outlined above. You will soon be getting a smooth shave that leaves your face feeling invigorated and refreshed.