Tips for Wet-Shaving
Shaving isn’t a particularly complicated business. Get a razor and cut the excess hair from your face. What could be easier? Of course, a rudimentary approach like this is unlikely to yield spectacular results. There’s an enormous difference, after all, between a merely adequate shave and a great one! To achieve the latter, you’ll need to invest in some men's bathroom essentials, shaving set or double edge safety razor and a little time and effort in running through the basics. Let’s look at some of the shaving tips that’ll make the difference between a happy, smooth face and a reddened, bleeding one.
Take the Time
If you're looking to achieve a smoother shave, shaving isn’t something that should be done quickly. It should, however, be done efficiently. It’s better to carefully carve a few strokes through the lather than to repeatedly saw away at the same expanse of increasingly dried-out skin. Perhaps the most egregious victim of haste is preparation, which many men pay only token attention to, while some ignore it completely. Before you start shaving, you’ll want to ensure that your face is suitably clean and hydrated. You don’t, after all, want to be rubbing the day’s grime and sweat into your pores.
Use the Right Shaving Soap
The next shaving tip is to prepare correctly, you’ll want to use a shaving soap that’s designed for your face. Many of the harsher soaps built for cleaning your hands have chemicals in them that’ll strip the oils from your skin. Your skin will respond by creating more oil, and then you’ll have too much of the stuff – a sure-fire recipe for clogged pores and acne. Leave a gentle soap on your face for around a minute to give it time to absorb the dirt, and then gently rinse it off. If you’re using a flannel, don’t rub it against your face – that’ll cause irritation.
Use the Right Lather
Cheaper gels and foams will come stored in an aerosol can, so that they can be stored and shipped more easily. Unfortunately, in order to maintain that fluffy quality, cheaper shaving gels will come packed with abrasive chemicals that’ll dry out your skin. For best results, you’ll want to opt for a high-quality lather. Whether you use a foam, a cream, a shaving soap or a gel is a matter of personal preference – but be sure to try the available options before committing to one of them.
Apply with a Shaving Brush
There are several reasons that a proper shaving brush is preferable to your fingers. The first and most obvious is that your fingers are covered in grime and other tiny particles that’ll interfere with your shave. Even if you’re washed your hands extra-carefully, however, you still won’t be able to compete with a brush. A brush will work the lather into each individual hair. This will soften them and cause them to stand upright, so that they can be more easily severed. Rub the shaving brush into your face in a circular motion; you can afford to be a great deal more vigorous with a decent brush, as the bristles will be soft enough to provide just a touch of gentle exfoliation without irritating your skin.
Keep a Sharp Razor Blade
One thing that’s guaranteed to cause irritation is a blunt razor blade. If the razor isn’t sharp enough to slice through each hair it encounters, it’ll instead yank the hair in question around, damaging the skin around the bottom of the strand. The cumulative effect of this? Considerable irritation. In order to avoid this, discard your blades the moment you see the slightest nick. If you find that you’re shaving daily, then replace the razor blades every fortnight – or, better yet, every week.
Shaving Tip: It’s better to shave with a single razor blade that’s fresh out of the box than a more expensive one that you’ve been using for several weeks.
Use a Cut-throat Razor – But Only if You Know How!
A cut-throat razor otherwise known as a straight razor will provide the closest possible shave – but it’ll also require a great deal of finesse and practice to get the best use from it. If you’re willing to put the time into mastering the straight razor, then you’ll be rewarded with closer shaves, and you won’t need to spend as much money. But you should also bear in mind that they’re quite unforgiving, and that it’s easy to cut yourself if you aren’t careful. If it takes several coffees each morning before you’re ready to face the world, then you should probably ensure that you’re shaving with a fool-proof razor.
Pay Attention to Temperature
Warming the skin will open your pores and allow you to achieve a better lather. For this reason, shaving is best done as soon as you step out of the shower. After you’re done, rinse your face with cold water in order to reduce any inflammation.
Pay Attention to Grain
The last of our shaving tips: the hairs on your face don’t all sprout uniformly in the same direction. Instead they form all manner of looping, swirling patterns. You’ll want to pay attention to these, as wet shaves should be performed along the grain rather than against it for best results. This will allow you to get the best results in the fewest possible strokes. You’ll also be able to keep razor burn and ingrown hairs to a minimum. In order to find out the grain of your hairs, you’ll need to let your beard grow a little. If you’ve got a swirl in an awkward place, where the grain changes direction often in a smaller space, then make a note of it and be sure to devote extra attention to it the next time you shave.
Get a Professional Barber to Do It
Some of us are wealthy enough to pay for a professional barber to shave us every day. For most men, this isn’t practical. But it’s still worth occasionally splashing a few dollars on a professional barber cut-throat shave – particularly before big occasions like anniversaries, weddings and keynote speeches. When they’re done, you’ll be able to compare the results with those you achieve at home!
Want More Shaving Tips and Advice?
For more tips and advice on achieving a better shave read our post on common shaving mistakes to avoid.