The Perfect Shave
For many men, achieving a perfect shave seems as unattainable as finding the perfect woman. Whether you have a beard you trim around or are a corporate warrior who shaves daily, shaving is a chore all men share. Some men love shaving, while a good majority, loathe the exercise. We feel shaving should be enjoyable and with this guide, it can be. Luckily, with some small changes to your shaving routine, you’ll be able to get that perfect shave and possibly that perfect woman.
1. Change your shave cream
A quality shaving cream can make the difference between a comfortable, close shave, and one you avoid. Drug store brands and mass retail products are loaded with cheap, synthetic chemicals that produce foam (basically, air). This essentially only creates an air barrier between your razor and your face, not offering the smooth shave you were expecting. While foam might appear to be thick and frothy, it’s actually not dense at all. A premium shave cream provides a much thicker protective barrier and cushion to minimize razor burn and irritation.
Premium shave cream should contain a very high amount of high quality natural ingredients, including organic ingredients. This reason is the same as why eating natural, organic foods is better for your body-your body is meant for natural ingredients. Your face was not made to handle synthetic chemicals. The only reason they were made was to offer manufacturers cheaper ingredients for higher margins. Manufacturers then advertise these ingredients as helping, when in fact, they do not. The best shave creams should leave your face feeling hydrated and nourished, not dry and stripped of natural oils.
Learn why a natural shaving cream for men is superior to a traditional lathering or foaming shave cream here.
2. Get a real man’s blade
Choose your weapon of choice. We’ll give a quick breakdown of the 3 different types of blades a man can use for grooming and tips for those blades:
Straight Razors: Sometimes referred to as Cut Throat Razors, were popular shaving tools in the 1700 and 1800’s, and have been making a comeback as of late. They provide the cleanest shave, but require a lot of time and skill. The blade will last forever, but requires frequent sharpening.
Safety Razor: Safety razors are the choice of many men because of their close, smooth shave. They are used by more men than any other type of razor in the world.
Cartridge (disposable) razors: Disposable razors provide easy, and convenient blades for shaving. Unfortunately, despite all the advertising, they do not provide a very close shave and often cause irritation. Due to the need for frequent replacement, they’re actually much more expensive, over time, when compared to either of the other types of razors. As obvious as it may seem, do not use a dull blade. If using disposable blades, discard every four to five uses.
Avoid shaving first thing in the morning. Why? Because as you sleep, your face slightly swells up, causing hair to retreat back into your follicles. Giving time for your face to swell down allows hair to be fully exposed, allowing a productive shave.
Warm up your face by either taking a hot shower, or running warm water over your face. Showering is best as the warm water and steam will soften your hair and open up follicles.
Thoroughly cleanse and exfoliate your entire face with a face scrub. While exfoliating sounds like a big female term, all it means is removing the crap (oil, dirt, dead skin) from your face. Cleansing and exfoliating helps bring your hair to the surface and removes dead skin, meaning less friction for your razor and a better shave.
4. The shave
Apply your shaving cream, working it into your skin and then let stand for 1-2 minutes. This is important as it allows the natural ingredients to soak into your skin, preparing your face for the shave about to happen.
Shave with the grain of your face. When you shave against the grain, the blade rakes across the skin, pulling hair up harshly away from the face.
Shave in short, slow strokes, which prevents you from quickly “ripping” hair out with faster, long strokes. Rinse the blade in warm water every three to four strokes, cleaning it of skin and hair- to keep a close shave.
5. Second shave
If you require a second shave, first use some men’s face moisturizer before shaving again. This will prevent unnecessary shave irritation and dryness.
Re-wet your skin and reapply shave cream and allowing to stand on your skin for a minute. Then, as before, shave with the grain. If this is not satisfactory for you and you’re hell bent on donating blood and running the risk of attractive ingrown hairs, reapply shaving cream and gently shave against the grain.
6. After shave:
Pat and dry your skin, checking for any irritation or redness.
The best aftershave is lotion based. Do not use a brand with menthol, a “cooling effect”, or alcohol. It may feel nice, but it wreaks havoc on your skin and can cause irritation, ingrown hairs and unsightly pimples.
Looking for shave advice for other parts of the body? Check out our shave your pubic area for men guide.