Perfecting the art of shaving
Before the blade
Always shave after or during a hot shower, never before. This emulates the procedure used in the barbershop, whereby scented hot towels are used to soften the beard. Applying a little hair conditioner in the shower to the beard helps soften the hair. A nice soft beard can be removed far more easily than one that feels like a wire brush. Before shaving, apply a shaving oil, which protects the skin by creating a layer of oils that help the razor glide across the face easier, preventing razor burn and cuts.
A good shaving cream can be rubbed into the beard with the fingers but for best results, use a good quality badger hair shaving brush. Synthetic shave brushes are generally made from nylon and are stiffer and don’t get in around the hair, whereas a natural or badger brush is softer and will get the soap in around the hair much better, therefore softening the beard better. It’s all about making the job easier. Apply the cream in a circular motion, softening and lifting the hairs. The cream, when applied, must be kept moist to prevent ‘burning’. The longer you massage the cream into the beard, the better the results.
Go with the grain
Always use a good blade that has been warmed in the sink or under the hot running water. Shave in the direction of the hair growth. Use light, short strokes and clean the blade after every stroke. Every time you make a pass on your face, your blade is collecting hair and shaving cream. This gets in the way of the blade making a clean cut.
Never shave “against the grain” of the beard. In awkward areas, such as under the chin, you can shave across the direction of growth, but never against as this pulls the skin in the wrong direction, causing bumps and small cuts. Try not to apply too much pressure on your razor, as this strips away important layers of new skin.
Rinse the face thoroughly with cold water to seal the skin and pat dry with a soft towel. Dry your blade and brush, thus preventing bacteria.
After the shave
A good wet shave exfoliates and cleanses the skin, leaving a smooth, healthy, clean appearance. Newly exfoliated skin needs to be protected from the elements, so for healthy skin, it is important to use an after-shave moisturiser. It's good to apply this 10 to 20 minutes after the shave if possible. Products containing alcohol should not be applied to the skin directly after shaving, as this may inflame the skin and cause dryness. Cologne should be applied to the area behind the earlobes and on the sides of the neck. It is good to use an exfoliating cream a few times a week. Use this the evening before the shave, as this will remove the dead skin and prevent ingrown hairs. Never use exfoliating cream after the shave.