As a man, you are graced with the gift of facial hair. From the classic handlebar mustache to the full beard, facial hair types and styles are as unique as the people who wear them.
Whether you’re growing it out or grooming every single day, it’s a good idea to know how to properly shave to achieve that perfectly smooth look.
Step 1: Preparation
Before you pull out the straight razor, men’s aftershave, and other shaving supplies, you need to properly prepare your skin and facial hair for the shave. Good preparation is meant to soften your skin and open up pores. This will make for a much easier, smoother shave, free of any accidental nicks and cuts.
It’s best to shave after a hot shower, but splashing your face with warm water will work well too. The warmth will make your skin more pliable and allow for better blood circulation. You may wash your face, but most cleansers will remove protective natural oils around hair follicles. Wash later.
Step 2: Oil and Lather
Not many men use pre-shave oil but it will moisturize the shave area, soften facial hair, and can act as an antiseptic. Oil is recommended for those with especially tough beards to further reduce razor drag.
You might not apply pre-shave oil but cream is always necessary. Avoid products containing menthol, which will close pores and stiffen facial hair. When applying the shave cream, use a badger brush or other high-end shaving brush. This isn’t essential but can improve your shaving experience. A good brush will lift hair follicles, exfoliate the skin, and create a thicker, richer lather.
Step 3: The Shave
And now we’ve come to the main attraction. With all that preparation, oiling, and lathering, the shave should be fairly straightforward. One of the leading causes of ingrown hairs and razor burn is a dull blade, so make sure you have a quality blade that is properly sharpened. There are numerous different types and styles of straight razors, safety razors, and multi-blade razors. Use whatever is most comfortable for you.
Use your free hand to pull your skin tight and apply your razor, shaving with the grain. Going against the grain will make for a closer shave but also increase chances of razor burn. Be gentle—you don’t need to apply pressure with the razor, just even contact.
Step 4: Protecting and Repairing
After the shave, rinse with cold water to close the pores and get rid of any excess cream. This is also the point at which you can wash your face if you haven’t already. Pat dry with a soft towel. Apply an aftershave balm, but avoid products containing alcohol, which irritates and dries out your skin. Moisturize with a gentle face lotion to finish off that perfect, smooth shave.