Some men, even those who have been shaving for many years, have yet to master the art of the clean shave. Even though guys are all created differently — with unique bone structures, different levels of skin sensitivity, and varying hair textures — many face the same problems of irritated skin, nicks and cuts, and subpar shaves.
Even though a one-size-fits-all approach to the perfect shave may be tough to imagine, the fact is: consistently getting a nice, clean shave doesn’t have to be difficult.
Here are three approaches any guy can take to ensure they are getting the best shave possible.
1. The warm up
Use warm water, not hot.
Preparation is key, so the first thing you’ll want to do is get some warm water on your face. Warm water opens up the pores and softens the skin. This makes it much easier for the blade to do its work in lifting hair from the skin. Water that is too hot may leave the skin too soft and susceptible to irritation and cuts.
Use shaving cream.
This may seem like common sense, but there are men who engage in dry shaving, or shaving with no cream. This isn’t recommended if you’re looking for the best shave possible. Also, avoid using soap as you primary base for shaving. A product like the MARLOWE No.141 shave cream would be an excellent choice as it forms a protective barrier on your skin when applied, and controls excess inflammation. It also contains soothing ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil.
Try a pre-shave oil.
Pre-shave oil is meant to work in conjunction with your shaving cream, softening coarse facial hair and adding an additional layer of support and protection for your skin. Lather & Wood’s Sandalwood pre-shave oil only takes a few drops to work, and specifically prepares your face for a close shave. While this is an optional step, pre-shave oils can be particularly beneficial to those looking to move on from a full beard or mustache.
Got a full beard or moustache that you’re looking to shave completely off? Try cutting it down a bit with an electric razor first. This will leave you with stubble that’s much more manageable for your safety or straight razor to clean up.
2. The shave
Each man may have his own idea of what he considers “the best shave possible.” Whether it's the smoothest chin in the workplace, or the coolest 5 o'clock shadow at the bar, there are essentially three different types of shavers you should consider to accommodate your needs.
Standard razors (also known as safety razors) like the MERKUR Classic Double Edge Razor offer a fool proof protection against common problems associated with the average shaver. They’ll also deliver a super close shave, especially if you know what you’re doing. They’re typically inexpensive and easy to use. Many standard razors are disposable after a few uses and if they aren't, their heads will be replaceable.
Electric razors generally don’t deliver as close a shave as standard razors, but they do offer several other benefits that make them ideal for some men. Electric shavers will be more expensive than standard razors up front, but they are much more economical in the long run. Electric shavers are also much more versatile. Products like the Braun Series 7 Electric Shaver, offer multiple modes and adjust to the user. There’s also an added level of convenience as many are cordless and can be used with or without shaving cream (though cream is generally recommended).
Straight razors are old school but still very popular amongst professionals and experienced shavers. This is because with the proper technique and patience, they can deliver unmatched precision and control that stands the test of time. The SmoovGroom Straight Razor is a great example of a modernized straight razor. It features the classic blade guard and balanced feel that many professionals are looking for in a straight razor. Its blade is made from rust-resistant stainless steel and like most straight razors, can easily be replaced. The most obvious downside is the learning curve of using one.
3. The cool down
Once you’re done with your shave, there are few more things you can do to ensure its the best it can be.
Use cool water.
Post shave, many guys rinse off with warm water. This is a common mistake. Use cool water to clean up because this will close the pores that have been opened by the warm water used to shave. It also begins the mild soothing and anti-inflammation process.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Many men use harsh aftershave products or alcohol that is unnecessarily rough on their already sensitive post-shave skin. The truth is, many times you don’t need to use an aftershave at all. A simple moisturizer like the MARLOWE facial moisturizer will do just fine after a shave. Moisturizers such as this will begin to feed your skin the minerals it needs to remain elastic and look healthy.
Guard against the elements.
It’s important to note that for about an hour after shaving, your skin is slightly more vulnerable to the sun and other harsh elements. Intense rays, dry air, or harsh winds can all do damage if you fail to take action first. Even the dirt and oil from your hands can transfer unwanted bacteria to a freshly cut face. Be sure to not only moisturize post-shave, but also throughout the day. On sunny days, apply sunscreen before exposing your freshly shaved face to the sun, and be mindful of dirty hands around your clean face (at least while it’s still fresh).
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