Shaving seems to be one of the rites of passage into adulthood for men—but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. And when it’s done the wrong way, it can make a man wish he never had to shave again! Even with today’s high-tech razors, lots of men still get nicks, cuts, and razor burn. If that happens to you, it might be the case that new methods don’t necessarily equal better methods for your shaving experience. Scraping the hair off your face with a disposable razor dragged through a layer of foam is definitely not a step forward for mankind!
The current trend is a return to the traditional wet (or hot) shave, and men have been shocked to discover that the old-school shave actually provides the best quality shave you can get. A hot shave or wet shave is just what the term implies – keeping your face wet with plenty of hot water before and during your shave. The application of hot towels and hot water to the face prior to and during shaving yields great results. The goal is to open the hair follicles, soften the whiskers for easier cutting, and provide a layer of moisture that allows the blade to skim the skin’s surface instead of dragging on it, which is the main cause of irritation and razor rash.
The perfect shave involves a good-quality razor, brush, and glycerin-based shaving cream. If you don’t change anything about your shaving routine except to add a good badger-hair shaving brush to the mix, you’ll be astounded by the improved results. A good brush absorbs hot water and then, after you dip the tip of the brush into the shaving cream, the brush releases and mixes the hot water with the shaving cream as you skim the brush back and forth across your face and neck in and up-down motion. The combination of hot water mixing with the cream and getting beaten by the brush all over your face delivers a thicker, richer, more emollient lather that’s impossible to get with your fingers alone. A shaving brush also gently exfoliates your face before shaving, which eliminates anything coming between the blade and your whiskers. Brushing also lifts your whiskers upright in the thick lather, which makes it easier for the blade to cut the hair. The classic double-edged safety razor is the best choice, especially for men with extremely coarse or curly hair, many of whom suffer from ingrown hairs caused by aggressive shaving. Switching to a single-blade DE will require slower, more careful strokes, and guiding the razor’s head over your skin without pressing down at all—but you can master the technique.
Fill the sink with hot water and let your shaving brush soak in the water. Splash hot water on your face to keep it maximally wet. The key to wet shaving is keeping your face as hydrated with hot water at all times as possible. Remove your brush from the water, let it drain until water stops pouring out of it, then swirl the wet tips of your brush in a circular motion on the surface of your shaving cream until you get a small amount of visible white lather. After your first few shaves, you’ll get a feel for the right amount.
Now lather your face and neck in an up and down motion. Continue until you have a thick, opaque layer of rich lather covering the shaving area. Shave downward on your face and neck, going the same the direction your whiskers grow. This will get rid of most of your stubble without irritating your skin. If you want a closer shave, wet your face again, lather up again, and shave very lightly upward, against the direction of hair growth. Most men cannot shave against the direction of hair growth without causing skin problems, but if you decide to try it, proceed very gently.
Once you’re finished, rinse your face with cold water to close the pores. Thoroughly rinse your shaving brush and shake it dry, then store it on its handle to allow the bristles to air-dry without damaging them. Pat—do not rub—your face dry with a clean towel, then apply a non-alcohol-based aftershave or moisturizer.
If you’re not quite ready to make the leap from disposable to double-edged razors, why not treat yourself to a hot shave by one of the professionals here at Cut Rate Barber Shop? Contact us today at 571-359-6200 to schedule your appointment!