The key to the perfect shave is preparation, preparation, preparation. If possible shave immediately after a shower or use a warm towel to soften the beard and open the pores.
If your growth is thick, use a pre-shave oil followed up with the lathering process. Although shaving cream may be applied with the fingers, a richer lather is achieved with the use of a good quality badger hair shaving brush. Why use a shaving brush? A good quality shaving has a few functions, first a good quality badger brush works as an exfoliator, shifting the tiny debris in your beard, it also allows you to lift your beard/growth away from the surface of your skin allowing for a cleaner, sharper pass with your razor with minimum pressure. The more thorough the lathering process, the better the shave. Use a small amount of glycerin-based shaving cream/soap and rub onto the wet skin by moving the brush in a circular motion and back and forth over the skin, against the grain of the beard to produce good lather, finishing with an upstroke and a downstroke around the neck area. Leave the cream/soap on for a few minutes if you have persistent irritation. The longer the cream/soap stays on the better. Spend time on the lathering process, up to 2 or 3 minutes.
Always shave with the grain of the beard, never against. Failure to do this is the major cause of razor burn and may cause ingrown hairs. Glide the razor gently over the skin, holding the skin taut with the free hand whilst shaving. Keep the razor well rinsed using warm to hot water to avoid clogging the blade and apply more water if necessary, not more shaving cream - note to self don't let the cream/soap dry out, constant lubrication is essential. Repeat the process a second time if necessary.
Shave "with the grain" in this order:
- Cheeks - shave downward
- Neck - generally shave inward at the sides, upward from the Adam's apple,and downwards below the Adam's apple - however it all depends on the growth of your beard! To minimise irritation study your beard growth pattern.
- Upper Lip - shave downward
- Chin - shave last as these hairs are the coarsest and need the most time to "soften up", shave downward
Never wipe blades with tissue or towel, as this action dulls them faster.
After the shave, apply cold water to the face to close the pores and pat the skin dry. In the event of nicks or cuts, apply a moistened Block of Alum to stop the bleeding. Apply a moisturiser or moisturising balm to restore moisture and nourish the skin. A close shave in essence removes the top layer of your dermis an oil free moisturiser or moisturising balm will restore any moisture the skin has lost during the shave providing lasting relief from shave irritation. If however you have persistent razor burn or ingrown hairs, see Anthony Logistics Razor Burn treatment or Baxters Razor Burn Repair. There's no better way to restore facial skin to its pre-shave condition.
Replace razor often or use the Razor Pit Razor Sharpener to prolong the life of your blade.
The best time to shave is after showering. Warm water combined with the steam of the shower will soften whiskers, making them easier to cut. If you prefer to shave in the shower, invest in a good "fogless" shaving mirror that mounts on the wall in the shower.
If you can't shower before shaving, try softening beard by placing a warm towel on your face for a couple of minutes.
To achieve a smoother, sleeker shave, use Baxters' Skin Toner Facial Scrub once a week or more often as preferred. The scrub actively exfoliates to smooth skin's texture; unclogs pores. Preps face for shaving.Go slowly.
Take your time. A rushed shave will show - the lone patch of whiskers in an overlooked place, or a bleeding cut - and you'll feel the burn.A note on razors: When it is time to replace the blade?
There is no rule of thumb - some men throw away a blade after three shaves, some use it longer. However, a fresh blade provides a closer, more comfortable shave. Alternatively you can keep your blades fresh using Razorpit.
Don't press too hard. Let the weight of the razor do most of the work. You want to take off the hairs, not your skin.