Shaving Best Practices & Products
Shaving is cool. Shaving is really cool. Taking a super sharp razor and basically getting surgical with it is cool. Do you know how close you are to cutting your face off every time you shave in the morning? Pretty close. The most interesting part is, we’re all striving for a closer shave- meaning we want that razor even closer to the skin. Are we crazy or are we just that cool?
This thing shaving is a beautiful dance of mathematical calculations done on the fly and without ever consciously thinking about. Different angles and degrees, the contours of the face, the pressure of the blade against the skin and an ultra sharp razor perfectly balanced between the fingers are all part of the process you do not consciously think about. It is a dance you are undertaking every time you go into that washroom. And this dance is the creation of art. It is an art that is born to the sound of the music that is made up from your tools laid before you on the washroom counter. Each tool, an instrument, pretty by its own right but stunningly beautiful working in coherence together. Each tool, each step, no more important or less so than the last. They are equals in their own right and completely at your disposal. For you are the artist, the mathematician and the architect of your own dreams of what may come from this elegant song and dance you do before that mirror and thus before you step out into the world. There you stride into it, with the natural confidence of a conductor stepping out on stage in front of his well rehearsed orchestra. Let the music fill the hall and gracefully bow, as the audience applauds.
There are numerous steps be to taken during each and every shave. It is important to concentrate on each as a building block to your success and a healthy face. No step should be skipped or haphazardly worked through. It is your face and it deserves to be taken care of to your best ability. Patience is the key and when that key unlocks the door only good things can come in through it. Let it come.
Let’s go through the steps. Take notes.
Wash Your Face Before Shaving
Take a shower. Allow the heat from the water and warmth from the steam to relax the skin on your face. Wash your face with a mild soap and do not scrub. Be gentle with that thing. It’s about to be hacked at with a razor on top of whatever you’re doing now. Massage it and pamper it. Don’t scare it now.
Washing your face before a shave will keep your skin healthy. Shaving with a dirty face is a bad idea. Don’t do it. The irritation or a nick or two caused by the razor doesn’t pair all that well with a dirty face. Like milksteak, it’s just not a combo you need in your life. It is one of those better safe than sorry situations. Plus, washing your face is a great motivator for your hair to better cooperate with the razor later. It will make it easier to shave.
Use Quality Tools When Shaving
A good razor and good shaving cream will get you leagues ahead of where a cheap disposable razor and a can of dollar shaving cream will. Good tools like these will not only give your face a nice shave, it will make it easier for you to do the work. That is huge. Struggling through a shave and not having a good time will inevitably lead to a piss poor shave at some point. Nicks and cuts, redness and all that jazz just because you’re struggling to get through a shave is the worst. Plus, it can all be avoided.
Good shaving cream will penetrate your face with rich moisture that will help your razor glide. It will also have ingredients that protect your skin and help with the healing process after you’re done (in conjunction with a good aftershave). While you’re sipping coffee in the office, on the couch or wherever, you can focus on more important things rather than a face on fire and irritated.
About Razors - Sharper is Safer, Sharpest is Safest
Any extremely sharp razor across the face will cause less irritation, less chance of cuts or nicks and sweep the face clean in fewer passes. Fewer passes is less trauma to the skin. Not only does a sharp razor blade save you time, it also is safer. Why, you may ask?
A sharp razor will not tug at the skin as much as a dull one. It will eliminate those little nicks you might sometimes find yourself getting out of nowhere. It will also reduce burn and irritation because you will need to use the razor less. If the razor is sharp, meaning it’s working effortlessly, the skin won’t have time to realize what has happened. Think of a supremely sharp Japanese sword striking against a watermelon. It chops it in two cleanly. Compare that to a semi-sharp heavy axe hitting the melon. One is going to make a mess, the other is not. You want to get in there and get surgical, be clean and swift. Like a good SEAL team, the goal is to get in and out without anyone knowing what’s up.
Your face and skin should be warm when you shave. Shave after your shower or use a hot wet towel against the skin for a minute to invigorate your face. It’s worth it. Warmth opens up your pores allowing your hair to raise and to get that razor in there at the base of the hair follicle. It makes for a close comfortable shave. Likewise, ensure your tools are warmed as well. Things work better warm. There is less friction. A warm tropical beach on a beautiful island somewhere, what trouble can you find? There’s no friction on that beach. Everything is smooth sailing.
Warm your razor blade with hot water and keep it warm throughout the shave. Rinse it off with hot water or a hot towel between passes. Use warm shaving cream. Keep everything warm that is going to touch your face.
Winners Pre-game it
If you really want to invest in this thing and give yourself the royal treatment get yourself some pre-shave oil and use it. You’ll throw that on and that razor will feel like a wet bar of soap sliding across the ice of the local hockey rink. Smooth. An almost frictionless surface.
Now you may be wondering, “oil… on the face… that sounds terrible”. And it would be if it were canola oil. But it is not. Today’s pre-shave oils and treatments are carefully made to work for you, not against you. They are packed with essential oils and all kinds of healthy ingredients that help to both protect your face and ensure a more pleasant shave.
Your pre-shave oil goes on after your face is warmed up, clean and right before you apply your shaving cream. Sounds extravagant right? Yup. But you deserve the best shave and this guide isn’t going to help you to have an “ok” shave. We don’t hang out in mediocrity here. We don’t even dabble in it.
Shave with a Purpose
Go about this routine without an air of chore dreading. When you tell yourself that this sucks, it tends to suck. Tell yourself inside that this small gesture you make towards your well being will do just that, make yourself well. Enjoy this moment that we have been given and the time away from distractions of the world. Think of it as your daily meditation, a quiet time for you to look at yourself in the mirror and bring to your mind what you want from the day. Think of whatever you need to think about to make the day going forward the best it can be.
Make plans. Remember good things. Envision your goals being reached. Recite a favorite song lyric. Enjoy yourself.
Shaving is Painting
Your face is your canvas every time you step in front of that mirror to do your art. Your razor is the paintbrush and the shaving cream is, not the paint. The paint is actually the skin under your hair. It is the shaving cream in reverse… Forget it.
The main thing is painting a wall or canvas correctly uses short small strokes. Why? Because the paint fades and your technique on the brush will be off after half a second as the pressure decreases or increases. Even if slightly so, that is enough room left open for mistakes to happen, which is then multiplied each time you make a stroke against the canvas.
Now think of your face. It can still be that nice canvas but instead of it being completely flat it instead has all the contours of your face. All those different angles is like a geometric nightmare when paired up against a razor blade. Not to mention, it’s not even smooth! There’s stuff in the way, your hair.
You should always strive for short, accurate strokes with even pressure that is level against the angle of your skin. It takes time to master the technique but after a while, you will paint your masterpiece every time.
With the Grain First, Every Time
With shaving cream on your face take your razor and shave with the grain of your beard. Down. Shave down. Your first razor pass will always be with the grain. You want to remove most of the beard by way of going with the grain. This will cause less irritation and feel like the natural thing to do. So, give that a go and run a pass all over your face. Down one side of the cheek under the sideburns to the jaw bone, under jaw bone down through the neck, down from the lips to the chin and under, to the other cheek and down. Suck in the lips exposing and stretching the skin under your nose for the razor to make quick work of the moustache.
Be sure to keep your skin as taut as possible. You’ll cut yourself much less this way. Taut and flat is the best course for that razor to glide evenly.
Against the Grain Second, Sometimes
Depending on your facial hair and your preferences, that first pass can be enough. And that is great. You’re out a step and have just a bit less time to meditate about, well, whatever it is you meditate about during your shave but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a commute to work to keep it up.
For the others that require that second or even third pass, well, that is great too. Baby smooth skin is awesome and nobody has ever said, oh smooth skin on their face… ew.
Now is the time to go against the grain. But first, add some more shaving cream. Don’t get cheap on yourself. You have plenty and it’s right there. Dab another layer of that warmed cream where you need to continue the shave and get it well applied. You do not want to shave over a spot without shaving cream. It’s not that much fun and can cause irritation.
Shave against that grain. Do it in short accurate (not choppy) strokes. This will help keep that razor level with the contours of your face and not do something weird at some odd angle. Try your best not to use too much pressure as well.
Cold Water is Your Friend
Immediately after your shave be sure to use the coldest water you can to rinse your face of the leftover shaving cream. Splash your face a couple of times and suffer through it. The cold water will close up your pores. Closing your pores will help against ingrown hairs, redness and stopping gunk from getting in there. This helps to prevent breakouts as well.
Pat your face dry with a clean towel and try not to rub. You want to be very gentle with the skin at this stage. It’s super delicate and prone to irritation.
Don’t walk away without post operational care, are you nuts? You just took a little sword and got it as close to your face as you could with it, on the verge of cutting yourself, over and over again. If enlightened beings came down from the mothership at this moment and watched what you were doing they would probably skip over you.
Use something on that skin that will calm it down. Your skin is screaming out whether you know it or not. It’s not happy. It’s probably hot, a little raw and irritated. There is no getting around it. An aftercare product like a good aftershave, cream or balm will absorb into the skin and calm it right down. This prevents redness and irritation from creeping up on you a little later on in the morning. When this occurs you’re touching it and itching giving it just more problems.
A good aftershave or cream will make your day a lot better. Your skin will thank you. You’ll thank your skin for looking so good. The cycle goes back and forth on repeat.
Choosing the Best Aftershave
Right, so you have been shaving for years or at least for some time. At this point you should know how your face reacts to the stresses of the razor. Does it get red? Does it itch? Do you get bumps?
For most, an aftershave that works as a conditioner is going to be king. Think of a lotion for your face. You want something mild that won’t clog up your pores or get your face oily. A good conditioning aftershave will gently reintroduce moisture to your skin which calms down the redness and itch. Itch comes from dry irritated skin. Not to mention the healthier your face is, the easier shaving becomes.
Others may need something else for their skin. Others may find that a disinfecting type of aftershave is needed in order to get rid of razor bumps and the like. These aftershaves will be of the liquid kind and are splashed onto the face. Use it in small amounts. Always pat it on and never rub your face if you’re prone to bumps and irritation.
Chances are the first pair of pants you try on at the store won’t fit perfectly unless you’re lucky. It is the same with your aftershave. Try one out for a little while and see how it does. For the most part something is better than nothing but funnily less is more. Does that make sense? Put something on your face but don’t over do it. Too much aftershave, no matter how good it smells, can lead to clogged pores and oily skin. Let that stuff absorb and evaporate off letting your skin do its thing.
Do Everything Well
The steps you take today will pay off in the future. The better job you do now, the less work it will take later. As you continue to perfect your shaving habits and ensure that your face is staying healthy the better you will feel and look. Your skin’s health is paramount to this process. When your skin is healthy and vibrant the less effort it will take to care for it.
Remember, practise makes perfect. The more you do things the right way the easier it will be in the long run. Good habits are the best habits.
If you made it this far, we’re happy to have bestowed some of our wisdom we have here at Suavecito Pomade. As always our goal here is to help educate and ensure proper methods are being used to get yourself looking and feeling your best. We hope that you have learned something from our guide and please be sure to share what you learned with others.
Ten Steps to The Best Shave
- Clean your face. Wash it often and never shave with crud, gunk, sweat, mud or bbq sauce on it.
- Warm face and tools with a nice hot shower or hot towel.
- Use good tools.
- Shave carefully, deliberately and accurately.
- Enjoy this time you have. Your best work is done when you’re happy.
- Rinse your face with cold water.
- Allow to air dry or pat dry with clean towel.
- Use an aftercare product.
- Eat a clean diet to promote overall skin health. (we know, boring)
- Rock what you got and don’t look back.