Sadly, the correct technique of ‘wet shaving’ is a dying art. Life, it seems, has become just too hectic in modern times to allow men the time necessary to shave properly!
With clever (and somewhat misleading) marketing, we’re led to believe that with the quick squirt from an instant foam can, immediately followed by an almost effortless glide over the beard with the latest ‘best shave ever’ multi-blade razor, we will not only exhibit a face smoother than a baby’s bottom but also be irresistible to women!
The reality however is usually quite different, right lads? Red, sore, irritable skin due largely to incorrect shaving.
The simple truth when it comes to a good, comfortable shave lays in the preparation of the beard before shaving. It’s something that simply should not be rushed. So what if it means getting up five minutes earlier in the morning, you won’t regret it! Remember, your skin is living tissue, treat it as such! A well executed shave serves not only to leave you ‘clean shaven’ but is tantamount to a beauty treatment as you exfoliate the dead skin cells from your face.
The first essentials to a perfect shave are water and warmth. When hair absorbs hot water it becomes softer and easier to cut and with warmth the skin and facial muscles become relaxed, making shaving so much easier. Thus the best time to shave is after a bath or shower. Soaking a flannel in hot water and wrapping it around the face for thirty seconds can also achieve a similar effect.
Next, massage a good quality shaving oil into the beard with your fingers. This will not only help soften the beard but also hydrates and feeds the skin leading to a much smoother, irritation free shave.
If you use a top quality oil, such as my acclaimed The Village Barber 100% Pure & Natural shaving oil that I use on my customers, there is no need to use a shaving soap as well. However, if you prefer to be pampered with the full works when you shave, as do my customers when I'm shaving them, you can also use a good quality, glycerine based shaving soap which helps keep the skin and beard warm and wet during the shave. Alcohol based shaving foams and gels have the opposite effect, dispersing moisture and cooling the skin, which can cause irritation whilst shaving.
Always shave with the grain of your beard. If a second shave is required, move the blade sideways across the growth. Never shave against the grain (unless you’re professionally trained) as this can pull the skin in the wrong direction causing small cuts and ‘grazing’ to the skin and is the most common cause of ‘razor burn’, ingrown hairs and shaving rash. Always finish your shave by rinsing your face with cold water to close the pores and pat the face dry with a soft towel leaving the residue shaving oil to soak into the skin (never harshly rub your face).
Caring for the Skin
A good wet shave exfoliates and cleanses the face, leaving smooth new skin cells. Newly exfoliated skin needs to be protected from the elements, so it is important that men use a good quality after-shave balm such as my Premium, 100% Pure & Natural The Village Barber After Shave Balm which will feed and moisturize the skin. Never apply an alcohol based product such as cologne onto your newly shaved face as this will have the complete opposite effect and disperse any remaining moisture and almost certainly inflame the skin, as well as sting! If you wish to smell great with your favourite cologne, apply it to the ‘hot spots’ behind the earlobes and on the sides of the neck.