If you want to maintain the classic clean-shaven look, shaving is a necessary daily endeavor. Even beards require regular maintenance, and you might have to shave it all off some day!
The fast-paced lives we live often drain out the pleasures of the seemingly mundane. Shaving becomes a rote shower routine. And yet, it's a bit of an art form, and can even be refreshing and confidence-boosting. Shaving can become an exercise in focus and personal discipline.
So let's get back to the basics. Here's what men need to know to master the art of shaving.
Wet Shaving Tips & Techniques
Wet shaving is the "classic" approach to shaving. Perhaps less convenient, and less popular due to the proliferation of disposable razors, but nevertheless an important technique to add to your arsenal.
Procure a straight or double razor, shaving soap or cream, a shaving brush, a post-shave product, and you're ready to get started. We'll assume you're setting yourself up at a working sink with running water too.
Step 1: Map out the direction of your beard and discern how your hairs grow. This will make shaving easier and help you to avoid post-shave irritation.
Step 2: Wet and/or moisten your beard. A warm shower is usually the easiest way to get this done.
Step 3: Soak your brush, rid it of excess moisture, and apply shaving soap to it. Begin spreading the soap onto your beard.
Step 4: Begin shaving. Finding the right angle for your blade can take a bit of work - position the handle perpendicular to your face, and slowly begin to lower it. Follow the grain of your beard, and don't apply any pressure. Rinse your face when done.
Step 5: You're now ready for a second pass on your beard. Apply shaving soap again, and this time, instead of following your grain, bring the razor across your beard. Rinse when done.
Step 6: Find a post-shave product for your face, like a toner, and apply as directed. This can help prevent blemishes on your skin. If razors have already caused you some concern with regards to your skin, it's worth looking into how to get rid of razor bumps.
The steps outlined here are essential to a good shave, but as with all things related to shaving, they are subject to personal preference. For instance, some choose to do a third pass on their facial hair to get their face feeling as smooth as a newborn's rear.
Disposable razors? Safety razors? Straight razors?
There are several options to choose from, and they are all tools for accomplishing the same end. But there are some differences worth noting.
Disposable razors tend to come in two different forms. There are those that can be thrown away in their entirety, up to and including the handle, and there are those that have replaceable blade cartridges. Disposable razors do get the job done, but that's about it. Those who want to move away from disposable solutions should either look to safety razors or straight razors.
Safety razors or a single blade razor helps to reduce shaving related injuries thanks to a built-in protective device, and require less skill than straight razors to use. More affordable than multi-blade razors, a safety razor's shelf life is also longer because both sides of the blade can be used. But overall, they are harder to use than popular disposable razors.
A straight razor is a long blade that's attached to a pivoting handle, sometimes called a cut-throat razor. Of the various options available, it is considered the most difficult to use, and before disposable razors came along, many relied on the expertise of professional barbers to get their shaving done safely and neatly. Safety razors, in fact, made this process more accessible to the average man. The shaving process and technique with a straight razor differs from that of a safety razor. As it is an intricate process, check out this guide on how to shave with a straight razor.
What About Electric Shavers?
Electric devices can be quick and effective in some instances. As we've already established, efficiency isn't always the goal of the shave, but if you need to get out the door fast, a combination of disposable razors and an electric shaver can work decently enough.
Feel free to check out the best electric shaver on the market, but note that it won't give you as close of a shave as a razor can offer. It would be advisable to pick up the best available, since you get what you pay for, and the cheaper you go, the less effective the shave will ultimately be.
Now you know everything you need to know to master shaving. In summary, safety and straight razors can offer control you just won't get elsewhere, and can turn an otherwise mundane chore into a rewarding exercise of self-care and grooming. But as with all things shaving, it's a matter of preference, and only you can decide what's right for you.