Ever since prehistoric man first scraped a seashell across his cheek so prehistoric woman would let him dance cheek-to-cheek, shaving has been a part of the male experience. But even with today’s high-tech razors, lots of men still get nicks, cuts, and razor burn.
In an effort to save face (pun intended)… I’m going to share some tips and links that will help you get the job done right and reduce damage to your skin.
Q: What is the perfect shave and why do most guys get it so wrong?
A: The perfect shave is what all men strive for when they bring their razor up to their faces – an effortless shave that leaves your face baby smooth. While we’re talking about “The Perfect Shave”… we want all of this without any of the usual skin irritations, redness, and the burning sensations most of us think is par for the course when it comes to shaving.
Why do so many guys find this so hard to achieve? Why? Because proper shaving has become a lost art. Shaving is one of those glorious male traditions that used to be passed down from father to son, but somewhere along the way… shaving became more about cheap, disposable razors than a nice, precision-made metal tool in your hand.
Shaving became a brainless morning routine… Just dragging a dull disposable razor across a layer of gel-foam on your stubble… This is actually a step backward my friends, not an improvement!
Millions of men of all ages are experiencing a great shave by returning to shaving roots. The hottest trend right now in male grooming is the return to the traditional wet shave.
So then – What is “wetshaving” and how is it different from the way most men – and some women – shave today? Wetshaving is just what the word says – it’s about keeping the face wet!
The simple idea is to keep the surface wet with a combination of hot (but not scalding) water and shaving soap scrubbed into the skin with a good shaving brush. Repeat this process throughout the shave time and the results are going to amaze you.
This layer of hot water & shave lather from the shaving soaps between your skin and the blade means that the razor can skim the surface instead of dragging on it. The dragging is the main cause of irritation, cuts, bleeding and/or redness. This also causes “shave bumps” on men of African or Caribbean descent.
Wetshaving gives you more effective shaves and better looking skin. The hot water opens the pores of your skin and relaxes the muscles, and softens your whiskers at the same time – this makes for more effective cutting.
The Bottom Line: The key to proper wetshaving is keeping your face as wet as possible at all times during the shave. Even if you keep your current tools and routine, you’ll marvel at how much closer and more comfortable shaving can be when you keep your face hydrated at all times with mugs full of hot water and genuine shave soap (just like they made in the old days)…
You apply this mix of skin-saving goodness in a mug with liberal brush strokes, dashes and dabbles on the skin where your stubble stands in defiance, and then come across with a sharp DE Razor in a smooth motion.
One important tool you need for wetshaving is a razor. And by razor, I mean whatever high-quality, NON-DISPOSABLE razor you feel most comfortable with. Better yet, the kind of razor that serious wetshavers use is a classic double-edge safety razor!
A Double-Edge razor (also called a DE Razor or safety razor) is the kind your father, your grandfather, Cary Grant, JFK, and John Wayne used. All of the men’s magazines and shave-o-philes are always bragging how a classic DE wipes the floor with any modern razor.
The men’s grooming boom has created a huge resurgence of interest in DE razors, and guys are snapping up vintage models on eBay for big bucks! The new DE Razors available now bring back the spirit of the old school, classic razors, which many shaving connoisseurs consider the finest double-edge razor ever made.
There are several companies that manufacture a whole series of high-quality precision-made safety razors that will seriously make a big difference in the shave you get. Brands like Merkur, Dovo, and Parker Razors.
You Will Need These Four Things:
All of these items you will re-use for a long time, and this comes with significant savings to you! Funny how the “old way” of doing things was really better and cheaper too.
Careful… you’ve arrived in a state of shaving nirvana, you’re achieving THE PERFECT SHAVE!
Consumer Note: You can spend a lot while picking up the essentials, just be a good consumer and make the best choices for you, its not necessary to buy an expensive set of blades or brushes to make this cost-effective for you. No matter how you shop, it’s no contest on the dollars and cents side of things. Getting a better shave daily with a set of tools and shaving accessories that you can continually re-use at no additional cost makes this a no-brainer of a money-saver for the person who’s smart enough to see the savings. For shave brushes, the ones with Badger Hair are the best and will last a long time. Make your investment and laugh every time you see a store shelf with disposables!
Shaving Dollars and Cents
Shaving with a Mug Shaving Kit Saves You Money (fact). Make a small but really smart investment in your shaving setup and you’ll save you dollars every day.
How? Let’s do some new math here and you’ll see the downside to the new shaving methods.
The new wave of razors that are marketed to us gives your wallet a wallop! We get financial beating when you go out to buy these outrageously expensive refill cartridge sets. I mean seriously, even the bulk stores like BJs and CostCo are selling packages of 4-5 of the “latest blades” for $20-29 bucks, and we pay $40+ for a package of 10 or more… For 20+ razor cartridges, you can easily spend upwards of $50 bucks, and that’s before you’ve even gotten the groceries.
We’re bombarded with ads for the “Latest” in shaving creams and multi-blade throwaway razors that we think it’s better, but its really NOT and it’s expensive. [not funny]
Side Note: You might not want to believe it, but your whiskers are tougher than the edge of an average razor blade! By using a modern shave gel or common shave cream, you’re actually almost shaving “dry” or “mostly dry” as these don’t really WET the surface that well, and has no additional benefits when compared to what real hot water does for our skin. Who Knew?!?
So if you’re using a modern shave cream or gel, this means you’re literally tugging on each and every hair on your face instead of neatly trimming at the skin’s surface and moving on without irritating your skin.
Now that you have the tools… Follow these simple steps to a great shave!
Once you’ve got a shaving brush, a razor, and some quality shaving cream or soap, you’ll need a shaving mug 1/2 way full of (not scalding) water and that shaving soap/shaving cream of choice. After you emerge from a nice, hot shower, fill that mug with hot water and let your shaving brush soak in the water as it fills from the mug. Splash some more hot water on your face to keep it maximally wet. The key to wetshaving is keeping your face as hydrated with hot water at all times as possible.
Remove your brush from the mug, swirl the wet tips around in a circular motion in the mug and get it working.
Now you want to paint your face up and down, up and down all over the areas of your face and neck you’ll be shaving. Keep at it for a minute or so until you’ve got a thick, opaque layer of rich lather covering the shaving area. Then set your brush handle-down on the counter and pick up your razor.
You want to shave downward on your face and neck, WITH the direction your whiskers grow. At least for the first pass, a North-to-South stroke 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 grain, in a South-to-North direction. Most men’s skin is too sensitive to stand up to an against-the-grain shave without redness, razor burn, and even ingrown hairs, but if you can deal with it, go gently.
Once you’re done shaving, rinse your face with cold water to close the pores, thoroughly rinse your shaving brush of lather and shake it dry, and you should always store your shaving brush on it’s handle, never lying down. This will let the bristles air-dry without damaging them, so your brush will last 20 years or more.
Pat, not rub, your face dry with a clean towel, and finish up with a good non-alcohol-based after-shave or moisturizer will be better than that stinging alcohol-based stuff that we’ve all gotten stung by.
CAUTION: if you’ve been shaving with a disposable razor or one of the modern multi-blade cartridge systems like the Mach3 or other, be aware that switching to a single-blade DE will require that you un-learn all the bad habits you’ve learned from using modern razors. Mainly, that means slower, more careful strokes, and guiding the razor’s head over your skin WITHOUT PRESSING DOWN.
Let me say that again. WITHOUT PRESSING DOWN AT ALL.
Men shaved this way for hundreds of years before plastic disposables and multi-bladed 2/3/4/5/?/ Blade razors were even invented.
Once you slow down and stop pressing the blade against your skin so hard, you’ll find that not only do you get a closer, smoother shave, but all of the nicks, cuts, scrapes, and the burning sensation and red marks all over your neck will start to go away. Most likely, these will never show up again on happy faces again.
It’s just the opposite when using a modern multi-blade razors, a lighter touch doesn’t work nearly as well with because they were designed to allow for the typical guy who thinks the harder he rakes the razor across his face the closer his shave will be. But with a DE Razor, a lighter touch actually does result in a closer shave, and a much more comfortable and skin-friendly shave besides.
If you end up with a few nicks your first few shaves with a DE, don’t worry, it happens to all of us. It’s your face’s way of telling you to stop being a jerk. After a few shaves, you’ll figure it all out, and then you’ll wonder why you haven’t been shaving like this your whole life.
This is one of those guy grooming secrets that separate the men from the boys... Pass this on to your good friends and anyone you know that shaves!
By Louis Wing