How to Get the Best Shave of Your Life
- by Mike Wargo
Since high school, I’ve struggled with issues with shaving. My skin would get irritated and dry the day of and I would end up spending the rest of the day uncomfortable.
This is an issue that many other men experience and the reason for it is actually very simple. They’re shaving wrong.
For years, all I did was put shaving cream on my face, shave it as quickly as possible, and call it good. I would’ve saved myself a lot of years of grief if I had just taken the extra time to do it right.
Don’t make my mistakes. Follow these steps to get the best shave of your life.
1. Get Your Face Wet
It’s important to never start your shave dry. This is a good way to get razor burn or shaving rash. Before shaving, wash your face thoroughly with warm water, either in the shower, or the sink. You want all the hairs to be wet. Facial hair absorbs moisture really well, causing the hair to swell and become easier to cut.
2. Use a Quality Shaving Cream/Oil/Soap
You know those aerosol cans filled with foamy shaving cream? The ones you’ve probably been using your entire life? Throw that shit in the trash.
Those cans are loaded with chemicals that don’t improve your shave in the least. The chemicals used for foaming don’t actually do anything.
At the Whiskey Neat Barbershop, we exclusively use Whiskey, Ink, and Lace shave oil and shave soap. Both can be used in lieu of shaving cream.
With shave soap, suds up the soap with a shave brush and apply it to the skin.
With the shave oil, dispense some oil in your hand and apply it to your face. This can be used by itself or you can put it on before you apply shaving cream.
Regardless of what you use when shaving, make sure to let the cream/oil/soap sit on your face for a minute or two before you start shaving (I often use this time to brush my teeth in the morning). This wait time will allow whatever you used to bond to your stubble.
It’s not an absolute necessity to wait the two minutes, but it helps make the shave much smoother.
3. Use a Good Razor
(Badass, but not quite)
Sure, those Bic thirty pack razors you bought at Sam’s Club are a great bargain. But those two blades often irritate the skin and just don’t “cut it” (pun intended).
Go for razors that have at least three blades and maybe have one of those wet strips on them. The Gillette Mach series is pretty reliable. Rinse your blades under hot water and after every few passes to remove the hair, shaving cream, and dead skin that accumulates on the blade.
Make sure to change out the blades semi-regularly to avoid razor burn. A dull blade makes for a bad shave.
4. Shave Properly
It’s strange how few men know the proper way to shave. Shaving against the grain will certainly give you the closest shave. But doing so also increases the risk of nicks to the skin and ingrown hairs, neither of which are good things.
Shave in the direction that your beard grows with a light amount of pressure. You may be tempted to press down when shaving, but if you’ve followed the above steps properly, you won’t need to apply a lot of pressure to get a clean shave.
5. Take Care of Your Skin
Once you’re done with shaving, it’s time to take care of your skin. After all, you did just drag a sharp razor across it.
First, rinse your face with cool water and pat it dry with a clean towel.
“But Mike,” you ask, “Which one is right for me?” Well, dear reader, that is entirely up to you. Or rather, your skin.
- For those with oily skin, using the aftershave will close up your pores and calm any nicks or irritations. A good aftershave will contain aloe to soothe the skin when you’re done shaving.
- If your skin tends to be more dry and flaky, the after-shave lotion is your best bet. With the lotion, you want coconut oil to moisturize and soften your skin.
By taking care of your skin after each shave, future shaves will go smoother because your skin is healthy.
Sometimes, shaving can feel like a chore. Lord knows I’ve had many mornings where taking the time to shave felt like an exhausting activity on par with running a marathon.
But, taking the time to properly shave and take care of your face will keep you looking and feeling fresh. And taking all these steps will make every subsequent shave easier and smoother.