Most of you men out there have been using a razor to shave for many years and have probably come to a point once or twice where you ask yourself “Am I doing this right? Am I supposed to do this differently?” We tend to think it comes so naturally for us to shave, but in fact it is actually an art and, like every art, it calls for some knowledge and skill before you master it. Now whether or not you do any of the following things listed below, you may need to make alterations to your shaving routine so that you can be on your way to a masterful and clean shave for the rest of your life. Let’s start off with something that could be obvious to many of you:
1. Using cold water
It may feel refreshing and manly, but soaking your face in cold water prior to shaving isn’t going to do much good for you. In fact, it makes the process more difficult for you. Cold water shrinks the pores and this makes the hairs stiffer, and less conducive to the strokes made by your razor. Furthermore, any type of shaving cream you’re using will not get into the tissue as well enough as it will if you pre-rinse with warm water. Warm water, or steam, will soften the skin and the hairs, letting the razor glide easily. Thus, shaving flows smoothly and there won’t be any shaving bumps in the way as long as your technique is flawless.
2. Skipping the moisturizer
Cleansing your face with warm water is not enough to get a great shave. The next important step is to moisturize your skin. The special glycerin pre-shave products are the best here. It could be an oil too, as long as it contains glycerin. This will make shaving much easier and smoother and can actually help you avoid wounding or irritating your skin. Moderation is key here, so work the oil or lotion onto your skin and let it sink in for a few minutes. It needs a bit of time to take full effect. You don’t have to use a lot of product for this and if you do, you will only be wasting it.
3. Buying the wrong shaving cream
We keep telling guys out there to avoid cheap shaving creams. The range of shaving creams and foams available in stores is vast. The problem is however, that the ingredients inside them matter a lot, and some of them negate the purpose of shaving cream which is to ensure that you skin is hydrated and well coated while shaving is ensuing. The product that you use has to ensure proper grooming so look for some of the higher priced shaving creams and soaps like Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Cream and Proraso Shaving Soap. You can use much less of these products so the cost and get a much better shave so the cost is actually very warranted. And no, it doesn’t matter what type of razor you use, you can still lather up with a better soap and cream and it will improve your shave regardless.
4. Not paying attention to the sideburns
Frequently we see men that rarely know what to do about their sideburns. They either cut too much or too little. The first major mistake is cutting the sideburns entirely, up to the top of the ear. This just does not look well and a well groomed man would never do this. On the other hand, you can’t let it grow all the way close to your jawline. The middle of the ear is the best point to stop when shaving. Also, you may want to trim these hairs regularly, so they don’t become too bushy either.
5. Going against the grain on the first pass
A lot of shaving advice out there states to never go against the grain as this will irritate the skin. Well, this is only half true. Going against the grain is essential if you are trying to get a super close shave, like many of us are, so you literally can not skip it. The problem lies in going against the grain on the first pass. Depending on what type of razor you are using, you can perform either a two pass or a three pass shave. Go with the grain first and then across or against the grain on the second pass. If you are using a DE safety razor or a straight razor which are both much more abrasive, you should look for a three pass shave. If you don’t know what this is, you can read more about it in our straight razor shaving guide.
6. Applying too much pressure
It may make you feel like you’re doing a solid job of cutting all the hair in one pass, but it actually opens you up to irritation and cutting of your face. Try to shave lightly and not apply too much, if any pressure at all. Whatever you do, you should never press because that creates an uneven surface. It’s best to just work with the natural contours of the face, without forcing anything. A BBS (barbershop shave) is not synonymous with applying pressure to your razor.
7. Not giving your skin a break
Even if the stubble or goatee look is not for you, you should allow your facial hair to grow every once in a while. Giving your face a break from the daily ritual of shaving will allow skin to replenish itself and ultimately be more healthy. When you stress it constantly with daily shaving, it loses its oils and tends to stay and become irritated much more easily. So keep that in mind and grow out your beard once in a while! At the very most, you should be shaving 5 days a week as a maximum. These changes aren’t hard to make and they can make a drastic difference in the quality of shave that you get. Adjust your shaving routine accordingly and you will see not only a closer shave, but also one that is free of unruly bumps and cuts.