Perfect Shaving

shaving man

Phase one: PREP

Always shave in the shower or immediately after one. As with the hot towel, steam is the key—it opens pores, which in turn causes whiskers to rise so they’re easier to lop off. If the bathroom mirror hasn’t fogged up, the shower isn’t hot enough.

Wash your face with a bar of soap or liquid cleanser. “I explain it this way,” says Anthony Sosnick, founder of the men’s grooming brand Anthony Logistics. “You always wash your car before you wax it.” Shave without washing first, and you’ll trap dirt and grime in your pores, leading to bumps and blemishes. Also, don’t confuse exfoliating with cleansing—using a harsh scrub may do more to irritate your face than refresh it (and between using a brush to apply your shave cream and shaving, your beard area will get plenty of exfoliation as it is).

Although it’s often omitted, shave oil is crucial in eliminating nicks, cuts, and irritation. Pour a dime-size drop of it into your hands and massage it thoroughly into the beard to soften whiskers and help the razor glide smoothly. Don’t worry, this minuscule amount won’t leave your face with a greasy sheen.

Phase two: SHAVE

The cream should be spread over the oil. This is best accomplished with a badger brush, which further preps the beard by raising hairs. Wet the brush, then use it to whip the cream into a lather and spread it on in a circular motion. Avoid shaving soaps and canned aerosol creams like Barbasol, which foam excessively and make it harder for the razor to get close to the skin. Opt for creams in jars or tubes instead, which produce a thin, gentle lather.

A razor should always be drawn in the same direction that stubble grows—i.e., with the grain. Regularly shaving in this direction lifts whiskers from their pores and prevents ingrown hairs. Begin shaving at the sideburn and work your way down. Save the neck for last—this gives the oil and shaving cream extra time to relax the thicker stubble. Always use long, even strokes, and rinse the blades frequently.

Typically, just one pass provides an amply close shave. But going over the beard twice makes for the closest shave possible. On this second pass—and only now—shave against the grain. Note: Make sure you use an extremely light touch.

Phase three: REPAIR

When you are finished, splash your face repeatedly with cold water. In addition to washing away the remaining shave cream and oil, the cold water helps close pores and soothe skin. Then gently pat (don’t wipe) your face dry with a towel.

Whether out of fear of fragrance or of getting shiny skin, many men mistakenly shun after-shave products. But even when done properly, shaving is traumatic for the skin, so a little TLC is in order. There are two primary types of after-shave that will do the trick: alcohol-free toner, which is ideal for oily skin, and should be patted on lightly; and moisturizing balm with soothing benzocaine, which should be gently rubbed in until absorbed. Balm or moisturizer is a must for anyone with dry skin; if you have normal skin, you can use whichever you prefer.


ShavinMaven said...

For really helpful shaving demonstrations on video, check out Bump Patrol's clips on YouTube or its company website ( In each of them, a master barber teaches you how to avoid getting razor burn and razor bumps by shaving the right way and treating your beard and your skin before and after each shave.

James said...

What technique would you recommend from shaving your chest, like this guy
Irish Shaving ad

serg zhurenko said...

:) nice video, very helpful!
actually, some techniques ( one of them is similar to your example ) at this specialize resource

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