Shaving can be dreadful, painful and not least expensive. But there are ways to make your shave more pleasant. Read along as I present nine tips which will help improve your shave.
1) Never shave on dry skin!
This is rule number one for a reason! Even though electrical razors are popular and easy to use, they will never give you as smooth a shave as a wet shave. To get the best and closest shave, the combination of moistened beard and a sharp knife is better than anything else.
2) Trash your canned shaving foam and get a good soap or cream instead
Shaving foam in a pressurized can is your first enemy in your quest for a good, close shave. That's bad because pressurized shaving foam is the only thing available in many parts of the world.
So what should you get instead? I recommend you start out with a decent shaving soap or shaving cream. You should be able to get this from your local chemist or barbershop. Shaving soaps and creams come in all price ranges and qualities, but I dare to say that all of them will give you a better shave than the canned foam you'll get at the supermarket.
To get the most from the shaving soap or cream, you will benefit from a shaving brush to produce the greatest lather. That lead us to tip number three…
3) Get a shaving brush
A shaving brush is used to whip the shaving cream in order to produce a rich and thick lather. It is also used to apply the lather on to your face and into your beard.
The shaving brush must be able to absorb water in order to produce a rich lather. The best shaving brushes are made from badger hair, simple because badger hair can hold large amounts of water and still feel very soft on your skin. The cheaper shaving brushes are made from boar hair, which are less soft – or even from some sort of synthetic material.
Do yourself a favour and get a badger brush to begin with. As a beginner, it doesn't have to be the most expensive one, just as long as it is made from badger hair.
4) Learn to use a Double Edge or straight razor
Now that we have the cream and the brush in place, we need to look at the razor itself.
Let's begin by dividing them into three rough categories:
- Disposable, single-use razors
- Disposable cartridge razors like Gillette Fusion ProGlide, Schick Hydro or King of Shaves Azor 5.
- NON-disposable razors with replaceable blades (i.e. Double Edge or straight razors)
If your current razor fall into the first category, stop! The quality of the blades in these razors can not be compared to any of the other two categories. They are cheap for a reason.
Cartridge razors like the Gillette Fusion, Schich Hydro and King of Shaves Azor series can give you a very good and close shave. The drawback here is the price. The replacement cartridges will cost you much more than the blades you can get for a good Double Edge razor.
The Double Edge razor on the other hand is a tool for life. You can get a large variety of double edge blades at very reasonable prices and most of the blades maintain a very high quality. Double Edge razors come in different designs and vary in aggressiveness and ease of use. For a beginner a mild razor like the Merkur 43C or the Edwin Jagger 89 is highly recommended by many. While it may take a lot of practice to really master the technique, you will probably still experience an improvement from day one.
5) Allow your skin to wake up in the morning
Don't shave just after you have woken up in the morning. While you sleep your skin expands slightly. Allow your skin at least 10-15 minutes to wake up as well before shaving.
(Added benefit: Your eyes also work better after ten minutes, meaning a reduced risk of cutting yourself)
6) Stop thinking of shaving as a dreadful chore. Make it your hobby
Now, this is not really a tip. Or is it? You will find that once you have your shaving brush and a double edge razor, shaving becomes much more fun and a thing you actually look forward to. You will find a smile on your face as you walk into your bathroom to shave.
At first, I never thought it would happen to me. But don't be fooled. Once you're into this – you're hooked.
7) Don't shave in the shower
This should be obvious, but I know a lot of you actually do this. Don't shave in the shower! There are two reasons for that.
First, to get the best shave you should be right in front of your mirror and fully focused on what you're doing.
Second; Even though you want your beard to be moistened, you don't want your skin soaked while shaving. As you shower, your skin expands slightly. If you shave at the same time, you will not get as close a shave as you will after the shower.
8) Use a good, non alcoholic aftershave
Once you're done shaving, you must protect your skin by using a good aftershave. Make sure to get an aftershave without alcohol! The alcohol will dry out your skin completely and may result in nasty red spots.
9) Get my newsletter to learn about the latest and best products
Every now and then, I send out my free newsletter with some of the new stuff I test and articles with tips on how to get a better shave. You can subscribe easily by filling in your email in the box on the right – or by clicking here.