There are few things in life more satisfying that a good shave. Feeling your baby soft skin rising like a phoenix out of the ashes of stubble left a little too long feels amazing, but sometimes it doesn’t always work out this way. When not performed properly, wet shaving can create nasty and painful razor burn. It’s the arch enemy of shaving. The painful burning lesions don’t only feel awful but look terrible. However by following a few simple steps this absolute nightmare can be avoided.
Soften the Hair
Just like when getting your haircut at the salon, it’s much easier to cut wet hair then dry hair. The best time to shave is just after taking a bath or shower, when your beard will have been exposed to a lot of steam, making it soft and easy to cut. To maintain the high levels of moisture throughout the shave always use a shaving foam or cream. If you want extra gold stars then you can even use some conditioner on your beard in the shower just to give it that extra level of softness.
It might not sound like a word you normally hear being thrown around the rugby pitch, but exfoliating is a great way to improve your shave. Use a facial scrub or exfoliating gloves to remove dead layers of skin and draw out those annoying ingrown hairs that spoil a clean shave. You’ll be amazed at how fresh you feel afterwards.
Turn Back the Clocks
When you are lathering up with the shaving foam or cream that I mentioned earlier, try and do so with an older school badger brush – the type that you would find in any barbers worth its salt. The badger brush may make you think of your Grandad, but it’s with good reason they have been around for so long, they are the best way to get the shaving cream up under every little hair, making them much easier to remove afterwards.
Pick the Right Razor
I know you see ad after ad telling you how many blades is optimal for a razor. First two, then three, then 500, but in all honesty you don’t really need more than one. I mean, once you’ve cut the hair, you’ve cut the hair. If you’re somebody who is finding your skin irritated after each shave then it might be because of the razor overkill – too many blades being drawn across the skin, messing it up.
…and Look After It
Once you’ve found your new toy, make sure you look after it by drying it off at the end of every shave – this will keep it from blunting and result in a much better shave. It’s also best to keep it sterile to avoid infection in the (albeit now hopefully much less likely) chance you cut yourself. Try cleaning it with alcohol.
Shave With the Grain
This must be the first thing that all barbers learn, just like how a swedish masseuse learns to direct their work towards the heart. It might be tempting to shave against the grain, but just because you can hear a louder scratching noise, don’t think that a deeper shave is being achieved! Going against the grain is likely to cause intense irritation, ingrown hairs, a bad burn and a very unhappy you. Go with the grain, and your chances of burn are reduced 100 fold.
Last But Not Least
Rinse your face off with nice cold water when you’re finished. The cold water helps to close your pores up and reduces the chance that you will develop ingrown hairs. It also helps to wake you up if this shave is happening at ungodly o’clock. Then apply a little face balm or moisturiser to soothe the skin, I mean you’ve just finished pulling sharp metal across it, no matter how careful you’ve been it’s going to be a little unhappy with you. Try something with aloe vera.
Then all that’s left to do is strut.