– CLEAN IT! WASH YOUR FACE!
Begin your prep by cleaning your face, warm water and your normal cleanser is fine, you could also use a small amount of your shaving soap instead. This part is crucial because dirt and oils on the skin could aid in acne and even post-shave irritation. This step is also the first step toward lifting and softening your stubble to make for an easier, more comfortable shave. Many of us like to shave right after our shower, this insures the face is clean as well as softens the skin and stubble from shower’s hot water and steam.
– PREP IT! APPLY A PRE SHAVE OIL
Pre-shave oils are not a necessity, but there are some benefits to them. When massaged into the beard, the oil penetrates the skin it becomes better moisturized and very supple, making the skin more pliable. Pliability will reduce cuts and irritation because your skin will “give” to the blade and conform to the blades contours, eliminating the “drag” that may happen on dry, less supple skin. Contrary to what you may think, shave oils are not used to provide lubrication.
– WARM IT UP! ADD SOME HEAT TO THE FACE!
Take a lesson out of your Barbers book and apply a hot towel. You may not have a luxurious towel steamer like your Barber, but you don’t need one, a simple face cloth that has been soaked in hot water and wrung out will work perfectly. Press it to the face and hold it for a minute or so (or until the cloth feels like it’s becoming luke warm), this will warm the previously applied oil and help soften the stubble from it’s shaft.
– LATHER IT! DON'T FORGET YOUR SHAVING BRUSH!
Your lather is something that could make or break your shave. A bad soap/cream could render all of your previous prep worthless, so a good quality product is essential (read through the shaving forums that are out there, they are helpful in deciding what is good and bad). USE A SHAVING BRUSH! They hold in necessary moisture and lathering with one will properly lift the beard in preparation for the blade. More info on how and why shaving brushes work can be found in our blog post about Badger Brushes (click here).
– SHAVE IT! THROW AWAY THAT CARTRIDGE RAZOR!
A new/clean blade will keep your shave comfortable and prevent dreaded post shave irritation. Shave with a “proper” razor, Safety Razor (Double-Edge Razor) or Straight Razor shaving will give you a shave that is far superior to that of a Cartridge Razor. Want an explanation why? Click Here and read! If you are prone to razor bumps and ingrown hairs, shaving with the grain is a surefire way to prevent them, study your beard and feel for the direction of growth and shave WITH it. Use light pressure and let your razor do the work, and don’t forget to take your time.
– CLOSE EM UP... YOUR PORES
After a close shave, your face is very vulnerable, the pores are wide open and susceptible to clogging if not properly closed. Rinse with COLD water, it may be shocking at first but fight through it and don’t be a baby! You cold also soak that face cloth in cold water and apply it the same way you did the hot one. Be gentle and pat-dry your face, wiping aggressively may irritate areas like under your neck.
– FINISH IT OFF! FEEL THE BURN!
A splash of your favorite aftershave will help seal up those pores and have you smelling fresh. If you have dry skin, opt out of the aftershave splash and use an aftershave balm instead, this with help replenish moisture and refresh your skin.