Shaving, Have You Really Been Taught Properly? | Above The Collar

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Shaving, Have You Really Been Taught Properly?

Shaving. Some enjoy it, some hate it, some do it often, some never touch it, some relish it and others avoid it. Whatever the case be, we believe that shaving should not be a chore, but an enjoyable experience for all. 

But have you been taught right? Many pick up the habits they were taught from that iconic first shave, and don't cast a thought after, turning a blind eye to all the trialled and proven means of the perfect shave.

Something is soothing about the practice, and whether you're an experienced pro or a newcomer, this technical blog will teach you a thing or two, about the art of shaving. 

So Gentlemen, let's discuss...

Tools

Clippers: If you're one of those husky, thick bearded fellows, then firstly, we salute your growth, and secondly you're going to need clippers to begin your routine. Use clippers to shave down your hair as short as possible. This will minimise the risk of pulling, irritation and razor burn.  

Clipper Recommendation: Silver Bullet Lithium Pro 100 Hair Trimmerthis professional trimmer is powerful and perfect for reaching around ears and achieving a detailed trimming.

Shave brush:  If you want a proper shave DO NOT use your hands. A shave brush is essential as it whips air into your shaving cream and perfectly lathers your face. While also removing your dead skins cells (exfoliating) and adding heat to your face which opens up pores, softening your skin and lifting your hair.

Shave Brush Recommendation: Tooletries Badger Friendly Shave Brushenjoy the old school application of a tradition shaving brush made from a synthetic bristle that creates a richer lather faster.

The Razor :

  • Straight Razor (Cut-Throat): Known as an old-school shaving tool, Cut-throats are making a return. We don't recommend beginners use this razor as the blade offers no protection (hence the nickname 'Cut-Throat') and requires maximum control. 

Cut-Throat Recommendation: Captain Fawcett's Disposable Blade Straight Razorthis beautifully crafted tool for those seeking to experience the pleasure and intimate closeness of a traditional wet shave for themselves.

  • Safety: It's pretty self-explanatory, safety razors are safe. Many men use them because of their close, smooth, shave and reluctance to cuts and nicks.

Safety Razor Recommendation: Baxter of California Traditional Safety Razorthis custom chrome-plated razor provides a smooth, close shave & helps reduce ingrown hairs and razor burn by using only a single blade.

  • Cartridge: Cartridges are used for their convenience. However, in the long term, cartridges are more expensive, due to the need to constantly replace blades. To preserve your blade, dry it after use (as water dulls it), replace them every 3-5 uses, and as obvious as it may seem, DON'T use a dull blade.

Cartridge Razor Recommendation: Muhle R 876 M3 Mach3 Razormade with high-grade resin and  three progressively spaced blades guarantees a comfortable and close shave.

 Pre-Shave

This is where the shave starts. First, hydrate your face with warm water, this will soften your skin and open up your pores. Next, it's ideal to exfoliate, this will remove any dead skin cells and release ingrown hairs (a badger brush before the shave should do the trick though). Lastly, apply a pre-shave cream or lotion to your face. This is integral to reduce razor burn and skin irritation. The lotion will soften and condition your skin while lifting your hair fibres, prepping the canvas for a smooth and easy glide.

Pre Shave Recommendation: Edwin Jagger Hydrating Pre Shave Lotion 75mlthis pre-shave lotion prepares and softens the whiskers for an incredibly smooth shave.

The Shave

Now for the main event. We can't stress this enough, DO NOT dry shave. You NEED to apply a shaving cream, and one that is of quality. Using a grocery store brand can be all the difference between a shave you're excited for and one you're trying to avoid. Drug store brands pump synthetic chemicals into their product, and try to achieve a foam effect which majority contains air, only creating an air barrier between your razor and your skin. 

Lather your shaving cream (with a shave brush) onto your face and let it sit for 1-2 minutes while it works its way into your skin. The point of a shaving cream is to provide a layer of protection and provide less friction in your shave (no nicks and cuts). 

Shave 1 

Begin shaving. It's important to note that your first round should be shaving with the grain of your hair. The grain doesn't mean up or down, it's either WITH or AGAINST, so figure out which way your beard hair grows and begin shaving with it. Do short strokes and make sure you're washing your blade underwater (removing cream and hair from it) every 4 or so strokes. 

Shave 2 (optional)

For some, one shave will be enough, but if you want a closer shave or want to go over any missed spots, then you will need two (sometimes even 3). Lather up your face again, and begin shaving as per round 1 except this time go against the grain (don't if you have sensitive skin though). Going against the grain will provide you with a closer shave.

Shaving Cream Recommendation: Proraso Eucalyptus & Menthol Refresh Shaving Cream 150mlthis shaving cream will last longer than most shaving creams and helps clean and moisturize the skin.

After Shave

We're not done yet though, the post-shave is critical for the health of your skin. Wash your face off with cold water (this will close your pores) and apply an aftershave (blam, lotion, cream, etc.). The aftershave will prevent an infection to any cuts, and act as an astringent to reduce any skin irritation. Most importantly it hydrates your skin and offers a layer of protection, which is needed to prevent your skin from drying out.

After Shave Recommendation: Urth Post Shave Elixir 59ml, this two-in-one post-shave remedy helps calm and soothe razor irritation and redness while combating and treating razor bumps and ingrown hair.

The Wrap

And that is, the perfect shave. To end this read I want to leave you with a quick tip. Take your time when you shave. Enjoy it, don't rush it. We know sometimes life can get in the way but the best shaves are those that are done with pride and care.