Shaving Tips

Friday 18th November, 2005
I'm talking about men's faces really, but I guess (for you ladies) this could easily apply to anywhere else you can reach with a razor.

I've been wet shaving since I was about 16 I guess and, 15 years on, I'm still struggling to get a satisfying shave. I think my main problem is lack of commitment to the cause, clearly people who shave every single day without fail seem to have an easier task. I've been given lots of tips over the years, intially by my dad...but more recently from friends and colleagues. Here's just a quick summary of that advice...

  • Use plenty of hot water.
  • Wash your face in cold water.
  • Always use a sharp blade
  • You get your best shave the second time you use a blade
  • Nothing compares to a "proper" shave in an Italian Barbers
  • Shave with the growth.
  • Shave against the growth.
  • Moisturise to keep your skin in good condition
  • Don't use moisturiser, it blocks the pores.

Basically it all contradicts and it's hard to get a good pattern. I've experimented a lot recently and come to some factual conclusions that apply to my face at least.
1.        Shave regularly - Irregular shaving generally causes me more irritation and also, as the stubble grows longer, it can itch.
2.        Use a good quality, swivel head, multi-blade razor. Cheap blades aren't good.
3.        A wet beard is easier to shave, the wetter the better. Wash face thoroughly with a good facewash, don't dry and then lather up with some shave gel or foam or whatever suits you. As long as it locks in that moisture you'll be fine. Wetter is more important than more lather.
4.        Rinse blade in hot water between EVERY stroke. The hotter the blade, the better it cuts. It also activates lubricating strips on the blades.
5.        When the lubricating strip on the blade is dead, throw it in the bin...the blade's blunt too.
6.        The lather helps you see where you've been, but only on the first stroke. It helps lubricate the blade but only on the first stroke. It helps locks in the moisture, but only of the first stroke. After that, the skin can dry very quickly. Relathering may help mid shave. An Italian barbers will re-lather 2 or 3 times during the shave.
7.        Don't be economic, if a blade doesn't feel sharp and you think it's past it - that's cuz it is. Bin it.
8.        After the shave, your pores will be wide open and your skin very dry. I heard you can lose 1/3rd of the moisture in your face whilst shaving. Use a moisturiser to replace it and then an after-shave to locking that moisture. Shave...moisturise...after shave...get it?
9.        Between shaves, use an exfoliating facewash...the stuff with grit in it. This removes all the dead skin and makes the external layer much smoother. This helps a lot when shaving and helps reduce nicks/cuts.
10.        Moisturise regularly, especially if you spend a lot of time in dry, air conditioned environments.

Anybody else got any tips?

  1. 1) Chris Linfoot Said: (18/11/2005 13:51:18 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Shaving Tips

    Sorry for long URI

    Here's what I use.

    { Link }

    Never used to like electric shaving but this has worked very well for me.

  2. 2) Ben Rose Said: (18/11/2005 13:58:54 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Shaving Tips

    No long URLs here, self shortlinking :O)

    Never tried a rotary-head electric, I have a Braun clean & charge which was fine until the clean & charge unit broke. As I can't be arsed to clean it manually (the main reason I bought an automated one)I don't use it any more.

  3. 3) Jef Said: (18/11/2005 14:49:45 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Shaving Tips

    Took a while to find it but this was on MSNBC a few days ago: { Link }

  4. 4) Richard Schwartz Said: (18/11/2005 14:51:22 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Shaving Tips

    I have no idea what you're talking about :-)

    Well, actually from my distant past I do remember a few things. One is that water alone, or water with a tiny bit of soap makes an outstanding lubricant for a "finishing stroke", so after you've done the heavy cutting just splash hot (as hot as you can stand) water on and immediately take a final light pressure pass with the the razor, leaving your face as smooth as it will ever be.

    Second, the cheap disposable razors absolutely have the sharpest blades out of the box. They're good for only a couple of good shaves before they dull. The first use will probably cut you, but it will be a good shave, especially if you have a coarse beard. The second use will be very good, and the third will still be better than what you usally get from a more expensive handle and blade set. But get rid of it after the third. That's why they're called "disposable".

  5. 5) Ben Poole Said: (18/11/2005 15:50:19 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Shaving Tips

    "Chuck Norris doesnt shave; he kicks himself in the face. The only thing that can cut Chuck Norris is Chuck Norris."

    { Link }

    On a more serious note. Hot water is the key: wash with hot water before, shave, rinse with hot water to get rid of lather, then rinse with COLD water to close pores. Against / with growth doesn't really matter I find, so long as you don't over-do it. Over-shaving + no exfoliation = ingrowing hairs. And they are BUGGERS!

  6. 6) AJP Said: (18/11/2005 16:41:49 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Shaving Tips

    Don't shave when your drunk and don't shave when your in a hurry!. ;-)

  7. 7) Colman Said: (18/11/2005 16:57:21 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Shaving Tips

    One tip, shave after a hot shower or bath. The warm water softens the bristles and makes them easier to shave. Same principle behind the warm towel on the face at your Italian barbers.


  8. 8) G Said: (18/11/2005 18:47:00 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Shaving Tips

    Do you need a Mirkin now ?

  9. 9) John Vanderhoff Said: (19/11/2005 00:35:21 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Shaving Tips

    I grew a beard three years ago and I don't think I'll go back.

    Saves me time every morning and once a week I run my inexpensive beard trimmer through it.

    No shaving, no problems

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