If your shave consists of throwing on some Barbasol followed by a few swipes with a crappy razor, listen up gents: there’s a better way. Shaving is one of the most important grooming elements in your style arsenal, so follow these four steps and you’ll master the lost art of the perfect shave in no time.
Step One: Heat Things Up
When starting off your shave, heat is your friend. It softens stubble, opens your pores, and is the first step to shaving nirvana. Hot towels work well, as does shaving in a hot shower. At the other end of the spectrum, cold does the opposite, so don’t fall into the trap of starting your shave with a few splashes of cold water.
Step Two: Lubricate
Once you’ve got things heated up, the next step is supplying proper lubrication. We like Imperial Barber Pre-Shave Oil ($16, Imperial), which offers a blend of essential oils, antioxidants, and a Bulgarian lavender scent. Not only does it raise your hairs and help the razor glide smoothly, it’s also a key step in helping prevent nicks and redness. Depending on your preference, pre-shave oil may be enough lubrication, or you can opt to add shaving cream or soap as well, with Castle Forbes Shaving Cream being one of our favorites ($38, West Coast Shaving). It smells great and lathers beautifully. And finally, while you can apply shaving cream with your fingers, a better alternative is to use a badger hair brush, like Baxter of California’s Shave Brush ($50, Baxter of California). Rinse in warm water, add shaving cream and lather in a circular motion for best results.
Step Three: Add Quality Steel
Once lubricated, it’s time to add some steel. Skip the multi-blade razors and pick up a quality Merkur razor instead ($32, Amazon.com). Blades are cheap at about $1.50 each, and with the quality shaving prep you’ve already done, the Merkur is going to give you a world-class shave better than any of the other mass-marketed multi-blade alternatives.
Step Four: Master Your Technique
Finally, it’s time for the shave itself. Patience is key – don’t try to get everything in one pass. Instead, shave with the grain first, and be sure to pull your skin taught. Tight skin equals more contact with the blade, thus equating to a cleaner, better shave. If you then want to shave against the grain, be sure to add a second lather to prevent skin irritation. When you’re done, rinse with a dash of cold water to close your pores, then add in a quality alcohol-free aftershave, such as D.R. Harris Bay Rum ($33, West Coast Shaving). It not only smells great, it tells the world that you have officially mastered the art of the perfect shave.
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