Getting the best shave is one of the most important aspects of looking and feeling your best, but razor bumps, razor burn, and ingrown hairs are a constant problem. So, how do you get the best shave possible without the hassles? How do you strike the balance between the closest shave and the safest shave?
To answer these vexing questions, we’ve compiled an ever-growing list of shaving strategies and tactics for getting the closest shave possible while avoiding razor bumps, razor burn, and ingrown hairs. This list will continue to grow so feel free to drop us a line in the comments if you have an idea that you think should be added here.
Prepare and Cleanse Your Skin
1. Cleanse your skin thoroughly
Before shaving, the hair on your face must be hydrated. When hair gets wet, it swells making it easier to cut. Use warm water and a quality pre-shave cleanser to wash the area of your face you’ll be shaving. The warm water will open your pores while the lubricating and disinfecting ingredients of the pre-shave cleanser will reduce friction and clean away any bacteria before you shave.
2. Rinse with a hot towel
Once you’ve washed your face, run a towel under warm water and use it to wipe away excess cleanser. Then, press the towel to the shaving area on your face for 10 – 15 seconds. This will help to open your pores even more and hydrate the hairs on your face, making cutting the hairs easier.
3. Use a lubricating pre-shave lotion
One great way to reduce friction as you shave and reduce the chances of razor bumps is to use a lubricating pre-shave lotion. Pre-shave lotions provide an extra layer of lubrication between your skin and the blade, allowing the blade to glide more easily across the skin. Apply the lotion to the area of the face you’ll be shaving just after applying the hot towel. Depending on your beard, a great tactic for getting a smoother shave is to apply pre-shave lotion both before and after the hot towel.
3. Use a shaving brush
One of the best tools in the fight against razor burn is a shaving brush. A quality boar bristle shaving brush does 3 things for your shave. First, it raises the hair out from the follicle to allow for a shorter cut. Second, it creates a creamy lather in the shaving cream allowing it to stay closer to the skin. And, finally, it helps to remove dead skin cells which reduce the chance of razor bumps and blemishes.
3. Apply a quality shave soap
A quality shave soap is essential in protecting your skin against irritation and razor burn while providing additional lubrication for the skin and hair follicles. Get the shaving brush nice and wet and swirl it around a mug with the shave soap at the bottom until a lather builds up. Then, use the shaving brush to apply the soap in a circular motion across your face. A great way to ensure the shave soap gets as close to the skin as possible is to let the soap set on your face for 30 to 90 seconds before shaving.
4. Run the blade under hot water
Running the blade under hot water helps to reduce friction between the skin and the blade. Heating up the blade makes the metal slightly more malleable which makes for a smoother shave and less irritation.
1. Use a sharp blade
It doesn’t matter if you’re using a cartridge razor, a double-edge safety razor, or a straight razor, just make sure the thing is sharp! A dull blade can cause cuts, razor burn, and razor rash so swap yours out at the proper interval. How long a blade lasts varies widely, but a good rule of thumb is when in doubt, swap it out!
2. Shave with the grain
One of the most common causes of skin irritation and razor bumps is shaving against the grain. The first pass on any area of your face should be with the grain, period. Typically, this means downward strokes. However, for a closer shave, you can go back over an area a second time against the grain. Just keep in mind this increases the risk of skin irritation hassles so tread lightly and make sure to apply more shaving lotion before making your second pass.
3. Use shorter strokes
Whether you’re going with or against the grain, using shorter strokes will help to prevent you from pressing down too hard against the skin as you shave.
4. Don’t press down too hard
When it comes to shaving, harder is not better so be sure not to press down too hard. You’ll get just as close a shave with much less irritation using lighter, shorter strokes.
5. Rinse the blade after every few strokes
Make sure you’re rinsing the blade after every few strokes to remove shaving cream, hair, and dead skin. Shaving with a clogged up razor can lead to cuts and major skin irritation so keep that blade clean.
6. Shave each area only once (twice if you dare)
If you want to avoid razor bumps and other skin irritation, make sure to shave each area only once. However, if you want a closer shave, you can go over each area twice. Many guys will go over certain areas again, this time against the grain.For some guys this is great, it makes for the closest shave possible. For others, it causes razor burn, bumps, and everything else we don’t want.
If you’re going to shave an area twice, make sure to apply shave lotion to the area before your second pass. And, if the second pass causes too many hassles, just skip it.
Treat the Skin
1. Rinse with warm water
After shaving, your skin is at it’s most vulnerable so rinse off all excess shaving lotion and hair with warm water first. Cool water comes a little later.
2. Use a facial wash
After rinsing, you can clean your face with a quality facial wash. The antiseptic and astringent properties of a good facial wash will help cleanse and protect your face from spots and shaving rash.
3. Rinse with cool water
Rinse your face with the coolest water that’s comfortable for you and pat dry with a towel. This will re-close the pores. Pro tip: Don’t rub! Just pat your face dry with the towel.
4. Apply a quality aftershave moisturizer
Shaving can completely remove up to two entire layers of skin from your face. No other regular activity will do this. That’s why it’s so important to use a good quality aftershave moisturizer. Aftershave is the ideal way to replace lost moisture and refresh the skin.
5. Remove discoloration with toner cream
For some guys, shaving can cause discoloration in the shaved areas of the face. Toner cream is one of the best ways to combat this issue. One of the great things about toner cream is that it’s actually good for improving the texture of the skin on the entire face. So, feel free to apply it all over.
How About You?
As mentioned earlier, this is an ever-growing list of strategies and tactics for getting the best shave possible without the hassles. If you know of a good way to improve your shave while removing hassles that hasn’t been covered here, please drop us a line in the comments and we’ll consider adding it to the list.