Shaving. Never has there been more manly a pursuit.
Now there may be naysayers out there who argue that a full beard is a true measure of manliness, but there’s just something about the ritual; taming your bodies own processes in the name of style and refinement. And also because your girlfriend says she hates your stubble.
But never mind the reasons, the fact is you’re shaving, and there are a few things you need in order to make it the best experience possible. It’s not as simple as just throwing some gel on your face and scraping away. Well, it can be, but trust us when we say that’s a recipe for a world of irritation and hurt.
Before anything else, you’re going to need a good solid razor that you’re comfortable with. While purists have touted the straight razor as the only real way for a man to shave, it’s difficult to master and has a steep, and bloodstained learning curve.
Almost any regular store-bought razor should do just fine, and although the ever-increasing number of blades and features – such as vibrating heads and moisture strips – may seem ridiculous, serious teams of engineers spend years designing razors to do this one job really well, so buy the most current product you can afford.
A Facial Cleanser
To start with, you’re going to need to prep your face for shaving. Getting a good men’s facial cleanser will help clean up any clogged pores, and scrape off any excess dirt, oil, or debris that can get between you and a good shave; shaving a clean face will also improve the life of your blades.
Ideally, you should shave after a shower since 15 minutes or so of steam and hot water do wonders to soften those wiry little hairs.
Shave Foam / Gel
People can spend hours arguing the relative merits of shave foam versus shave gel, but the bottom line is that it’s down to individual preference and body chemistry. Some people think that gel dries the face out, while some find the opposite. Try a few brands until you find something you’re comfortable with and that gives you a good result.
Go with the grain, and go against the grain only for fine touches and stray hairs. Start out at the sideburns and work your way across to your chin, then repeat from the other side, leaving your neck for last. Stretch your skin between your fingers to raise flat-laying hairs, using minimal pressure and smooth strokes.
For men with dryer skin, you may want to consider foregoing the aftershave route. To close the pores, simply splash your face with cold water and wipe dry with a clean towel. Immediately follow up with a facial moisturizer, since you’re skin is most absorbent at this time.
To recap, there are four essential steps, and four essential products for your shaving kit:
- Pre-shave: Wash your face with a good cleanser.
- Shaving Foam / Gel: Wipe down the intended area with a good dose of shaving gel or foam.
- The shave: Shave carefully, using your razor to go with the grain, except for fine touches.
- Post-shave: Rinse your face with the coldest water possible and follow quickly with a quality facial moisturizer.
While these are the very essentials of shaving, there’s plenty more to discuss and dissect about this aspect of manly facial maintenance. Use the comments box below to ask any questions, raise any points or give any time honored tips you’ve found over the years!