Nearly every time I give a client a shave in my barber salon, the guy almost always says something like, "I wish I could give myself a shave like this at home." In reality, it is quite simple to get a barbershop quality shave every morning in the privacy of your own bathroom. Learning how to shave properly is also key to maintaining your look -- your face is the first thing people notice about you, so it's important to shave the right way. Simply follow my three proven steps for how to shave your face properly.
Step 1: Prep
This step is the most important and overlooked part of the shaving process. A good prep cleanses the skin, opens the pores, and softens the skin. To prepare the skin for a smooth shave, always shave after or at the end of a hot shower. This will soften the beard and open the pores. In a pinch, a hot towel and splash of water can be used.
Always use a high-quality shave cream (look for those that are glycerine based) and stay away from products that contain menthol, which can close your pores and stiffen your beard. For those with especially tough beards or sensitive skin, a Pre Shave Oil may be applied to further soften the beard and reduce razor drag. When applying the shave cream, use a badger shaving brush to apply the cream in a circular motion. This action will help produce a better lather, lift the whiskers, and gently exfoliate the skin.
Step 2: Shave
Two of the leading causes of ingrown hairs and razor burn is poor lubrication and dull blades. Step one provides tips for proper lubrication, but a good blade is also essential to a close, comfortable shave. I recommend using a three blade razor such as the Gillette Mach3 Turbo. Make sure to always use a sharp blade.
With your free hand, hold the area of skin to be shaved taut and glide the razor gently over your face. Avoid applying pressure, rinse your blade often, and shave with the grain. If you require a closer shave, re-lather and shave lightly against the grain. If you nick yourself, apply a moist alum block or styptic pencil to stop bleeding.
Step 3: Repair and Protect
After shaving, always close the pores with a rinse of cool water. Gently pat the face dry with a soft cloth and apply a good aftershave balm. I don't recommend using products that contain alcohol, as they can cause unnecessary drying of the skin. The right aftershave balm will help promote quicker healing and moisturize the skin.
There's no magic secret to getting a great shave. Just follow the steps above every morning and put your best face forward.