A no-frills guide to achieving the perfect shave
There are two distinct groups of men in this world when it comes to shaving: Those who do it, and those who don’t. With Americans spending an estimated $2.3 billion in 2014 on razors alone, it’s safe to assume that most fall in the former category.
Though shaving may look like a straightforward process (wet face, bring razor, rinse), it’s not as no-frills as you may think. A survey by The International Dermal Institute showed that 79 percent of its male respondents suffer from one or more skin problems, a portion of which can be attributed to the results of poor shaving practices.
Here are the five ways where men go wrong—and what you can do to make it right.
1. Be Prepared
The best time to shave is right after you get out of the shower. “The warm water opens up your pores,” says Christopher Cieri, president of Philadelphia-based men’s grooming and lifestyle brand Franklin and Whitman. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser to get rid of dead skin cells and get the surface ready for the product.
Dry skin slightly and apply a few drops of pre-shave oil. Guys with finer hair can opt out of it, while those with a thicker beard can benefit from its hair-softening properties.
Organic Male OM4 Desert Succulent Hydrating Cleanser This hydrating cleanser contains mild anti-inflammatory ingredients. om4men.com
Franklin and Whitman Old City Shave Oil This beard oil contains a blend of grape-seed oil, orange, lavender and sandalwood. franklinandwhitman.com
2. Let The Product Work Its Magic
Once you’ve covered the area with sufficient amounts of shaving gel or cream, step away from the sink and do something else for at least a minute. This gives the product a chance to soften your hair properly.
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Organic Shaving Gel The active ingredient in this USDA-certified-organic shaving gel, shikakai, has long been used as a conditioning cleanser for both skin and hair. drbronner.com
Badger Shave Soap, Vie Long Horse Hair Shaving Brush Nothing evokes the old-fashioned feel of getting barbershop shaves better than this milled soap. Work a rich lather using the cruelty-free shaving brush, and apply. badgerbalm.com
3. Use A Gentle Touch
Even though razors nowadays have skin guards that make it less likely to get cut, it’s still possible to get snagged if you’re not careful. Take your time and slow down.
Once the cream has had time to settle in, start shaving in the direction of the grain. “Pressing too hard against your skin will create irritation,” says Cieri. “If you are using a sharp razor and high-quality shaving products, your blade should glide over the skin.” Rinse after every stroke to clear the blades of hair.
Preserve Triple Razor System The razor’s ergonomic handle is made from 100 percent recycled plastic. The two-bladed head has a vitamin E and aloe lubrication strip to help the razor glide. preserveproducts.com
4. Follow Up Post-Shave
“Just rinsing your face and patting it dry is the biggest mistake of all,” warns Cieri. Calm the skin down with a few drops of aftershave. This reduces both redness and the possibility of breakouts. “You want to protect, moisturize and nourish it,” he adds.
Aubrey Organics Men’s Stock Aftershave Balm Contains witch hazel, a great ingredient to disinfect and to promote faster healing. aubrey-organics.com
Aveda Pure-Formance Dual Action Aftershave Part aftershave, part moisturizer, this lotion reduces ingrown hair and razor bumps. aveda.com
5. Care for Your Razor
Done shaving? Run your razor in hot water to remove anything that may have gotten stuck in-between its blades. Rinse it in a little rubbing alcohol to sterilize and prevent the metal from rusting. Pat your razor dry with a towel, and store, ready for another day.