Do you hate shaving? Is it just the morning chore? I used to think so. I would avoid it like the flu if I could. Then I discovered traditional wet shaving and life changed. I want to share with you 4 tips to get the best shave ever. Trust me, your face will thank you for it.
I lived in Thailand for a couple of years and one of the highlights was shaves in the barbershop. They were just part of getting a haircut and they were the best shaves ever. I took some of the elements of the Thai barber shaves and some from barbers here in the States, and combined them into what I think makes a really great luxury shave. I thought about what makes it “luxury” and pulled out these 4 tips to share to get the best shave ever.
Step 1: Know the way your hair grows
You want to be able to shave with the grain and against the grain to get the best shave possible. It is critical to spend a little time looking at the direction your hair grows. Barbers are taught in barber school to study their clients face before they start to understand how they are going to give them the best shave. Your beard may grow in several different directions on different places on your face.
Step 2: Use hot towels and high quality lather
I always recommend a hot shower right before shaving, but even after the shower a hot towel or two will really add to the experience.
The hot towel can be made by simply running the water as hot as it will go for a bit and soak the towel for a minute, wring it, and apply to face for two minutes. Another way is to soak the towel, wring it, scent it, and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. It comes out very hot and quite nice. Apply to face for two minutes.
The hot towel will make sure that your skin is hot, open the pores, and make sure your whiskers are softened and moisturized.
Follow this up with a great lather. I suggest a high quality soap or cream that will make a thick and slick lather. This will help to soften the whiskers and provide the slick surface between the skin and the razor to prevent irritation. I recommend Taylor Of Old Bond Street soaps. They always perform very well and come at a great price. Sandalwood and Lavender are my favorites.
Step 3: Always use a sharp blade
Some gents like straight razors and others a safety razor to get the best shave. Either way, ensure your blade is as sharp as possible. I use both, but most days I use one of my safety razors. I can get 4-5 shaves out of a blade, but I toss it after 3 shaves. The double edge blades are so cheap that it is still cost effective to make sure that blade is super sharp when you take it to your face. When blades begin to dull they stop slicing cleanly through the hair and start pulling it before it cuts it. This can lead to irritation and ingrown hairs. It will also mean more passes to get a smooth shave, which will end up with razor burn.
Step 4: Finish with a cold towel and an aftershave cream
Barbers also finish off a shave with a cold towel to cool the face and close the pores. Take a towel, soak it in cold water and stick it in the freezer for a bit. Your wife or roommate may look at you funny, but it is worth it. Wrap it on your face for a couple of minutes and enjoy.
Finally, you will want to use an aftershave cream to put the final touches on this perfect shave. For my day to day, I use an aftershave like a bay rum or limes. But for this, I recommend something like Proraso pre/post shave or Lucky Tiger Vanishing cream. They both have menthol to provide a cooling finish. They are a cream that rubs in and returns some moisture to the skin and provides a nice protective layer on the skin.
This kind of shave is not something you may not have time to do everyday, but once in a while treat yourself to this do it at home barbershop shave. Follow the 4 tips and have the best shave ever!