Shaving is a tradition often passed down from father to son, and most men learn to shave by watching their fathers. But as times change, so do men's shavers, along with our understanding of how to get the best shave possible.
Whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been shaving for years the way your dad did it, taking a few minutes out to read these shaving tips can help you get a close, comfortable shave every time.
First and most importantly for manual shaving, choose a good razor. Whether you choose a disposable razor or a razor with replaceable blades comes down to personal preference, but whichever you choose, the best models will come with multiple blades designed for comfort and accuracy.
Once you’ve chosen your razor, start with a hot shower or a good long soak of your face and neck with warm water. This will clean and soften your skin and beard. While you’re soaking your face and neck, use your hand to make note of which direction your beard grain grows. Whichever direction feels smoothest under your hand is the way your beard naturally grows.
Next, apply a thick coat of a quality shaving gel or lotion to further conditioning and to lubricate the razor’s path. Some men choose a gel or foam that comes in a can, while some men prefer a traditional shaving soap and brush. Boar bristles brushes are known to work exceedingly well.
Keep in mind that the longer you let the shave gel or soap do its job, the softer your beard will become. If you have sensitive skin, be sure to let your gel soak in.
If you’re reusing a blade or razor, be sure to check it before each use to be sure it’s clean and sharp. The duller the blade, the more strokes will be required, and a dull, dirty or rusted razorblade will tug and snag, increasing the chances for nicks and cuts.
Begin manual shaving by pulling your skin taut and shaving with the grain of your beard is short, gentle strokes. Once you’ve removed most of your beard, you can go back over a patch against the grain if need be to catch any stray whiskers. Go slowly, and remember to rinse the razor under hot water often.
Be extra careful shaving tricky areas like over your upper lip, and leave these areas for last. Try curling your upper lip down over your teeth.
When you’re done manual shaving, rinse any remaining debris from your razor then shake out the excess water. Do not wipe the blade on a towel as this can dull or damage the blades. Store your shaver safely or return it to its protective case if you have one.
Finally, rinse your face and neck one more time with cool water to close your pores, then gently towel dry.
Finish off your manual shave by applying a protective or cooling non-alcohol based aftershave. Now you’re ready to face the world.
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