Okay, it’s time to stop looking like a scruffy slob and join the professional world.
It’s time to shave.
Despite being a a task that millions and millions of men attack each day, there is a huge portion of us that don’t know how to do it properly. Improper shaving leads to (gasp!) razor-burn, which looks like a horrible case of acne, usually right underneath your chin. Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a step by step guide:
Step 1: Wash your face.
This may not be a step you need if you’re coming straight from the shower (I’m assuming you wash your face in the shower), but if not it’s definitely a prerequisite. Washing removes oils from your face that may otherwise give your razor trouble. It’s hard for the blade to bite into the hair if the hair is oily. On top of oil removal, it will soften the hair and relax your pores so a bit more hair is exposed. Remember, it’s the heat of the water that makes your pores relax, and when you’ve got them relaxed you want them to stay that way. If you’re one of those people that like to stick their head out the window after a hot shower, don’t.
Step 2: Shaving cream.
Gel or cream, it’s really up to you. Some people swear by gel’s, but as you’re headed towards a good lather anyway, I prefer cream. Now, you’ll want to massage the cream into the beard. The idea here is to get all the hairs coated. You don’t want the shaving cream just sort of sitting on top of the whiskers.
A common mistake at this point is to use too little cream. Really, you should have about a quarter of an inch of lather all around. Don’t skimp guys, Barbasol is only $.89 a can.
Step 3: Start shaving.
But for the love of God, go with the grain. With the grain, okay? There’s a reason the phrase “going against the grain” is usually used as a negative. Common sense tells you it’ll get you a closer shave, and it will, but soon after your really close shave will be really bad razor burn and ingrown hairs. Going with the grain will get you a good shave on most parts of your face. If you still feel like it should be closer, go sideways across the grain.
Pay careful attention to the hairs where the chin meets the neck (look the area over before applying the shaving cream). These hairs often tend to start heading in different directions from the rest of your beard.
Step 4: Aftershave.
First remove all that leftover shaving cream by splashing your face with really cold water. This will cause the pores to tighten back up, and kill any bacteria hanging around. The little beasties literally die of shock.
After shave is kind of a throwback to old movies, the ones where the guy always winces after slapping it on. Those poor guys winced because old-timey aftershave was actually an antiseptic. Way-back-when, barbers used the same razor over and over again, so it was sort of necessary. These days you can get alcohol free aftershave but I recommend a good moisturizer to keep the skin soft and razor burn free.
Step 5: Pat yourself on the back
Congratulations, you now ready to go out and face the world.
As a side note, I’d like to mention straight razors: There is no closer shave you can get then with a straight razor, period. However, these puppy’s are dangerous. I kid you not, it’s a good way to slice your face open. If you’re adventurous enough to try, I recommend starting with a small flat patch on your face, like maybe just below the sideburns. After you’ve become adept at that little area, you can move onto others. If you ever manage to master it without disfiguring yourself, you’ll truly be a man amongst men.