The most important element of the shaving process is also the one that is easiest to associate with the act. The razor that you use to shave it very important to the end result that you achieve.
It is recommended that those who currently use disposable razors bite the bullet and invest in one with disposable blades. Mach 3s and anything similar (be it 4 or 5 blades rather than 3) is recommended.
Blade changing varies from face to face. Your frequency of shaving, hair thickness and personal preferences goes a long way. The best thing to do is shave with the same blade for as long as you can until it effects the quality of your shave. You are better off replacing your blade one shave early than one shave late.
Another alternative is going old school and using what the men of past generations used. A double-edge (DE) blade or straight razor can be used. Click here for a Step by Step Guide to shaving with a DE razor.
First Things First, Water
The biggest tip I can give to getting the best possible shave is water. Copious amounts of hot (not scalding) water are crucial. Hot water softens your facial hair, opens pores and relaxes your facial muscles. This is known as wet shaving.
It is best to shave after a hot shower. This provides your face ample washing and exposure to heat. If you cannot shower, wash your face liberally with hot water to get the same effect.
Keep your face as wet as possible throughout the entire shave, this will work wonders.
Shaving cream is the other factor that must be considered as part of the overall shaving experience. Although hot water will help improve the effectiveness of most shaving creams, the following tips should be considered when choosing the correct shaving cream and application process:
- remember to keep your face wet with hot water when shaving
- choose a cream that is glycerine based. This will allow for a well lubricated and smooth shave. Glycerine has been a shaving staple for decades.
- for best results, use a badger hair shaving brush to apply the cream. This is not critical for a close shave, however it does improve your results significantly. The investment also goes a long way, as brushes create a thick and useful lather more easily that standard canned shaving cream. Click here for a Step by Step guide on using a shaving brush.
- Choose a shaving cream that is as natural as possible or well suited for your skin. Those with sensitive skin should be cognisant of this.
Keep Your Face Wet
Once you have gotten out of the shower, fill your sink with hot water. Splash some of this water on your face before applying shaving cream.
Apply the Cream
Whether using your hands or a shaving brush, apply a thick and evenly spread layer of cream to your face and neck. This is to ensures smooth contact between the razor and your face.
Many guys out there, aiming for the smoothest shave possible attempt to shave against the grain, going South to North (Down to Up) with their strokes. Although this seems to create a better shave, this technique can lead to razor bumps, in grown hair and other irritations. Some guys find that this works better for them around their neck and chin, however it is best to avoid this as much as possible.
The best advice I can give is to use shave strokes at a 45 degree angle. This works better than North to South and is much better for your skin than Down to Up. A 45 degree angle shaves the hair closely and easily. For better results, you can stretch your skin with your free hand. This spreads the hairs out, making each stroke more effective.
For optimal results, each stroke should be between 1-2". This ensures a clean blade for each stroke. Also, it is important to not push or press the blade against your face. Well designed blades will contour to your face shape with minimal pressure. This allows them to do their thing the way they were designed to.
Once you have used 45 degree strokes in 1-2" intervals, your face should be cleanly shaved and feeling great. Apply mild to cold water on your face. This refreshes your skin and cleans any excess cream. Ensure that you have not missed any spots and go over any hairs you may have missed.
Once you have dried your face, you can apply shaving lotion or after shave if you so desire. Many men may find that this is not necessary if they maintain a wet shaving surface and use the tips outlined above.