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Okay, all with a beard can admit this … nicks, cuts, ingrown hairs, and razor burn … are the worst! And we must be honest here, we all have experienced one or all of these in our days of shaving. Many a gentleman will go out easily to blame his razor, but these issues typically arise from bad technique, bad product, or a combination of the both of those. We are going to share with you some barber approved techniques and tips that may help you get a smooth shave, every time.
Make sure to exfoliate! Cleansing and exfoliating is very important. Exfoliating especially when it comes to shaving is something to always keep in mind. Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. Doing this, on top of cleansing the face as well, helps improve glide and prevent razor burn. It also helps prevent skin cells from clogging up with dead skin. There are many exfoliating face washes on the market. There are products like the Jack Black product linked below that clean and exfoliate at the same time.
We recommend: this
Warming up the face, skin, and hair is very important! Heat opens up the pores on your skin, softens hair, and makes it generally easy for your razor to glide across the skin. This is the reason that you see old school barbers put on hot towels prior to a straight razor shave. Taking a shower takes care of this, or using a hot towel just like the old school barbers we just mentioned. That is all it takes!
Now comes the lather, or in our case, a lotion! Using a quality product is of the utmost importance. We can't stress this enough. This step provides hydration, and protection. Hydration helps lock in the moisture which makes the beard hair softer and easier cut. Protection and a surface that is easily “glidable” by a razor, makes shaving savor and less prone to cuts and scrapes by creating a layer of protection between blade and skin.
Our shave lotion is a light semi-transparent lotion that is loaded with skin conditioner and mineral oil to soften the skin and help the razor glide easily. The Aloe Vera soothes the skin and the Shea Butter is an anti-inflammatory which helps to prevent razor burn. Apply an ample amount of lotion and shave with the grain. Reapply and shave across the grain for a closer shave.
This may go without saying, but sharp blades are key. The joke goes that butter knives are great for butter, but for steak? Not so effective. Razor blades must be high quality and sharp. Whether your decide to use a standard and common cartridge razor, straight razor, safety razor, of electric razor, the higher quality the blades the better. Using higher quality might cost more money, but don't be fooled, this is a case where the higher cost does indeed net you higher quality, and more bang for your buck. If you are starting to see more nicks and cuts than regular, or razor burn, that means it is time to swap out your blades. This could be different for different people depending on how coarse your beard hair is.
Don't go thinking you are Sweeney Todd with the blade. What we mean here is, take your skill into account, and judge it honestly and thoroughly. Some guys think they are masters after they have their safety razor for two months. They forget to think about their grandpa who had a straight razor for 60 years, and shaved every day. That's is nearly 22,000 shaves! It is true that shaving against the grain will give you a closer shave, it is. But, it invites more ingrown hairs and razor burn to the more inexperienced gentleman. We simply recommend shaving with the grain and calling it a day. Save yourself a headache, and the uncomfortable razor burn and such, by just shaving in the direction your hair grows. You can easily figure out the direction of hair growth by rubbing your stubble.
Don't press down! It is important to never press down, or push into the skin. It will not give you a better, or closer shave. All it will do is create irritation. The blades are sharp, and actually designed to be used with minimal pressure. So, this is very important to keep in mind.
Keep it clean. Like your bathroom in general, keep it clean! Rinse your razor between strokes, because if you don't, hair builds up and makes shaving more difficult. Also, who like a dirty razor? Give the razor a good clean after and let it dry in a position that won't let rust form.
Moisturize. It is always a smart idea to close up the pores with some cold water, and then towel blot or let your face air dry. Then apply some moisturizer. Always try for an “alcohol-free” products. Alcohol will burn, and not make the situation comfortable
We hope that this information has been helpful. Obviously, as experienced practitioners, we get a lot of these questions in our shops. We know that how you shave is very important, and what tools you use and products you use make a huge difference in the finished look. Apply these tips, and let us know they work for you.