Because you might have been doing it wrong this entire time
There are 100’s of different types of razors with even more features that help you shave at the perfect degree or provide strips of aloe. The reality is that shaving isn’t complicated. You’re taking a very sharp blade, hopefully, and moving it across your skin to cut the hair. When you accept that reality, it becomes very easy to understand the proper way to shave.
Preparation Is Key
The most important part to shaving is what you do before you ever put the razor on your face. You always want to follow a few simple ideas to prevent irritation and unnecessary cuts.
You wouldn’t cut your lawn if it was covered in tree branches and debris. The same applies to your face. The proper way to shave is to make sure you wash your face with your normal facial cleansers. This will help to remove the oil and dirt that naturally accumulate on your face from doing all those manly things you enjoy like, cutting down trees and bare knuckle boxing.
Nothing is more enjoyable than hot, steamy towel on your face when you’re at the barbershop. But have you ever wondered why they use a hot towel before shaving? This is going to soften the hairs on your face and allows your razor to give you the closest shave possible. Warm up a regular face towel with hot water from the faucet, wring it out and apply it to your face.
“Pro Tip – Use some lavender oil or Vicks vapor rub on the towel for a more soothing and relaxing experience”
The Pre Shave Oil
For all of you gentleman with sensitive skin, like myself, this is an absolute must for a proper shave. There are various brands you can purchase this oil from, but the premise is all the same. It gives your razor a smooth surface to glide over and makes your coarse hair much easier to cut through.
I can’t believe I even have to say this because it should be common sense, but if you can afford to, you should be using a new blade after every other shave. I know that Gilette would like you to believe that using the same razor for 3-4 shaves is doable, but you’re likely to get the best cut from a new razor.
The truly proper way to shave would be to shave with a new blade every single time. If you are a safety razor or straight edge user, this is probably more economical than if you’re using only cartridges.
Long Even Strokes
I see a lot of guys that shave by taking very erratic and short strokes on their face. This is your skin fellas, treat it with care. If your hair is too long to make a single pas, then you should probably consider using an electric trimmer next time to get the hair down to a good level. You don’t want to make excessive passes over your skin because this can lead to irritation.
With the Grain or Against the Grain?
I don’t think the verdict is in on this subject, but I do have some guidelines for you to follow. If you’re the type of individual that has a lot of skin irritation, then I would say that you should shave in the direction that your hair grows.
We know that razor burn and ingrown hairs are caused when hair is cut underneath the skin and then grows into the follicle. You may not have the closest shave going with the grain, but you won’t have to deal with the painful irritation that subsides for days after.
If you don’t even know what razor burn is, you lucky bastard, then the proper way to shave for you will be in any direction you desire. I would recommend that you shave in the direction that gives you the desired closeness you want.
Rinse & Treat
I always hate having to rinse my head with cold water after a fresh shave because it stings so damn much! The proper way to rinse after shaving is with cold water. This is going to close those pores on your face and make that skin nice and tight.
You’ll want to make sure that you pat your skin dry and don’t excessively rub your face with a towel. After all, you’ve just softened it up to drag a small knife edged blade across it. It’s been through enough.
This part is entirely optional and up to the user. I no longer use alcohol related after shave products, but I know that for many men, it’s not really an option if they plan on avoiding razor burn. Don’t go overboard with the strong smelling aftershave. The goal is to use just enough to have the desired effect. Not make sure a blind bloodhound could track you down from your trail of witch hazel.
Balm & Lotion
This part is mandatory. You need to replenish the moisture that you’ve just scraped and washed away from your face. Find a great, unscented, face balm or lotion that will give you some good sun protection and also keep your skin soft and supple.
This is the proper way to shave. Preparation is the most important part and ensuring that you shave in a comfortable direction is important. Make sure you always protect your skin with a great moisturizer that has some SPF.