1. Shave in the shower
The shower creates the ideal environment for the best possible shave - the heat from the water opens up the pores, and softens your facial hair so that the hair is cut more easily. Think about it - if your stubble is hard, the blade will have to work that much harder in order to cut the hair.
2. Prepare your skin for shaving with a scrub and/or pre shave oil
Preparation is a huge part in getting the best shave. I am a big advocate of using a face scrub/exfoliant
right before you shave. A scrub will prepare the surface of your skin for shaving by removing dead skin cells and loosening facial that may be trapped under the skin, with a smoother surface for the blade to glide across, you'll get a closer shave with less irritation. If you shave every day, don't use the scrub every day too. 3-4 times a week is sufficient. On the days you don't use the scrub, you can always try using a pre-shave oil which will provide extra glide (this equates to less friction and therefore less irritation). The pre shave oil will also have the added benefit of softening stubble so that the blade cuts it with less effort so there is essentially less "drag". If you have particularly dense or coarse beard hair you may want to consider using a pre shave oil every time you shave for the added benefits that this product will provide.
3. Use a better quality shave cream
Not all shaving creams are created equal, and using a better quality shaving cream can make the world of difference in the quality of your shaving experience. Opt for a more dense cream or gel
, that provides a protective, cushioning barrier between the blade and your skin. If you have a goatee or mustache, you may want to consider using a foamless, transparent gel so that you can get a more precise cut line because you can see where the blade is passing over on your face. Also bear in mind that although the ticket price for a better shaving cream may be higher than a cheap one, in most cases you'll get a lot more shaves out of a tube or jar of the better stuff, so the cost difference in the long run is minimal or even works out to be better.
4. Always shave with a sharp blade
It's pretty much a no brainer that if your razor blade is dull you are going to run into a host of shaving issues. Using sharp blade every time will give you a better shave. You're probably thinking to yourself, but blades are so expensive, I can't afford to use a new blade every time, which is what I feel I'd need to do in order to use a sharp blade every time. Well the good news is that you have options. If you want to stick with a cartridge razor like Gillette, Schick, etc (My blade of choice is the Mach 3), you can actually sharpen your own blades with aRazorpit
. The Razorpit basically removes oil, dirt, hair and other residues on the edge of your blade that running it under water cannot remove. It's a wise investment that will pay itself off very quickly. Sometimes the simplest things can be the most effective. If you're feeling adventurous and maybe a bit nostalgic you can try your hand at using a traditional safety razor
- this is what your grandfather would have used. It's a sharp, single blade that with the right technique can deliver one of the best shaves. The cost of the blades for this type of razor is very affordable too, so the initial investment in the hardware will pay itself off quickly too. You can't really rush a shave with a safety razor so if you're the kind of guy that shaves in a minute because you're late for work, it's probably best to stick with a cartridge razor.
5. Use an aftershave
No matter which way you slice it (pun intended), at the end of the day you are taking a blade to the surface of you skin, and it's going to have somewhat of a stressful impact on your face. If you're doing everything right (see above), then that impact should be minimized, but I believe it's essential to treat your skin post-shave with a product that hydrates and soothes. There are lots of options - balms, gels, creams, even aftershave sprays
. Experiment with what works best for you. Generally speaking its best to opt for an alcohol free aftershave unless you want an extra kick after your shave, but the alcohol can be drying so beware.