Have you broken your wet shaving virginity yet? Still unsure and sitting on the fence? Are you tired of shaving every morning but still finding that five o'clock shadow by the end of the day? Or does your significant other complain about the sand papery texture, you call your face?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, the wet shave is the solution for you.
The age old tradition of wet shaving is making a serious comeback. People are throwing away their cheap multi-blade cartridge razors and mindless electric razors in preference for a real shaving experience, the wet shave.
We take the pain of the wet shave for beginners with our helpful hints and tips so you can upgrade your shaving ritual effectively. Imagine when you shave that smooth, clean baby face lasting all the way until midnight. Your girlfriend will love it!
1. Choose A Razor That Will Work For You
The razor is arguably the most important part of the shaving process. You can have all the shaving soap, pre-shave oil, and aftershave you want but without a good quality wet shaving razor, you're simply not going to get a good shave. If you’re reading this article then you probably already understand why using cheap cartridge razors by the likes of Gillette and Dollar Shave Club deliver far from the quality of shave you deserve.
There are numerous different types of razors available, but the main categories are straight razors and safety razors. Let’s get into the major differences.
The Straight Razor
Shaving your face with a straight razor is probably the most badass thing a man can do. A lot of men new to the straight razor game are put off by the razor sharp, unprotected blade of a straight razor, but you would be pleasantly surprised at the ease at which these tools can be used after just a few practice sessions. You’ll be shaving the hair off your face with the same level of precision Chris Kyle has with a sniper rifle.
With modern designs, like the Bluebeards Revenge Cut Throat Razor, the benefits of the disposable blade spills over into the realm of the straight razor. No more stropping or stressing over the delicate razor edge of the straight razors blade. You can now enjoy a luxury shaving experience without the need to strop and sharpen.
The Anatomy Of A Straight Razor:
The Safety Razor
The safety razor was made in response to the demand for more convenient razors in the early 1900’s. These shaving tools feature fully enclosed disposable blades, and come in a nearly infinite array of beautiful designs. This is the razor for the man looking for the no-bullshit shaving experience. Whether you travel a lot or are simply looking for an effective razor to keep on the counter at home, the double-edge safety razor is a great option.
Razor stands are also available to display this beautiful shaving tool on your bathroom counter or in your medicine cabinet.
The Anatomy Of A Safety Razor:
2. Don’t Neglect The Prep!
This is one of the most common problems beginners make when trying to shave. In order to get the most out of your wet shave, the preparation stage can’t be overlooked.
The purpose of the prep stage is to hydrate the hair and skin. This makes it easier for the blade to travel evenly across the face, slicing the hairs clean off at the base without producing any tugging or tearing. Avoiding the prep and shaving over dehydrated skin will result in redness, irritation, and razor burns. Not a good look if you ask me!
The key to a good prep is to choose a good quality shaving foam, either from a shaving soap or cream, and allow enough time between application and shaving. It’s also important to consider your skin type when shopping for pre-shave products.
Dry and combination skin benefit more from shaving creams, while oily skin often thrives with a lathering shave soap. For beginners we recommend the Imperial field shave soap canister, it’s a great place to start and will work on any skin type to avoid that post-shave discomfort.
Check out our article on the best skin care practices while shaving for more detail on this point.
3. Use A Shaving Brush
Using a shaving brush isn’t integral to a successful wet shave, but can make your life a whole lot easier. When using a shaving brush, there are a few important points to remember.
For starters, use the brush itself to create a lather with your favourite shaving soap or cream BEFORE you apply it to the face. Many beginners try to lather the soap with their hands before even picking up the brush at all.
The brush should be an extension of your hand, and will ultimately create a far better lather overall. Use a circular motion to combine water and soap until a thick lather is produced, and then apply using the same circular motion to the face.
It’s important to refrain from using too much pressure, instead, treat the brush like a painter's brush, dragging it gently across the surface of the skin until all areas have been evenly covered.
When finished using the brush, give it a gentle rinse with warm water, shake, and towel dry. Store the brush in a well-ventilated area to allow it to dry the rest of the way.
There are plenty of great shaving brushes available, made from all different materials. Currently, the gold standard for brush bristles is badger hair. We recommend the Muhle African blackwood badger hair brush for beginners. It’s got great value and performs well. A perfect place to start.
4. Pressure and angle are everything
When it comes to shaving the face, the way in which you hold the razor (whether straight razor or safety razor) will determine the quality of shave you get.
It’s important to use very little pressure. The blade will cut best when gliding across a flat surface. Placing too much pressure will only cause the skin’s surface to change, causing the blade to slide unevenly over the hairs. This means more pressure is needed to cut the hair, resulting in undesired pulling, and tearing. With a good sharp razor, very little force is needed to cut the hairs flush with the skin.
As far as getting the right angle, the trick is to listen to the sound the razor makes. Sit in a quiet room, and listen to the sound the blade makes as you drag it across your face. That classic shaving sound you've heard in movies etc. is, in fact, the correct sound the blade should be making. Once you discover the angle, you will quickly learn how to maintain the same angle while you shave. This is a little bit harder with a straight razor, but is picked up and mastered after just a few shaves. Safety razors are much easier in this regard.
5. Remember To Change Directions While you Shave
Shaving WITH the grain is a crucial step to remember if you want to avoid the dreaded razor rash. This can be a challenge since the direction your hair grows changes in different areas of your face. It might work to shave downward on your cheeks and chin but will need to change direction entirely on your sideburns, and lip (for example). Finding the direction of growth, and learning how and when you need to alter the direction of your shave is individually determine and crucial to remember.
This is especially true on the neck where hairs growing directly next to each other could be facing totally opposite directions! This is why the neck area is the most prone to razor rash so be especially careful here. Many men choose to start with the neck while the blade is at its sharpest, this helps to cut the hairs easier when travelling against the grain. Follow up with some post-shave skin care to eliminate redness and irritation. This is what the aftershave was designed for.
So there you have it! 5 insider tips to wet shaving to help you wet shave like a pro. To get even more out of your daily wet shave we suggest you check out this article on the best way to shave if you shave every day.
Let’s think differently about male grooming.
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