Look, we get it. While we all dream about a good clean shave, most guys understand shaving to be a quick scrape-up job with a disposable razor, some toilet tissue, and maybe, just maybe, a splash of aftershave.
And that’s okay.
Not everyone has time to lay back in the barber’s seat with nice shave oils and a hot lather. But we have news, gentleman! You still can (and should!) get a damn good shave at home with a little know-how.
Sound good to you? Thought so.
We’ve put together a 10 step guide that will help you get the best shaves of your life. Scratch your beard if you’re ready.
2. Soften Up
Soften up your bristles by showering before you shave or by washing your face with a gentle cleanser to clear away dirt and debris and replace lost moisture. Don’t actually shave in the shower, your skin will be too soft and you’ll do damage by removing layers of living skin while shaving. Wait ‘til you’re out, and save that extra water for California.
3. Prep the Blade
Try to use a fresh blade whenever possible. If you’re using a straight razor, always hone your blade before you shave (use this guide).
After prepping the blade, take a moment to analyze your face. Take note of how your hair is growing, where there’s irritation, if there are any blemishes to be careful of, etc.
4. Lather Up
Choose a shaving cream with natural hydrating ingredients like shea butter, glycerin, jojoba, or coconut oils. Stay away from the aerosol cans — they’re full of propellants and nasty chemicals that you don’t want on your face.
To lather up, you can use your hands, but we highly recommend a shaving brush. It makes shaving feel better, lifts the hair on your face, extends the life of your shaving cream. Invest in one made from either boar (good) or badger (better). Manly, right?
Add a few dabs of shaving creams to your brush and work it into your skin in circular motions. Let it settle for a minute or two to soften the hair and allow the skin-softening oils to penetrate your skin.
5. Shave with the Grain
Go with the grain first (the direction in which your hair grows). For most people that means from up-to-down above the chin, and from down-to-up below the chin. Beware of the hair changing directions in your chin area.
If you have loose skin, use your off-hand to pull tight in order to get a clean swipe. We recommend going at a 30 or 35 degree angle. The shallower the angle, the closer the shave and the higher risk of nicks. Use slow and short strokes. Men who suffer razor bumps tend to be those that shave at 100mph.
6. Shave Against the Grain (optional)
After you’ve passed once or twice with the grain, go against the grain. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to consider re-applying another thin layer of cream before going against the grain – it’ll feel rough before it feels smooth. Run your hand against the grain on your face to find any rough areas you may have missed.
Limit how often you go against the grain. For some, it will take off thin layers of living skin and deteriorate the skin over time. It can also cause serious infections if you get too gnarly.
7. Handle those Sideburns
If you don’t have a real preference or style that you’re after, aim for just below the midpoint of the ear. You can actually blend your sideburns with the clippers, using an upward wrist-flicking technique that creates a fade effect (the hand moves further away from the scalp as it moves upward).
Here’s a nice guide that helps determine the best sideburns for your face shape (trust us — it makes a difference.)
8. Splash your Face
When you’re done, splash your face with icy cold water and pat it dry. This tightens your skin back up and closes the pores, while soothing the skin. It’s also damn refreshing. Patting your face dry instead of wiping will help keep your skin soft and better moisturized.
Alcohol-based aftershaves are nice because they kill bacteria, but the damage done to your skin is just not worth it. A moisturizing lotion with natural ingredients can rehydrate your skin while handling alcohol’s duty of stopping bacteria.
Daily use of a moisturizer with natural ingredients and a low level of SPF will make a big difference in keeping your skin healthy and young looking long-term. Here are a couple that we like:
10. Clean up after yourself
It’s a good idea to wipe your pat your blade dry if you plan on using it again. Store your blade in a bit of pre-shave oil or use a razor shield product to preserve the life of your razor.
Shaving is one of the coolest things about being a man. Know what you’re doing, and start a routine. You’ll start looking forward to the zone you get in, and you’re gonna be looking really damn good.
Hit us up with your comments, feedback and opinions on shaving, the method we prescribe here, and any other thoughts you have.
The Glyder Team