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» Common Steps Most Men Miss While Shaving

How Did I Do It? > Fashion, Style & Personal Care > Common Steps Most Men Miss While Shaving
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When it comes to shaving, most men probably don’t give the personal grooming habit much thought. Just a quick swipe of the razor up and down the face, and your done. However, to enjoy a quality shave, you need to know a little more than just what end of the razor to use. By exerting a little extra effort and taking more time, you can enjoy a great shave that doesn’t leave your skin feeling irritated or red from razor burn.

So whether you’ve been shaving for years or just getting your first whiskers, here are a few tips that will help you achieve the perfect shave.

Take Your Time

Even though you might feel tempted to rush through a shave so you can be on with the day, failing to take the time to shave properly is a great way to abuse your face and irritate your skin. Instead of trying to set a new personal record for quickest shave with the fewest nicks, take the necessary time to prep your skin for the razor.

Begin the shaving process by thoroughly washing your face. Facial cleansers work well when cleaning your skin before a shave because they help to soften the protein in facial hair. Harsh hand soaps, which work well for removing oil and dirt, wash away hair-softening oils from the skin, making facial hair more stiff and coarse. For the best results, leave the cleanser on your skin for a minute prior to rinsing.

Next, apply shaving cream or gel to your face until the products develops a nice lather. Instead of immediately reaching for your razor, let the product sit for two or three minutes. This is an important step in the shaving process because it softens facial hair to the point where it can be removed with just one swipe of the razor. The fewer passes you need to make while shaving, the less skin irritation will occur.

To avoid wasting time, try multitasking by brushing your teeth or combing your hair as you wait.

Use the Right Tools

While it might seem easy and expedient to create a shaving foam lather by rubbing the product onto your skin, you should consider purchasing a shaving brush. A quality brush, such as one made from badger hair, helps to push the foam into the hair follicles, making it easier to shave.  A shaving brush can also help to evenly distribute the shaving foam across your face so no areas are missed prior to shaving.

When selecting a razor blade, keep in mind that most blades need replacing after just one or two weeks when considering your options. Expensive multiblade razors might advertise as providing a closer shave, but this largely a product of marketing, especially if you follow the steps above when preparing to shave. While razors that feature three or five blades can run around $10 for a pack of replacement cartridges, you can generally find a pack of single blade, disposable razors for just a couple of dollars.

If you’re considering using a straight razor, know that this type of razor can be dangerous to use and takes practice to deliver an even shave. Unless you’re willing to suffer through a series of cuts until you learn how to control the razor, it’s best if you leave the use of a straight razor to the professionals.

Shaving Technique

Most barbers recommend that a man shave with the grain, meaning in the direction the facial hair is growing. While you could get a closer shave by going against the grain, this leaves your face more susceptible to razor burn and ingrown hairs. However, by leaving shaving foam on your face as described above, you’ll receive a close, comfortable shave anyway, so there’s little need to go against the grain.

Once you have finished shaving, wipe the remaining shaving foam from your face with the use of a facecloth soaked in hot water. The warmth from the towel will keep your pores open and help to prevent any facial blemishes from developing.

Timothy Lemke is a freelance writer. To read more of his work, visit the website of Dr. Joy Arend, a Portland denitst. 

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