So here we are, December 1st. Movember / No Shave November has come to a close, and you’re ready to get back to your normal shaving life. I think we all think we look like Captain America in that new Avengers trailer (I know I wish I did), but we probably look a little closer to Ron Burgundy after losing his job. So it’s time to shave those beards and mustaches off. Whether you’re just getting back on the horse after a month off or you’re thinking about hopping on the wet shaving train for the first time (yes, I mixed metaphors), I think it would be a good idea to run over a few tips for getting a better shave.
Warm water and a little steam will do wonders for softening up your scruff and opening up those pores. I recommend using a face wash with glycolic or salicylic acid (or both) depending on your skin needs. Salicylic acid works better on acne-prone skin. You can also use a mild scrub, but I don’t like aggressive scrubs pre-shave. I think they cause more irritation than anything else. I like the rougher scrubs at night, and only a couple times a week. For pre-shave washing I recommend the Anthony Glycolic Facial Cleanser or the Truefitt & Hill Daily Facial Cleanser.
I watch a lot of shaving videos and check out a lot of shave of the day pictures online. A trend I’ve noticed lately is guys rushing their lather to get to the “shave” part of their videos. This is something also quite prevalent in ads for the larger men’s grooming companies. They don’t have the time to show a full lather build. My advice is to take your time and work in enough water to build a think, protective lather. Your face will thank you. If you’re having trouble building lathers, I would recommend a shaving cream by D.R. Harris or soft soap like Cella.
You could go out and buy all the top of the line shaving gear and stock your shaving cabinet with the best soaps and creams available. But the the most important thing to focus on first is technique. Pay attention to how your hair grows. Find that perfect blade angle against your cheek. Practice using light pressure. Improving these steps will pay huge dividends in your search for a better shave.
Traditional wet shaving is a skill. It take practice and patience. I’ve been doing this for almost five years now, and I’m still learning. If I miss a spot during a pass, I don’t run back over again and again with my razor. That only causes more irritation. I learn from what I did and try to improve the next day’s shave.
Nothing finishes up a great shave like some protection and healing as you head out into your day. An aftershave balm puts the finishing touch on your shave to keep your skin feeling fantastic. But it also helps your skin heal to prepare you for the next one. Try to think of moisturizing as the first step of tomorrow’s shave. My personal favorites are the balms from Truefitt & Hill and Soap Commander.