Use the best tools and the proper techniques, and you can achieve a fresh, clean-shave with healthy, hydrated skin to boot.
1. Pick the best razor to suit your skin, lifestyle, and budget.
There are so many razor options on the market. To find the one that's right for you, you need to consider your routine, your skin type, and cost.
Disposable razors are the cheapest option. You buy a bunch and throw them away when the blades get dull. They're not the most environmentally friendly option, but they are convenient and great for travel. However, the quality of these razors is usually poor, and you don't always get the best shave.
Cartridge razors are a step up from disposable razors. The razor and cartridges are sold separately. The best ones can give you a decent shave, but the quality of cartridge razors tends to vary, so you usually get what you pay for. The cost of replacement cartridges can also really add up.
We love the classic double edge razor, or safety razor, for its old-school glamour and its smooth shave. The disposable blade is secured at a safe angle to expose only its edge which helps prevent nicks and cuts. Safety razors are easy to use and are great for beginners and experienced shavers alike. If you have sensitive skin, a safety razor is the clear choice for you. This is because cartridge razors have multiple blades which can take off too much skin and cause irritation. A safety razor won't irritate sensitive skin because it only has one blade, therefore reducing friction.
Safety razors cost a bit more up front, but with minimal waste and inexpensive replacement blades, they are a much more environmentally friendly choice.
When picking a safety razor, pay attention to the weight and the length of the handle. A razor that has a good weight will allow you to get a close, clean shave without applying a lot of pressure and will help to control the razor. A longer handle is recommended for men with larger hands. Indentations on the handle can also help to establish a secure grip.
The electric razor is another popular option- mainly due to its convenience. It lacks the romance and tradition of wet shaving, but it is definitely functional. It is a lot faster than wet shaving, so it's a good option for someone pressed for time in the morning. However, an electric razor will never give as close a shave as wet shaving. That can work if you like the stubbly look. (Although, they say that the best stubble is achieved by wet shaving the day or night before.)
Wet razors cut hairs close to the skin, whereas electric shavers actually break the hairs more often than cutting them, so you won't get that crisp, even look. Another benefit of wet shaving that you don't get with electric is exfoliation. Wet razors remove the dull layer of dead cells on top of your skin and leave it looking brighter with a healthy glow.
Electric razors can save you money in the long run, but they can cost quite a bit up front. Don't be tempted to skimp here because many of the cheaper models won't last long and some of them will catch and pull your hair.
2. Wash your face.
Washing your face with warm water before shaving is good practice to remove dirt and bacteria from the surface of your skin, which will help prevent any nicks and cuts from getting infected. It also serves to soften your facial hairs for a clean shave. Try shaving after your steamy morning shower or after applying a hot, damp face cloth to the area to be shaved. Steam opens up the hair follicles and helps to prevent ingrown hairs. Exfoliation also helps with this. You can also try an exfoliating scrub before shaving to help with that, especially if you have coarse or curly hair.
3. Use a moisturizing shaving product which will soothe your skin before, during and after shaving. Never dry shave.
Pre-shave oil lubricates and relaxes hair follicles and relaxes the hair for a closer shave. This can be followed with shaving soap, cream, or gel to add glide to protect the skin during shaving. Some men actually prefer to shave with the oil alone and find that it provides enough glide while reducing the time to shave and the mess to clean up. If you are going to use product, apply in a circular motion to further soften and lift your hair and smooth the skin for a closer shave with less irritation. Using a shaving brush to apply the product gives a quality shave by helping to lift the hair further.
4. Shave in the direction of hair growth.
Use short, even strokes in the direction of hair growth. Don't apply too much pressure. Applying a lot of pressure on your razor while shaving can result in razor burn as well as the hairs being clipped too close to your skin. This makes it difficult for them to grow out of the follicle correctly, increasing their chances of becoming ingrown. This may also lead to razor bumps.
Don’t shave against the grain except to catch any stray hairs left behind, but be careful to avoid going over any one area too many times.
5. Moisturize after shaving.
After shaving, splash your skin with cold water, pat dry, and apply a moisturizing lotion or oil to soothe, protect, and hydrate. Shaving can be irritating and drying, so this step is very important for overall skin condition.
Now smile, and enjoy your smooth supple skin!