The step that is so often overlooked is one of the most important parts of the shaving process. To prepare you skin for the onslaught of having a razor dragged across it, always try to shave after a hot shower. This will help to open up the pores and soften the hairs. If you have particularly sensitive skin, a pre-shave balm or oil can help to soften your beard even further, which in turn reduces drag and skin trauma later on.
Find yourself high quality shaving foam, preferably one that is glycerine-based, steering away from menthol products that actually close the pores. Use a badger shaving brush to apply, in small circular motions. This helps to produce a superior lather, meaning you can use less of your expensive product! The circular motion helps to lift all the hairs upwards, agitating them regardless of their direction of growth, and it gently exfoliates your skin too.
Before you even get that razor anywhere near your skin, ensure your blades are sharp! Can you imagine how sharp your barber’s cutthroat razor is? Blades may be expensive, but it is worth replacing them regularly for the superb result you will get with a sharp blade, and your skin will thank you for it too. Sharper blades mean easier cutting and less drag on the skin. It also decreases the likelihood of you needing to go over the same area multiple times, reduces the risk of causing ingrown hairs and helps to avoid razor burn.
With your free hand, hold the area of skin to be shaved taut by pulling it lightly, and glide the razor over it. Avoid applying unnecessary pressure, rinse your blade frequently, and shave with the grain to avoid causing irritation and pulling. For an extra smooth, close finish you can lather once more when completed and shave against the grain. The hairs will now be shorter after the first pass, which means that shaving against the grain will be easier and cause less trauma.
If you should cut yourself at any point, wash the cut and apply a moist alum block or styptic pencil to stem the bleeding.
Once finished, it is important to rinse the face with clean, cool water to close the pores and tighten the skin; there is actually some lore that this improves the elasticity of the skin, helping to protect against wrinkles too, so it’s a win-win scenario! Gently pat your face dry with a soft towel and apply a good aftershave balm. It is best to find an aftershave balm that does not contain alcohol as this is very drying. The right finishing product will promote fast healing and moisturise to keep skin soft and supple.