Shave the Right Way

"Shaving is no fun." Is using deodorant fun? You must shave, to show you care and follow protocol, for the job, social events, etc. Also, many women like a boyish-looking man, and many people are scared by men who have lots of facial hair.

Many men are scared, too - of shaving, because they only know how to do it in an ineffective, even painful manner. No more. Let us guide you.

Before the actual hair removal

Take a hot shower or at least wash your face with very warm water (letting it sit for a few minutes) and some kind of cleanser and then gently dry your mug. Ideally, this takes place an hour after waking up and the normal facial swelling has subsided.

Wet a traditional (manual) blade – not worn-out, please - with water that is very warm and not hot or cool.

If using an electric razor, consider spraying it with a special lubricant. (Parks Products makes a good one called Shave Ease.)

If shaving in the shower (with an immersible electric razor), you'd better have a mirror in there.

Massage into the skin a reasonable amount of pre-shave gel, cream, or (less ideally) foam. (Shave oil first? You have much hair growth? If the product you like doesn’t provide enough moisture or you have not showered, thirty seconds and rinse.)

Let the gel/cream/foam do its hair-softening job (for at least thirty seconds and preferably a full three minutes) and then (without wiping it off)…

Time to wield that razor

First shave the neck area (in both directions, because the hair there grows both ways).

Then head to the chin and upper lip, shaving with the grain.

Finally, shave (in the direction of the grain) the sides of the face (and forehead, too, if any apes are reading this).

Do everything at a steady pace and in a straight line, without applying much force. A twenty-second shave is not a good shave.

Re-lather, if you sense your skin is drying out.

Rinse off any excess gunk with cool water, blot-dry the skin, and apply moisturizer (and balm to any irritated areas). Do without aftershave that contains alcohol or strong plant extracts. If ingrown hairs or razor bumps are a problem, use an aftershave with salicylic acid.

Important: If you are not using shaving lotion/cream - there's no law requiring it or maybe you're wet-shaving - proceed in the reverse order, but be extra careful.

Additional considerations

For the closest shave, double the second and third steps and shave against the grain. If your skin gets cut easily or you are prone to razor bumps, don’t try that until after developing a habit of using a skin-softening exfoliant (like alpha-hydroxy acid) every night or a facial scrub before shaving. If the problem remains and you need a close shave only for a special occasion, consider spending big bucks at a high-end barber for a professional shave.

There is no rule against shaving again later in the day, if you have an important event to attend.

Do not take the weekend off from shaving if you only shave to meet office etiquette. Your skin needs to be used to the process, and the longer shaves that breaks eventually require increase the risk of razor burns and other minor tragedies.

Copyright ©2005 Gentleman's Best Friend Image Consulting Services

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