How to shave your face
Shaving your face
For many men, shaving is an important rite of passage, and the “tricks of the trade” are often handed down from generation to generation. While facial hair trends tend to shift over time, the need to remove at least a few areas of growth is always there. Whether the instrument of choice is a sharpened shell, a honed ax blade or a multi-blade disposable razor, the process of facial shaving remains relatively unchanged.
Shaving your face can be as much art as it is science, since the final results can make a personal fashion statement. Whether it is a full beard, a moustache or a clean shave, the right shaving technique is essential. Below is some advice on getting the best results while shaving your face and neck.
Preparing the skin and beard
Wash your face
The shaving process should start with a clean face and neck. Facial skin is exposed to a lot of dirt, dust and pollen throughout the day. These contaminants can affect the contact between the razor and the skin later on.
Exfoliate and condition
A layer of dead skin cells can complicate the shaving process because they can clog the razor and reduce its efficiency. Scrubbing with a special exfoliating soap designed for shaving preparation is a good idea. You may also find preparing the beard itself with a pre-shave oil helps soften and condition it.
Choose the right razor
One of the first major improvements in shaving happened with the introduction of the safety razor. Instead of using an exposed straight razor blade, shavers could now place a single or double-edged disposable blade into a handle engineered to hold it at the ideal shaving angle. Safety razors are still on the market today, and a number of dedicated users believe they deliver a closer shave than modern multi-blade disposables.
Professional barbers have been using straight razors for hundreds of years, and the blades are known for their close, clean shaves. Shavers with steady hands and some experience can duplicate those same results at home. These razors do require some additional maintenance, but the end results are usually worth it.
Multi-blade and disposable razors
For routine shaving duties, modern disposable razors with multiple blades are popular choices, especially among younger shavers. Multiple blades mean the beard hairs do not have time to retract below the skin during the shaving stroke. Disposable blades can be more challenging to keep clean and clog-free, but they are also safer to use and can be replaced easily.
Prep the beard for shaving
Shaving creams and lotions
Once the skin and beard have been washed and exfoliated, the next step is to apply a skin lubricant. This is traditionally in the form of a thick, foamy shaving cream , which performs several important functions. It helps retain water or pre-shave lotion on the skin, it provides lubrication, and it suspends the beard hair away from the face and neck. Some shavers may prefer to use special shaving lotions instead of shaving cream, which do not obscure the beard lines.
Lather the face
It’s now time to apply the shaving cream, shaving soap or lotion to the face and neck. This step does not call for an abundance of lubricant, but it should be enough to cover the entire area to be shaved. Apply the lubricating cream or lotion against the grain of the beard in order to pull the hairs away from the skin and make them more accessible for the blade. Waiting a few minutes before starting to shave can also improve the closeness of the shave.
How to shave face
Shave with the grain
Facial hair grows in a specific direction, usually downward on the face and upward on the neck. This is considered the “grain” of the beard. Shaving in the opposite direction — against the grain — may seem like a good idea for a closer shave, but this practice often leads to shaving bumps and infected hair follicles. When starting the actual shave, hold the blade firmly in your hand and perform controlled strokes in the direction of the beard growth. Rinse the razor as often as possible to keep it clear of trimmed hairs and skin cells.
Finish the shave
Continue this pattern of short strokes and blade rinsing until all areas of the face and neck have been shaved clean. Examine your face in the mirror to find any missed spots. When you are satisfied with the results, rinse off any remaining cream or lotion with a warm damp towel. This is a good time to check for nicks and cuts that need attention.
Aftershave lotions and balms
Regardless of the type of razors or lubricants you choose to use, the process of shaving will always create some skin irritation. Treating the skin properly after shaving is just as important as preparing for the shave. One common post-shave ritual is the application of an alcohol-based aftershave cologne, which works as an astringent to close pores and heal minor cuts. However, the alcohol also tends to dry out the skin as it evaporates. A better choice would be a shaving balm, which helps moisturize the skin without the drying effects of alcohol.
Michael Pollick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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