When I first dragged a razor blade across my face at around 15 years old, I was excited. My transition from boy to young adult was well on its way. This first navigation of a “no name” disposable razor over my baby soft skin, was going to set me on a journey that would last the rest of my life.
When I was a young whipper-snapper, if I had known some of the wet shaving tips and tricks that I now know, my shaving experience would have been vastly different. From the razors I handled, to the creams I applied, and the methods I employed. All these and more, would have changed the way I approached my stubble removal, during those early formative years.
So, in no particular order, let’s jump straight in! If I could go back in time and meet my younger self, here are a few wet shaving dos and don’ts I’d be sharing.
Tips To My Younger Self
Choose The Right Razor
Much of what we learn in life is the result of what we’re taught by our parents. Although he had a short interlude with an electric shaver, Dad used disposable twin blade razors. And as a result…so did I.
Unfortunately for me, one of the by-products of using a multi-blade razor was ingrown hair. This later progressed to an unwanted shaving rash.
My first piece of advice to myself would be to purchase a decent safety razor. Be patient and take the time to learn how to use it.
There are a number of fantastic benefits in using a safety razor. Just a few of these are:
- Less Irritation
- More Economical
- Easier To Clean
- Better For The Environment
Enjoy the Process
Like the millions of blokes around the world, my daily shave was just an inconvenient part of being a male. It was something I had to do, whether I liked it or not.
Now I must admit, that using a safety razor will naturally make your shaving experience much more enjoyable. But even if you’re not using a safety razor, the zen-like process of whipping up a good lather and meditatively massaging it into your face can be incredibly relaxing.
At the very least, use that time to consider the people and things in your life that are important and mean something to you. If you’re a praying man, it’s a great opportunity to have a chat and connect with God.
Use Proper Shaving Soap
One of the things my Dad used that I had no hesitation in following in his footsteps with was canned shaving foam. Not knowing any better, I happily sprayed this bunch of chemicals onto my hand and rubbed it into my face.
Little did I know, that I would have much better results by using a good quality shaving soap or cream. There are many brilliant reasons for using one of the many great shaving soaps or creams out there. A few of these benefits are:
- Softens the Hair
- Paraben Free
You Don’t Have to Rush
Tied very closely to “enjoying the process”, apart from the relaxation side of things, you need to remember to slow down. It’s not a race.
One of the main reasons that men (and women) cut themselves while shaving, is because they try to get it over and done with quickly. By slowing down a little and taking a bit more care, you’ll have a cleaner and more comfortable shave.
Prepare Your Face Properly
The affliction of shaving bumps and razor burn are the result of many things. There may be one or more process (or lack thereof) in your shaving regimen that are contributing factors.
I would definitely instil in my younger self the importance of preparing my skin and whiskers correctly in readiness for the first pass of the blade. Not only does a well prepared visage reduce the various uncomfortable symptoms of shaving, but it will make the whole shave in general smoother, closer and much more pleasant.
Shower Before Shaving
I appreciate that for a lot of gents, depending on their daily routine, this might be difficult to incorporate. I would however recommend to mini me, that I shower just prior to shaving.
This kills two birds with one stone. Not only do you thoroughly cleanse your face, but you also soften your skin and whiskers at the same time.
Choose Your Own Water Temperature
“Don’t be a sheep!” Not that I’ve got anything against sheep, in fact, here in Australia we certainly have our fair share of woolly mammals. What I’d be telling my younger self, is that just because hot water is the accepted norm, you don’t have to follow suit.
Cooler water can actually be quite helpful in controlling common shaving related ailments. And on a hot summer’s day, well, nothing feels better!
Use a Shaving Brush
For the love of God use a shaving brush young man. Although the thought using a shaving brush might sound a bit antiquated to many, it is a necessity if you want to enjoy a close comfortable shave.
Firstly, it helps create a thick, creamy lather using your favourite soap or cream. Secondly, the circular motion of the bristles pressed against your face helps lift the whiskers, allowing the blade to slice through the hair cleanly.
Lastly, a good quality shaving brush will help you evenly distribute the lather over your face. Not to mention that for me, this part of the process is the most relaxing. 😉
Use A Lathering Bowl
Once the brush is loaded with shaving soap or cream, a lot of blokes are happy to apply it straight to the face. Now if that’s your preference, there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
Personally, I found it less messy and more practical to use a bowl. And probably even more importantly in my opinion, because of the control you have over moisture, you can achieve a repeatable, consistent lather.
I’d also tell myself that a fancy, expensive, name brand bowl is not necessary. A couple of bucks from the local $2 shop, any bowl with a decent size and a bit of depth will be perfect.
Look After Your Face Post Shave
As a young bloke, I felt pretty much bullet proof. The thought of looking after my skin was non-existent, as I went about pursuing life’s more important things…like girls!
Just as preparing your face well prior to shaving is important, looking after it after that final pass is equally necessary.
The way you treat your skin after shaving, will not only heal any minor nicks and microscopic abrasions, but it will determine how well your face will be moisturised and protected. A huge contributor to this, is the use of an effective aftershave balm.
Don’t Shave Unlathered Skin
Just to clarify, Yes I did spread canned goop over my face before shaving. However I fell into the poor habit of shaving the same spot multiple times without any lubrication.
So in dealing with younger me, I would suggest that because multiple passes are required with a safety razor anyway, pick up any unreduced whiskers with the next pass.
Don’t Push Too Hard
Now I know disposal and cartridge razors are slightly more forgiving when it comes to how hard to press against the skin. I would however tell young me to not push against the face, but let the razor do the work.
When using a safety razor this is particularly important. You should always let the weight of the razor dictate the pressure.
Forget The Electric Shaver
One of the things I dabbled with briefly when I was a youngster was an electric shaver.
I wasn’t working at the time, but I was determined to save enough money to buy myself the latest and greatest. I considered shaving with a razor to be old fashioned and if the TV advertisements were to be believed, this exciting new purchase would shaving closer and quicker than ever before.
How wrong I was. Yes the shave was quicker, well, sort of. I did have to run the razor over my face and neck numerous times. And even then, I had to clean up afterwards with a razor.
No, I would tell my younger self to save my money and invest in a good safety razor and accessories.
“If I had my time again I’d…”
It’s a phrase we hear all too often. The great thing is, we don’t need to live in the past, but we can learn from it.
It’s never too late to change our habits for the better, we just need to make the choice to do so.
I hope you picked up one other two tips and tricks I’d tell my younger self. What tips do you have that work well for you? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
Time to get your shave on! 😉