Step Three: Discover your Shaving Brush & Learn How to Use It
Don’t know what your shaving brush is? If you bought a high quality razor or grooming set, you likely have one in there somewhere. If not, it’s time to go out and get one. Why?
- A shaving brush helps you make your hair “stand up” or “stick out” so that you can get as close of a shave as possible (without going against the grain – more on this later).
- A shaving brush makes creating and applying the perfect creamy lather as close as possible to the skin easy and less messy.
- A shaving brush helps to exfoliate your facial skin – that is, remove the dead cells that can cause nicks and bumps as you shave which reduces resistance for a closer shave.
What kind of brush should you get? It’s best to find one that has firm bristles that are still somewhat soft. If the bristles are too soft, they won’t be able to create a creamy lather or help the hairs stand up. If they’re too hard, they’ll cause irritation instead of help soothe.
When it comes time to apply your lather with your shaving brush, always swirl the brush circularly ending with an upward lift to help ensure your facial hairs are “lifted” instead of “pressed down.” This may take a bit of practice, but if you watch your results in the mirror, you’ll soon master this technique.
Step Four: Get a World-Class Razor and Change your Blades Often
You can soften your facial hair all you want and prime it with the richest lather and best brush – but none of it will matter if you settle for a poorly designed razor with cheap or dull blades. If there’s one thing you learn from this and nothing else, let it be this: always use a sharp razor. Dull blades can hurt your skin and cause nicks, cuts, or razor burn – leaving blotchy, patchy looking skin. So as soon as a blade starts to dull, sharpen or replace it.
When it comes to picking out the right razor – you will want to look around. There are many options out there with new men’s grooming companies popping up all the time. If you are just going to your local department store, you’ll want to look on the high-end of things. In general, the current Gillette Mach Razor or competitor equivalent with several blades are best. But our recommendation is to find a boutique shop that you like. The quality is often far better than anything on the mass market as is the price – not to mention the customer service.
How often should you change your blades? This really depends on the guy. If your beard is on the rough side, you may need to change blades even as often as every 3 – 4 shaves. Other guys may find they can get as many as 8 shaves out of a razor, but if you are using the same razor to shave every day for more than two weeks, this is way too long. Do your skin a favor and start changing blades every 2 weeks no matter what.
Step Five: Learn How to Properly Use Your Razor
You’ll want to follow a few key rules to ensure you get maximum efficiency and minimum irritation:
- Start at the sides where facial hair is typically the softest and shave in the direction of the beard growth.
- Next work on the upper lip and mustache where hair is a bit rougher and needs more time to soften.
- Finish by shaving your chin where the hairs are the toughest. Leaving this till last lets these hairs soften as much as possible before you begin.
You’re likely wondering about shaving against the grain vs. with the grain. Yes, going against the grain can help you get a closer shave, but there are also two reasons why you should avoid this approach:
- It’s the quickest way possible to ruin a perfect shave with a nick or a cut. Simply put – the risk is often far greater than the reward.
- Sometimes you cut hair off so close, it’s below the skin level which can lead to ingrown hairs which appear as angry red bumps.
Not sure which direction your hair grows on a certain part of your face? You’re not alone. Everyone’s face and beard is a little different. The best way to learn how your hair grows is to let it grow out for a few days. The longer it is, the more apparent the direction it is growing in will be.
One final tip about using your razor: let it do the work for you. Shaving your beard requires no “elbow grease.” Don’t press down, don’t try to force it, let the razor glide and you’ll avoid irritation. If you are a guy who gets a lot of razor burn and bumps, there’s a very good chance that this is your problem, so try not pressing so hard and see how your skin looks and feels after your next shave.