Shaving is an art. People often learn it at their expense. I guess that everyone remembers holding a cotton packet to patch up a mangled skin. To avoid this happening again so you could fit to be seen on the morning and leave the cotton alone, let’s check all shaving tools options we have and what is the best way to use them.
Try to avoid shaving staightly when waking up: you hair is rough and you muscles lack tonicity. And you’re even not totally awoken and may hurt yourself. However, the morning remains the best moment of the day to shave as the skin is rested. Ideally, shave on the morning after a shower. Warm water will soften and extend the hair, which will make it easier to shave (this will even make your blades last longer). Other optimal condition: shave on an empty stomach, because mastication allows blood flowing in the face which encourages facial flushing.
A choice between 3 options, from the oldest to the most recent:
- Folding razors
- Safety razors
- Electric razors
Symbolizes the traditional way to shave. Most of us discovered this item through movies (famous Western movies). Choosing this method is a above all a choice for tradition and aestheticism. You relation to this item is more personal compared to any other razor. The “cut-throat” shaves closer but be aware that it requires specific skills! For a long time, shaving advices with folding razors were given from father to son. Today if you want to use it, the best is to go at a barber’s first.
The first “safety” razor dates back to the 18th century, it has known a continual evolution since then, even more the last years with the invention of the double, triple then quadruple blades! They are called Bic, Gilette or Wilkinson and differs only from their design. Choosing one or the other is only a matter of habit. Note that apart from the razors you find in supermarkets, higher-end razors exists made of horn or chrome.
I think I may have owned my first electric shaver around 18. Quite a basic model which I soon dropped actually. If you really want to use an electric razor, my advice is to target the top of the range on the first time! This is the only guarantee for quick and good results (see our electric shavers tests). In spite of this, even if your shaver offers great performances, you may need the good old safety razor for the finishing touches. Most of all, electric shavers can allow shaving very quickly.
Preparing the hair
It appears essential to hydrate the hair to easy its cut for any razor you will choose. One of the most traditional way to do it (and most effective) is to use a shaving soap applied thanks to a brush so the hair gets softer and deeply hydrated.
Foams or gels are more widely used today. Colored, perfumed or not is only a matter of taste. If you don’t have any particular skin problem, consumer goods will suit you well (Gilette, Williams…). But sensitive skins, more subject to irritations, may better use specific skincares like over-the-counter drugs and personal hygiene products, or cosmetics sold in perfumeries.
To prepare for electric shave, you can apply on your beard a damp alum rock which will tighten the skin pores and ruffle the hair. Dry with a towel and use some talc to dry more and easy the razor glide. From here, conditions will be optimal for a good shaving session!
Other option: using a shaving oil. Espcially for those whose hair is rough! It must be used in addition to a foam or gel, starting by the oil in first.
For a close shave, it is essential to glide in two directions: the first according to the hair growth, then a second from the opposite direction after reapplying the foam of gel. Picture-perfect, small slaps on the cheeks and let’s go!
The electric shaver
If you let your beard grow few days, use the electric shaver before any hand razor, the task will become easier then. The electric shave/clipper can also help keeping a “3-days beard” look.
Shaving automatically irritates the skin. Here we’re talking about soothing the razor burn and rehydrating the skin. After shaving, some of you may have different levels of irritation. Red blotches on the skin, even spots: my advice is to use a good-old Eau Précieuse to sooth it all very quickly. For less irritated skins, you can use a thermal water like Avène or Uriage. Sprayed into a fine mist, thermal water will bring a sensation of cool freshness and its soothing and skin-softening properties will restore the skin balance.
In case of a cut. Don’t panic! Before calling an ambulance, try to use a cauterizing stick and you will be agreably surprised. It is simple and really effective! The alum rock, multi-purpose item, is as well.
In any case, use an after-shave to rehydrate, keep your skin healty and young. I’ll leave the choice of it up to your taste and your skin type. The best remains to test many of them to find which suits you the most. Your after shave balm should procures you comfort, freshness and pleasure.
I’d like to finish with a quto from Alain, a famous Maitre Babier from Paris (btw I’m thanking him for helping to write this article): “Shaving is like love, it has to be done slowly to get good results.”