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Getting the Best Shave Possible

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So many guys rush through their morning shave each day, leaving razor burn and stubble in its wake. Here's the deal, guy. Your face is the first thing people notice about you. It's your best asset, so it makes sense to spend a little extra cash and take some extra care to make sure you're getting the best shave possible. You want to put your best face forward, don't you?

Getting a great shave isn't as easy as slapping on some cheap shaving cream and running a razor over your face. A great shave is all about picking the right products, doing the right prep work, and using proper technique. Getting a great shave doesn't necessarily have to be expensive and take twenty minutes out of your day -- you can get it done fairly economically and quickly each morning using the tips below.

Choosing the Right Shaving Cream

The Best Shaving Cream
To get a really great shaving cream, skip the supermarket all together and head for your nearest high-end barbershop or go online. The traditional English glycerin-based shaving creams are the best as they do a better job of lubricating your skin and keeping it slick during the shave. Avoid creams containing menthol as they can close the pores, stiffen your beard, and numb the skin (making it difficult to feel razor drag). Among my top picks for top shaving creams, I really enjoy the product from The Bluebeard’s Revenge most -- it’s a little hard to find (and easily confused with Bluebeards Original, which makes beard care products, not shaving cream), but it’s worth digging around a bit. A jar of the good stuff will set you back about $25, but I’ve been using my tub of Bluebeards for about six months -- so, for me, it works out to about a buck a week. The English style shaving creams are more expensive, but also more concentrated, so they’re actually a great value.

Choosing the Best Razor and Brush

The Best Razor

Yes, the razor you use makes a huge difference in the quality of your shave. While choice of razor will depend on your skin and beard type (and, to a certain extent, personal preference), it’s important to choose a razor with quality blades and keep them sharp. I’m a pretty average guy, so I’ve found great success with the excellent Gillette Fusion Proglide Power -- it tops the list of my picks for the top five best razors. Some traditionalists prefer the classic double edge (or “de”) razor and I’ve had some great shaves with those, but they do require a steadier hand. I should also note that after shaving, it’s important to keep the blade clean and sharp -- the technique I use is to swish the blades in a little alcohol and gently pat the blades dry. Using this technique, I keep the blades sharp and extend the life of my blades by up to six months. It’s not shaving that dulls the blade, its corrosion from water and shaving cream, so keeping the blades clean and dry can help a lot.

In addition to a great razor, use of a shaving brush, especially with the classic English style shaving creams, can help exfoliate the skin, lift the beard, and create a great lather. A good badger brush will set you back $50 or more, but should last for about 10 years, so they’re ultimately a great value.

Using Proper Shaving Technique

Proper Shaving Technique
So, after you pick the right shaving cream and the proper tools, it’s all about using the right technique. First, I recommend shaving after the shower as the warm water softens the beard (which is why barbers apply steam towels prior to a shave). Apply your shaving cream in a circular motion and allow it to rest a few moments before you start to shave -- this will further soften the beard. When you shave, stretch the skin taut with your free hand and gently glide the razor in the direction of the hair growth (don’t apply pressure, simply let the weight of the razor be all the pressure you need). If the shave isn't close enough, you can reapply the lather and then shave against the grain, but only if your face looks stubbly -- don’t judge the shave by feel, judge it by how smooth it looks. Ingrown hairs and razor burn are caused by shaving too close and going over the same spot too much, so if your face feels a little scratch, but looks smooth you’re good to go. After the shave, rinse the skin with cool water to close the pores, pat dry, and apply a good after-shave moisturizer.

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