A Smooth Shave Guide

April 24th, 2015

 1. Trim

If you have a beard longer than “0” (no-guard) on your clippers, trim your face with that first. If you don’t already have a simple pair of clippers, I highly recommend buying some. A kit like this is a fantastic investment. I use clippers like this every couple of days to trim my beard, clean up around my ears, and touch up my taper between visits to the barber shop.

2. Clean & Heat

Cleaning your face with hot water opens your pores and prepares your skin for a close shave. Old-school straight-razor barbers would warm a patron’s face with a hot towel. If you’re shaving at home, consider doing it during, or immediately after, a hot shower.

3. Lather

Start by working the shave cream into a lather in your hands. Then work it into your skin and let it settle for a a minute or two. Massaging in the cream plumps up the muscle called the erector pili, which pushes the hair up, kind of like gooseflesh. This also releases skin-softening oils from underneath the skin. What you want is to push the hair up and soften it so you can cut it off in one quick snap.

4. Prep the Blade

Try to use a new blade whenever possible. I like an old-school single blade safety razor, like this one, with cheap replaceable blades that you can replace after every shave.

5. Shave With the Grain

Go with the grain fist (the direction in which your hair grows). For most people that means from up-to-down above the chin, and from down-to-up below the chin. Before of the funny directions happening around the chin area. If you have loose skin, use your off-hand to pull tight in order to get a clean swipe.

6. Then Against the Grain

After you’ve passed once or twice with the grain, go against the grain. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to consider re-applying another thin layer of cream before going against the grain – it can get pretty rough before it gets really smooth. Run your hand against the grain on your face to find any rough areas you may have missed.

7. Handling Sideburns

I usually aim for just below the midpoint of the ear. Over the years I’ve also trained myself to blend my sideburns with the clippers mentioned, using a upward wrist-flicking technique that creates a fade effect (the hand moves further away from the scalp as it moves upward).

8. Rinse with Lukewarm Water

Pat dry with a clean soft towel.

9. Moisturize

I’m not big on aftershaves or man lotions, but a moisturizer like this with a low level of SPF, used daily, will make a big difference in keeping your skin healthy and young looking long-term.

10. Clean Up After Yourself

It’s a good idea to wipe your pat your blade dry if you plan on using it again. And don’t forget to clean up after yourself – it’s the gentlemanly thing to do.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

AOS

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