Being a neglected child, I was never really taught how to shave. At 25 this has resulted in me using an electric shaver most of the time. When I do use a proper razer I shave down the face. Next I invert the razor and shave up (going against the grain if you like). Question: This makes my face sore with tiny little nicks…especially around the chin area, should I only be doing the downstroke? If so how do the men those adverts get such a clean shaven look…or do they wax their face?!
I have been coming up with new ideas as time goes on. First I wash my face w/ very hot water, then I put on a thick layer of moisturizing lotion. After that I put on some women’s shaving gel, I think they put more lubricants in it than men’s, and let it sit for a minute to soften things up. Then I shave baisically the way you described. I rarely get knicks when I use this method.
Another thing I just found out is if you leave the shower running very hot while you shave it softens things up (but it also steams up the mirror).
I was never taught how, but this is what I found that works best:
[li]Prep: Fill the sink with as hot as possible water. Use shave gel. And use a name brand razor with at least two blades; I myself use the triple-bladed Sensor. Lather up the areas to be shaved. (I have a beard, so I shave my cheeks, lower lip, and neck.)[/li][li]I shave “with the grain” first on my cheeks and lip. I rinse the blade as vigorously as possible to get out all the stubble and lather. I then shave against the grain to make it extra smooth. (BTW, in those TV ads, the men are already shaven and are just wiping off foam with a mock-up razor.)[/li][li]I shave the upper part of my neck with the grain, which goes down. I then shave the lower part of my neck with the grain, which goes up. (Screwy, yes.) I then shave upper and lower against the grain to get similar smoothness.[/li][/list=1]
I don’t care how much they say not to, one pass just doesn’t get me the smoothness I want.
I also keep the beard for two reasons: 1) my wife likes it, and 2) I usually cut some part of my chin (which is quite pointy) when I clean-shave.
They have loads of great little tutorials for those of us who somehow never learned how to do these things.
1: Get the Gillete Sensor three bladed razor. It is one of THE finest shaving implements ever made and I have used a bunch.
2: Shave while showering. Shave after you have washed your hair as this will give the water a minute or two to soften your beard. Use a little bit of a good quality, brand name (Gillette etc) shaving cream and smooth a thin layer over area to shaved. Huge dollops are just a waste.
3: Begin to shave. Follow the contours of your face with medium to short, even strokes. Tilt your neck if necessary to stretch the skin taught around corners to allow better blade contact (just like with an electric). The first shave with a new blade is always a little sharp so you may get a little nick if you are moving too fast.
I find that there’s nothing better than using a straight razor. You have to prepare properly though.
Before you begin to make the first stroke, you have to make sure that your stubble is saturated. This can be accomplished using a hot wet towel on your face for about 2 minutes, or, if you prefer, right after a shower. The softer your beard, the better.
I use shaving soap, available in most pharmacies. It works quite nice, and it dirt cheap. Plus it lasts a LONG time.
There’s something to be said about using a straight razor. It takes one back to a time when things weren’t all plastic fantastic… Today these disposable Gillette razors and the like cost a bloody fortune. My straight razor may have cost me over a hundred bucks to buy outright the first time, but I have already saved more than that in disposables since then. So I have the razor, a combination 1000x/4000x Japanese water stone, and a leather strop. Never a dull razor, perfect shave everytime.
I recommend that you give one a try. My buddy says he’s afraid of cutting himself badly, but in all honesty, how far can you cut into your own face before you realize and stop doing it wrong?
But stupendousmann, what if I cut the nerve that lets me know I cut myself… why… I could slice my head clean in two!!
I’ll stick with plastic fantastic, thank you
Aye lad, but if you push hard evough to cut yer’ head clean in two, perhaps there’s no razor suitable for you
I’ve tried various methods as well, and have found that two things are key to my clean shave.
1: Shave with the electric shaver. This gets off 90% of a day’s growth, with no preparation. I do this before showering, and my skin’s not wet or in need of any lubricant at all.
2: After I shower I use a razor (with just hot water, no lube) and go over the trouble spots that the shaver never seems to get. This is where the “grain” of my beard changes direction, as well as close to the ear, in order to get a razor sharp sideburn.
Personally I use an old fashioned razor that takes double edged razor blades. Just as S’man said, no plastic. It’s easier on the environment, costs next to nothing, is easy to replace the blades, but unlike a straight razor there’s never any need to sharpen anything. I picked my razor up at an antique store for free (although I can’t imagine the price being very high, even if I’d paid for it).
No electric will give you a shave as close as a razor, and no razor is as easy as a shaver around the delicate parts like chin, upper lip, or around a mole. I’ve been using the two in tandem for ten years and don’t think I could improve on the system without going to the barber’s every morning.
Plus, having only bought double edged razors for so many years, I’ve saved a bundle in disposable razor and shaving cream costs. That’ll help when this fifteen year old shaver finally dies.
Dad always used an electric razor. Taught me zip about shaving. A shame, since I could grow a goatee while watching a Simpsons rerun.
Electric razors do a rough job. Not worth using more often than every other day, or when a rough job is fine.
The trick to a good shave is a saturated chin. Placing a flannel or small towel in warm-hot water and using it to cover the face for a couple minutes is best. The water does NOT have to be as hot as possible or be physically painful to put on the face – this damages capillaries. Pain is Nature’s way of saying BAD, people.
So add some fairly warm water to your basin. Soak the towel. And while the towel is on your face, add some shaving foam/gel to the hot water. Using warm shaving foam is one of the great comforts of shaving. You can put the can of shaving stuff directly in the water and this will also heat it up. Barbers have a special machine that dispense warm shaving foam, it’s easy enough to do and well worth it.
Your skin is now pretty wet. Take off the towel. The wet skin allows for a very close and comfortable shave. You don’t need to buy Mach 3 blades at $1.50 each – any system will do if the beard is well prepared. I use Gillette Sensor or a straight blade. You could use a shaving brush to apply small amounts of warm foam/gel to your face in thin layers – you don’t need much; you don’t realy need a shaving brush, but they are cheap. Shave with the grain. Rinse off with the warm water and towel. Repeat if necessary.
You can shave after a bath or shower, which may saturate the beard or reduce the time you need to apply the towel.
Afterwards, do not apply alcoholic after shave lotion, which can sting. I rarely cut myself, but when I do I appreciate have a styptic pencil nearby, which you wet and apply to the bleeding site. In Canada, styptic pencils cost about $1 US and stop the bleeding pretty darn quickly.
Mach 3 is a waste of your money. Beard preparation is key. And don’t underestimate how good warm shaving foam feels on your skin.
I have a tough beard and a sensitive face. I stumbled across this method. It works.
Shave before you shower. If you do nick yourself, I find it will quit bleeding in the shower. I feel the best razor is the Gillette Custom Plus (no swivel head). Soak your face with a hot washcloth for several minutes. After you are finished DON"T splash on more water - your beard has to be able to soak up the shaving cream. Use a good brand. I use Gillette for sensitive skin. Then, and this is the important part, don’t just smear the shave cream across your face, scrub it in so that all parts of each hair is saturated. Let it soak in for a few minutes - I brush my teeth during this time. Then get the blade HOT, this is also important, and shave with the grain first then against it. To avoid nicks, when shaving against the grain I go s-l-o-w. All the while cleaning the razor frequently so as to avoid hair build up between the blades as this foils a good close shave.
Since I discovered this method my face is baby soft and it took some of the dread out of shaving.
one thing nobody has mentioned:
shaving against the grain definitely lets you shave closer. But if you have a coarse beard (my beard hairs are as thick as tree trunks!.. well small twigs anyway) you are really asking for in-grown hairs. you don’t necessarily want as close a shave as you can get.
ps: i am particularly fond of those disposables with the little button that cleans out the space between the blades.
first off, Stupendous man is absolutely right, the best shaves come from a properly honed straight razor and that is an absolute truth…
that being said, I’m scared of those things… whenever I’ve had a barber shave I’m petrified, even though I’ve never been hurt by a barber… and the one time that I used a straight razor it worked perfectly and gave me a great shave; the whole time I was thinking “If I sneeze right now I’m gonna slit my throat” <just think about that visualization for a moment>…
so anyhow… here’s my take on the perfect shave (and my wife agrees)… take your normal shower in the morning, wash everything (to quote George Carlin, “armpits asshole crotch and teeth”), and enjoy your shower (the steam helps a bit)… then after you’re done with your normal shower routine, lather up your hands with a normal bar of soap and then scrub your face/beard a lot… put your face under the hot stream of shower water and rinse yourself…
get out of the shower, towel off a bit… and immediately splash some HOT water on your face, then rub in some gillette shaving gel and then shave with a 2 or 3 blade razor (I like the Mach3) in a “with the grain” direction, and then rub in a slight bit more shaving gel to your face, and shave “against the grain”… and then use some lotion, any lotion will do, curel, nivea, or an ‘aloe vera’ based after shave cream/lotion/conditioner like Gillette makes…
I know I kind of sound like a Gillette add, but those are the products I use, because they work on my beard (maybe they’re different on you beard…) you have to find the system that works for your face/alergies/beard/habits/skin to keep a good shave…
I know guys that still swear by barbisol and generic safety razors… this is just my experience…
hopefully this will help you a bit
I’m a wimp, and I have very sensitive skin. Using a blade feels like I’m ripping a 1-inch deep swath of my skin off with every pass. I use an electric with shaving cream in the shower. I have the Panasonic ES 8003 (from the Sharper Image) and it works wonderfully, even after 6 months of use. If I need a quick job, 2 quick passes and I’m done. If I spend 5-7 minutes, I’m as clean shaven as you can get; dead smooth, no stubble and best of all no irritation.
Isn’t that a bit dangerous, electrics in the shower ?
Having now despaired of receiving a post from the president of the National Working Group on Correct Shaving Techniques, I now must conclude that this thread will live a better, happier life in IMHO.
I’ll move it over there.
I’m 42. Oops wrong thread. Anyway,have had some experience at this starting daily at 17, in Bootcamp. There, nothing is allowed but a perfect shave. After a few demerits and figuring it out,I ended up with a gillette atra in my hand and have never had a need to look back. I’m not promting this razor,I’m just comfortable with it. To me, it just comes down to technique,experience, and you ain’t gonna get it on the first try.So, I shave in the shower with whatever cream/soap you’d like,twice.It saves dripping on the floor,being cold,time.Mirror?after 25 years I know where my face is.
Nope, just make sure you buy a wet/dry shaver and you’re all set.