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New Shave Set? 5 Shaving Hacks For Novices

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shave setDid you receive a nice shaving set for a holiday gift?  Great!  But do you know the little tricks that will help you use it properly?  No? OK, here are 5 little “hacks” that will help you get the most out of your new toys.

The Brush

If you’ve never used a shaving brush before you may be in for a treat.  The shaving brush can really improve both the performance and the enjoyment of your shave.  There’s just one thing…it can smell really bad for the first couple of uses.  Most are made out of animal hair (usually boar or badger, sometimes horse) and when an animal gets wet it smells like…well…wet animal.

Hack #1: Knock down that aroma by giving the brush a good shampooing before its first use.

If you have some pet shampoo go ahead and use that.  Give it a good, thorough lathering (maybe a couple).  Another option is soaking the brush in a mild solution of one part distilled white vinegar and nine parts hot water, agitating occasionally, for ten minutes.  Or you can try soaping up the brush with some lathering shaving soap or cream (hopefully you got some of that too!) and letting it sit overnight.  No matter what method you try be sure to rinse the brush really well, dry it on a towel, and let it dry a full day before its first use.  If there is still a bit of an off aroma don’t worry: it will disappear after a week or so of use.  By the way, it is normal for the brush to shed a few hairs during the first couple weeks of use too.
Here is a video on how to maintain your brush:


Now that you have prepared your brush you are ready to use it.  If you have never used a shaving brush before you should take a look at the lather post from our 30 Days To A More Enjoyable Shave series (and in our free ebook) for some guidance.

Hack #2: Lather “upside down”

You can get a better lather more quickly by getting more water to stay in the center of the shaving brush.  One way to do that is to hold the brush so the bristles are sideways or upright.  Here is a video to show you what I mean:


Your new shaving set may include a modern pivot razor, an old-school safety razor, or even a straight razor.  No matter what kind of razor you have, you want to shave with the grain first to get the most comfortable “bulk reduction” of the hair you are shaving.  If you want a closer shave, relather and shave across the grain.  Closer still?  Relather and try shaving against the grain (though some people cannot do this depending on conditions).

Hack #3: Lock your wrist

Moving your arm and hand as a unit will help you get a more consistent shave no matter what kind of razor you are using.

After The Shave

After shaving most people splash on some cold water, apply an aftershave (feel the burn!), and go about their day.  There is a better way!

Hack #4: Rinse with warm water

Rinse with warm water instead of cold water.  That will help remove any extra lather residue that might be left on the skin.  If you are troubled by ingrown hairs or those little white pimple-looking things you might even want to go a step further and soak a cotton pad (found in the cosmetics isle of many drug stores, megamarts, and supermarkets) with a skin toner (or even some Witch Hazel) and wiping down the area.  Then rinse with cool water afterwards.

Hack #5: Use an aftershave balm that does not have alcohol as a primary ingredient

“The burn” simply is not necessary.  Using a product that does not have a lot of alcohol will be kinder to your freshly-shaven skin.  Here is a video that may help.

Enjoy your new shaving set!


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

1 thought on “New Shave Set? 5 Shaving Hacks For Novices”

  1. Excellent advice overall, but there is one piece that perhaps you left out that really needs to be emphasized…
    Take your time (and enjoy yourself)
    Nothing spoils a good shave – or getting into good shaving habits – more than being in a rush. My father once told me “if you can’t find the time to do it right the first time, then how are you going to find the time to do it over?”. Words of wisdom.

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