You’ve taken on old school shaving and know the basics but aren’t ready to tackle more advanced things like J-hooking or slant-bar razors. What can you do in the meantime? Here are 7 tips.
Admittedly, some of these tips are subjective: what works for someone else may not work for you. Still, here are some things worth trying.
1. Alter Your Prep
Or maybe I should say expand your prep. Just splashing warm water on your face? Try adding a face cleaning product. Cleaning but just doing it briefly? Add one minute to the routine.
You have a leisurely prep but still not getting good results? Try adding a pre-shave oil to your prep routine.
In any case ALWAYS wash your hands first!
2. Use A Good Shave Brush
[Note: PAA and West Coast Shaving links are affiliate.]
Odds are you’re starting off with a “cheap” shave brush. And by “cheap” I don’t necessarily mean “inexpensive.” Many beginning wet shavers, excited to start their journey, settle for what may be readily available. In my own case I bought an inexpensive boar hair brush from the department store and struggled with it for ages.
These days it’s just not necessary to settle for a poorly-performing shave brush. There are excellent examples of well-made, top-performing shave brushes that are also inexpensive. For example I recently reviewed a synthetic shave brush that costs under US $20 and works as well for me as brushes costing much more. The latest generation of synthetic brushes from sources like Yaqi, Maggard Razors, and Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements (PAA) are well-made, perform very well, and can be found at a very reasonable price point.
3. Take More Lathering Time
While I’m on the topic of lathering, try taking a little more time doing it. If you’re building your lather with a brush in a bowl, try building the lather directly to the face. The extra “face time” may help your skin and stubble get more hydrated and lubricated for the razor to track across.
If you simply must use that nifty scuttle or lathering bowl to build lather, or if you’re just applying a product “brushless,” just let it sit on the skin for 30 seconds before you begin shaving.
4. Replace Your Blades More Frequently
There’s a tendency with many shavers to continue to use a blade beyond its useful life. Yes, there are ways to extend a razor blade’s life, but is it really necessary to squeeze every last bit out of one? When your shave starts to subjectively degrade on you, replace the blade.
5. Subtly Alter Repeat Strokes
It seems to be second-nature for a shaver to go over the exact same spot over and over again. It can be a tough habit to break. If you’re going to do it, try changing the position of the razor slightly. This way you approach that rough spot a bit differently and may track the blade over a more level field instead of going over the same “hill” or “valley” repeatedly.
6. Thoroughly Rinse After Shaving To Reduce Ingrowns
I used to be a lot more susceptible to ingrown hairs and other post-shave irritations until I discovered that I was occasionally leaving a bit of lather residue on my skin. Instead of just splashing on some cool water after shaving I started thoroughly rinsing the skin with warm water and I noticed an immediate improvement.
Then I added a tone/Witch Hazel wipedown by soaking a cotton cosmetic pad and wiping down the area. Then I did my cool water rinse.
Now ingrowns and irritation are rare (and I’m always trying new shaving products that might otherwise cause problems).
I just mentioned that I’m always trying new products. But I have to do that as part of running Sharpologist. You? I know you’re excited and want to explore your new shaving “hobby” but there’s a good case to be made that it is probably more beneficial to stick with one set of products for a while until you get your shave technique down. That way there are fewer variables to confuse the results of your shave and you might just achieve that elusive “baby’s butt smooth” shave without really thinking about it.
As a wet shaving “newbie” there is a lot to explore. As you learn your technique you will pick up tips and tricks to help you on your way.
Do you have an intermediate tip that a beginner can use? Leave a comment below!