More Water: I’ve had several physicians tell me that it can take up to three minutes to properly prepare the skin and beard for shaving. That means lots and lots of hot (but not too hot!) water, first cleaning the area with a mild facial soap (no deodorant body bars!) then lots and lots of rinsing. Take the time to prepare and you may not need those weird oils, pastes, or scrubs that might do more harm than good if they react with your skin.
Less Air: Shaving gels or foams from a pressurized can are evil…evil…EEEVIIIIILLLL! The propellants displace water and the manufacturers then add artificial lubricants that at best do nothing and at worst can irritate the skin.
Know Thyself: Take the time to understand how your beard grows and reacts. Ingrown hairs when you shave a certain way? Don’t shave that way. And take the time to shave “cognisantly”–don’t rush!
Reduce, Not Eliminate: Consider that the beard will always grow back…there’s no way to stop it. The best you can do is to reduce the beard, so reduce slowly and carefully for the best-looking, longest-lasting results.
The Right Tools For the Right Job: The latest-and-greatest razor with the cheapest possible canned shave foam may be great marketing but lousy for your face. Do you have to use a 7 blade razor when a 3 (or 2…or 1) blade will do? Won’t a $2 puck of shave soap used with a shaving brush not only save money but produce a more effective lather?