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Welcome "The List" Viewers!

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I’m being featured on “The List” today!  The List “is the national Emmy award winning show where pop culture takes a need-to-know twist. Everything that’s trending in the form of a list.”  You can find out if a TV station in your area gets The List by checking THIS page.  But meanwhile, if you’re visiting Sharpologist for the first time after watching The List, here is a list of things you can do to get a great shave!

Before You Shave

1. Shave 20 minutes after rising from bed but before breakfast.  Or shave just before going to bed.  Consider shaving no less than every-other-day (to avoid stubble getting too long and making irritation more likely).
2. Prepare the area properly: clean with a facial soap (NOT a deodorant or body bar!), use lots of warm water, rinse thoroughly. Doctors say it can take up to 3 minute to fully hydrate the skin for shaving. Don’t towel off–leave the skin wet for shaving.  Shaving right after taking a shower is effective for many.
3. Use a good shave product. All other things being equal, avoid products dispensed from a pressurized can: the propellants can dry out the skin over time, so all sorts of artificial lubricants have to be added to make up for it. Use something out of a squeeze tube. Better yet, use a lathering shaving soap or cream that you apply with a shave brush.
4. Use a razor with as few blades as necessary to get the job done. More blades may not equal a better shave and it can be an open invitation to razor burn or ingrown hairs.
5. Know the direction(s) your stubble grows in (use your hand to stroke an area from different directions–one direction will feel smoother than the others. That direction is the grain).  Use this graphic to help map your grain:
Face Diagram

While You Shave

1. Shave in stages or passes. The idea is to reduce the beard, not try to get rid of it all at once (hey, it’s going to grow back anyway…). That way it is as comfortable and “safe” as possible. Your first pass should be with the grain of the beard. Don’t try to get every little spot or shave the same spot over and over again–your first pass should almost feel leisurely.  If you want a closer shave after that first pass, briefly rinse (just to keep the skin wet), relather, and shave “across” the grain (the direction 90 degrees away from the grain).  Still not close enough? Rinse, relather, and shave across the grain from the opposite direction.  STILL not close enough (you want that “baby’s butt smooth” look, eh)? Rinse, relather, and shave against the grain–careful though, some people can’t pull off against-grain shaving (especially with a multi-blade razor).
2. Shave the flat parts of the skin and avoid shaving around curves.  Compare it to shaving the facets of a diamond.
3. Use just enough pressure to keep the razor on the face.  Modern pivoted cartridge razors can help compensate a little for using too much pressure, but only up to a point.  Tilt your head to one side and rest the razor on your cheek. Feel the weight? That’s how little pressure you should use.

After You Shave

1. After the shave rinse very well with warm water to remove any residual lather (otherwise you might clog up some pores and end up with little pimple-looking things, or worse yet, an ingrown hair).
2. You might even go so far as to soak a cotton pad with witch hazel and wipe down the area.
3. Then rinse really well with cool water and apply an aftershave balm that doesn’t have alcohol as a main ingredient.

Upping Your Shaving Game

1. Consider going “retro” and using a razor with a single blade.  The “old fashioned” double edge razor that your grandfather used is coming back into fashion!  Using it isn’t terribly difficult but you will probably need to “unlearn” some bad habits and pick up some new ones.  It’s all about maintaining a good blade angle, very light pressure on the skin, and paying attention.  A lot of people are finding this way of shaving very appealing, for different reasons.  Some like the mindfulness or “zen” of shaving, others feel a connection to their family history, and the price of blades are a fraction of the cost of a multi-blade cartridge.
2. Using a shaving brush may be more important than what razor you use.  Massaging lather into the skin with your fingers works OK but using a shaving brush will help get rid of tiny bits of debris from around stubble and surrounds each hair with lathery goodness for a more effective cut.
3. And while you’re using a shaving brush you might as well use a lathering shave soap or cream.  They typically have fewer ingredients to react with your skin, perform better, and come in a wide variety scents that can make that shaving experience something to look forward to.
My free ebook goes into all of this in detail!


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

3 thoughts on “Welcome "The List" Viewers!”

  1. Ok, I’ll bite. I understand about waiting 20 minutes after you rise in the morning before shaving, but why not eat breakfast while waiting?

    1. Michael–the act of chewing increases blood flow to the face creating a higher possibility of a nick or irritation. A medical doctor may not agree with the likelihood, and the actual change is not dramatic, but I’ve seen comments about it again and again from those who have tried it both ways (including me).

      1. Who knew?
        Now the question arises: If I can’t eat breakfast, and one is a shower shaver, what does one do for 20 minutes before showering/shaving? Prior to your post, it was: east breakfast.

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