Hello again, ladies and gentlemen! Today, I wanted to address something that is a big part of our company and what we do…men’s grooming. But I am definitely not the expert on this particular subject, so we have a guest writer! Gentleman Jim, of Gentleman Jim’s Own men’s grooming line, is on point when it comes to shaving and beard care. So, please enjoy his wisdom!
The Perfect Shave
Let’s face it. Shaving sucks. Many of us can’t take advantage of the recent beard trend to express how manly we are. Like those that serve in the military that can’t grow a beard because of regulations, or those in the business world that believe a shorn face represents professionalism, we are forced to demonstrate our masculinity in other ways. In comes, the perfect shave. Our morning homage to Man-God. A ritual performed for the right to be a Man. It takes a little time and discipline to get the perfect shave but once you get the technique down, you won’t mind the effort.
Here are some tips to get that perfect morning shave. Like any job, you’re going to need the right tools.
The Hot Towel
Have you ever been to an old barbershop? The hot towel is staple of the pre-shave routine, and for good reason. It opens the pores, softens the stubble and makes your skin more receptive to the blade sliding against it. If you’re getting out of the shower, then you’ve pretty much already did this with the hot water. A shave post-shower will lead to a closer shave and less irritation. If you haven’t recently come out of the shower, consider putting a hot towel over your face and neck for a few minutes.
The Pre-Shave Oil
This used to be the standard when it came to shaving. A lightweight oil that offers the first level of protection. A good Pre-Shave oil should coat the skin and the stubble to allow the razor to glide over with less irritation. I personally like a Pre-Shave Oil that contains essential oils to help control inflammation and rinses clean away after I’m finished. If you’re using an electric razor, this might be all you need to ensure a close shave.
The Shaving Soap
This is where quality can make the biggest impact on your shave. Do yourself and your
neck a favor by purchasing a Boar Hair Shave Brush. Once you try a shave soap, you’ll never go back to that stuff in a can. Find soap that produces a rich lather with a few whips of your Shave Brush. Once the brush is loaded, apply it to your face with tight swirls. This allows the brush to exfoliate your skin, and get that lather in all the right places. Keep that brush loaded since you might need more lather later.
Probably the most debated piece of shaving equipment. Those razors that have blades and rotating balls are good at what they do. But, that’s the problem. They are too efficient. By pulling the hair out and then cutting it, the hair goes under the surface of the skin and causes irritation and ingrown hairs.
The choice between razors is something we could debate for hours. Personally, I use a double edged safety razor made by Merkur. The blades are cheap and I don’t have to worry about bleeding compared to a straight razor. If you are going to go with a straight razor, look into the kind with disposable blades. Keeping a straight razor sharp takes a lot of dedication.
I like to make sure my blade is wet for even more glide. I usually have the sink partially full of hot water left over from the hot towel. A quick dip and light shake offers the perfect amount of water left on the blade without dripping. I make short strokes with the blade, and try to pay attention to how my hair is growing. I know to complete an upstroke near my Adam ’s Apple, and to cut down off my sideburns. Pay attention to that spot behind your jawline. A quick dip in the water keeps the razor clear of built up lather and stubble. Keep an eye out for missed spots that you can lather back up and attack.
Once you’re done cutting back all the stubble. Take that hot towel or wash cloth and rinse it in cold water. Use that cold wet cloth to wipe away the rest of the Shave Soap. Another benefit of Shave Soap vs the stuff in a can is that it’s actually good for your skin and moisturizes. This is a crucial step in the after-shave care. The cold will close up the pores and stop the irritation. Apply a light coat of an aftershave lotion. I prefer one with a light scent that contains witch hazel. Some prefer alcohol based aftershave.
The Clean Up
Rinse out your razor, and your brush. I use a stand to keep the brush pointed down to drain water away.
There you have it. The perfect shave ritual. This type of shave is an act in manliness. It requires dedication, discipline, and knowledge. Remember that, when your bearded friends question your manhood.
So he has spoken. Gentleman Jim boasts a fantastic line of men’s grooming products, including pre-shave oil, shave soap, after-shave lotion, and more! You can find them here!