Grooming

The Lost Art of the Perfect Shave

Recently, we here at AMOG gave you the best razors on the market.

Even if you bought one of our suggestions, or at least considered one, there’s still that problem of actually using it to shave. Fortunately, we’re here to help you discover the lost art of the perfect shave.

First and foremost, we suggest you watch the following video. It may seem boring at first, but the tips included in it will be a major asset in your battle against facial hair.

However, if you truly want to learn the lost art of the perfect shave, then you have to start with the traditional wet-shave.

What Is Wet-shaving?

You don’t have to be a genius to decipher what a wet-shave is. The name implies it all. It’s keeping your face wet before and during the shave with plenty of hot water, preferably after a hot shower.

The layer of hot water allows the blade to skim the surface of your face. This helps avoid redness, irritation and bumps. The hot water also opens up your pours, relaxes your facial muscles and softens your whiskers.

No matter what type of tools you use, the key to a proper wet-shave is to keep your face hydrated during all steps of shaving.

The Tools for Wet-shaving

Of course, having the right tools will only enhance your experience of a wet-shave. Here’s what you’ll need.

A Double-Edge Safety Razor

We’re not talking about those disposable razors that you’ve probably been using for years. We’re talking about a legit safety razor that men used back when men were men.

A safety razor will give you a closer and more comfortable shave than disposable razors and you can find them in antique shops, eBay or Amazon.

One of the most popular safety razors is from the German company Merkur, who we mentioned in our best razor article. They offer various types and prices through site like Amazon, but, be prepared to shell out $40 for one.

Also, don’t forget the right blades for your new purchase.

Shaving Brush

You bought a razor and blades, but now you need a crucial instrument for a wet-shave. A shaving brush.

A brush helps hydrate your skin, since it absorbs the hot water, and when combined with shaving cream, gives you a thicker and richer lather. A brush also exfoliates your skin and lifts your whiskers-up, which exposes the maximum whisker length to your blade as it skims along your face.

Shaving brushes are typically made out of two types of animal hair, boar and badger. Boar bristles are stiffer and absorb less water than the preferred badger bristles. You can find badger hair shaving brushes at Amazon for about $25. You can also check out QED or Classic Shaving for razors, brushes or soaps and creams.

Soaps and Creams

Finally, you’re going to need traditional shave creams and soaps.

Traditional shave creams and soaps are full of natural ingredients that nourish your face, as opposed to the stuff from a can that are just chemicals and do little for your face.

The Wet-Shave Technique

OK, you have all the right tools, now it’s time to learn the technique for a wet-shave compliments of The Art of Manliness.

Preparation.

Before you begin, there are several things to be aware of.

First, you must forget everything you learned with shaving with cartridge razors. This is a skill that requires a specific technique and some patience.

Secondly, you should keep in mind that you need to have slower and more careful strokes. Remember, you want to guide the razor over your skin without pressing down.

So, let’s begin with the preparation of a wet-shave.

Preparation is needed to soften your whiskers, so that shaving is easier and causes less irritation. As mentioned earlier, the best way to soften your beard is to shave immediately following a shower. The hot water will hydrate and soften your beard enough for shaving. If you don’t have time for a shower, you should at least wet your beard with hot water, using a hot towel is a great recommendation to soften your beard.

Lathering up.

After prepping your beard, you need to lather up.

You begin by taking a small amount (about the size of nickel) of shaving cream and placing it in a mug. Take a brush that has been pre-soaked with water and swirl the cream around until you get a nice thick lather. Apply the lather with your brush in swirling motions. When your face is covered, take a few strokes to smooth the lather evenly.

The shave.

Now’s the time for the shave. Here are the four keys to a successful shave with a safety razor.

1. Use as little pressure as possible.

You don’t need to use pressure because the weight of the safety razor is sufficient enough to cut your beard. If you press down, you’ll end up hacking up your face. To help counter the tendency to apply pressure, try holding the razor by the tip of the handle.

2. Angle the blade as far away from your face as possible.

It’s suggested that the proper angle is somewhere around 30 and 45 degrees. To get the proper razor angle, put the top of the razor head directly on your cheek, with the handle parallel with the floor. Slowly lower the handle until the blade can cut your whiskers. Practice on your arm if you’re not comfortable with practicing on your face.

3. Shave with the grain.

While shaving against the grain can get you that smooth feel, you risk slicing up your face and causing ingrown hairs. When you’re first starting out, shave with the grain of your beard. If you lather up and pass the razor more than once over your face, you’re guaranteed to get a smooth finish.

4. Go for beard reduction, not beard removal.

The primary goal with shaving should be gradual beard reduction, not beard removal with the first cut. Most of us attempt to get rid of our beard in one pass of the razor. This technique is what causes the majority of skin irritations. If you want to avoid skin irritation, lather up and pass the razor over your face several times.

Post-shave.

After shaving, rinse your face with some cold water to close the pores. Pat, not rub, your face dry with a clean towel, and finish up with a good non-alcohol-based after-shave or moisturizer. Aftershave helps reduce any irritation that may have occurred and will leave your skin looking healthy.

Finally, thoroughly rinse the lather from the shaving brush and shake it dry. Store it in your medicine cabinet on it’s handle, not lying down. This will let the bristles air-dry without damaging them, so your brush will last 20 years or more.

If you’re not one for reading, then here’s a video that provides a rather decent overview of the wet-shave experience.

Final Thoughts on a Wet-shave

It may seem like a big investment, and time-waster, to do a wet-shave daily, considering that it’s on the rise for barbershops, but keep in mind that eventually you will lower shaving costs, it’s better for the environment, you’ll get a better shave and it will prove how manly and classy you are.

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