I’ve found that if I want to make Mrs Romance happy, one of the best places to start is with a good shave.
She loves it when I’m not all scratchy, and I suppose I look a bit cleaner too!
To go out on limb, I’d say even with the advent of beard resurgence, most women still prefer to kiss a clean-shaven face. The problem is a lot of guys find is that shaving is a chore and can cause more discomfort than having a bit of stubble.
That’s because shaving truly is an art form. It’s not like in a Schwarzenegger movie where the baddy hacks his beard stubble off with a Bowie knife.
There’s a reason so many companies (none of them owned by Bowie) are pumping out so many shaving options and products. Not all of them will work for you, but it’s important to get into a good shaving regime that includes more than just a razor and water. It doesn’t take much longer than a ‘quick shave’ and you’ll be happier with the results.
Here are our 17 top tips for a good shave. By the way, tips 3 to 9 are practical shaving instructions. The rest are about product advice.
- Don’t settle for one shaving product type – experiment. Here’s our post on comparing 4 shaving product types. I like the traditional shaving stick or the Oscar Shaving Gel. There is another one I use: Bulldog produces skincare just for men and their shaving gel’s good stuff. They’ve also got a sense of humour. On the back of the shaving gel bottle, they explain: “Unless you’re a geography teacher or a communist revolutionary, you’ll need to shave sometime.”
- Try different razors. Different razors will suit different hair and skin types. My brother can’t use anything more than 3-blade razor because his beard’s too thick.
- Shave after a shower. Warm water & steam soften beard and make it easier to shave. Some shave during but I like shaving in front of mirror.
- Use an exfoliant or facial scrub in the shower before shaving. It removes dead skin and reduces the chance of ingrown hairs. Here’s our review of two different types of man scrub. Bulldog also do a good Face Scrub product I’ve just discovered.
- Shave sides of face first (skin here is toughest) then mo, then sides of neck, then chin then throat last, where skin is softest and the shaving product has had the maximum time to work and soften hair.
- Always shave with the hair – i.e. your hair from your sideburns usually grows down towards your chin, so shave down towards your chin. Everyone’s hair grows in different patterns – get to know yours.
- Never shave against the grain of your beard – this really irritates your skin and can cause infections. You get a closer shave but that luxury only lasts a few hours. It’s not worth it.
- If you want a closer shave, shave across the grain i.e. if your beard grows down towards your chin, shave towards your nose or towards your jawline. This won’t irritate your skin and will get closer than just shaving with the hair.
- Always wash off excess soap/gel/oil with cold water – this closes pores and makes sure your skin doesn’t get infected.
- Don’t try and shave every day – especially if you get shaving rash. It’ll only make it worse. These days – unless you’re in the army or work for Don Draper – your boss won’t mind a day’s stubble. It’s better than coming to work with a bloody pulp for a face!
- Invest in a good quality razor or electric shaver. They’re expensive but worth it. Don’t – DO NOT – use disposable razors. These are for making extra thin slices of parmesan or for people who think shaving pets is fun. Disposable razors do not hold an edge for a whole shave and will rip your face off like Hannibal Lector.
- Allegedly, putting your spare razor blades in the freezer makes them last a million times longer. I’m not convinced but if you want to try it, please let me know how you go!
- Change your blades regularly. Blades are not made to last forever and using a blunt blade will do you no favours. On the other hand, sometimes the blade just needs a clean. Check out this razor cleaner and sharpener here.
- Stick to wet shaves – they take longer but you get a better finish. I can’t use electric shavers. They burn my skin and don’t give a very close shave. I haven’t tried one that has won me over yet.
- Moisturise after shaving. Your skin will be in shock after you’ve cut all the hair off it. Give your face a break. You’ll look younger for it too! I’ve stolen Mrs Romance’s Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15. I also like the Bulldog moisturiser though – it smells good but not in a girly way!
- If your favourite time after shaving is the next day, the Gillette Fusion Proglide 3-in-1 Styler is excellent. Even if you want to keep a short beard in check, the interchangeable heads make it easy. It also transforms into a wet-shave razor and is completely waterproof so you can groom in the shower. I love this gadget – it even makes me want a beard a little bit!
- Go easy on the aftershave – people don’t like it when you stink even if said stink’s expensive! I often just use an aftershave balm then put on a bit of aftershave before I go out. three or four sprays is plenty.
L’Oreal’s aftershave gel isn’t bad and I like the Biotherm Homme range, but the Bulldog Aftershave Balm is the best. As Bulldog so rightly says: “Isn’t it time you took a long hard look in the mirror and said, ‘I need some after shave balm’? Of course it is.”
I know this seems like a long list, but once you’re set up, it won’t take you more than 10 minutes to shave. Once you’ve got the basics in there, you can tweak the details until you’ve got all you favourite products at each stage of your shave.
Do you have any favourite shaving products you like to use? Tell us about them in the comments.