The three steps to a perfect shave
|Prepare||Lather & Shave||Moisturise|
|The best shave starts with good preparation. Warm your face first by showering or using a hot-soaked towel. Then apply one of our pre-shave oils or lotions to lift the hairs and prepare the beard for the shave… read on.||Once the beard is prepped for shaving. Apply a rich creamy shaving cream or soap using a badger hair shaving brush. Take your double edge safety razor and shave in the direction of hair growth in short strokes… read on.||After shaving, it is important to soothe and protect your skin to keep your face healthy, clean and prevent premature aging. Aftershave milk is packed with nutrients and minerals that will revitalise your skin… read on.|
If there’s one key to a great shave it has to be preparation, preparation, preparation. In today’s fast-paced world, this step is frequently missed. The results of missing this important first step are often visible on the red, blotchy necks and cheeks of men, across the country, who have prioritised time over quality!
At Smooth & Groomed, we also value your time. That’s why we have handpicked the two best shaving preparations for your shave. Both take only seconds to apply but will turn your shave from an uncomfortable chore into a luxurious ritual.
Start your shave with a warm, wet face. This is best achieved by shaving straight after you step out of the shower. But, if time is against you, 30 seconds with a hot-soaked towel will do the trick. Both methods will open the pores and soften the beard. With your finger, apply the Edwin Jagger Pre-Shave Lotion or Arlington Pre-Shave to the warm, wet beard and give it a few seconds to settle. I like to also use this opportunity to determine the direction of hair growth in the various parts of my face and neck.
The pre-shave is designed to lift and soften the hairs and, at the same time, produce the first layer of protection between the razor and the skin.
Lather & Shave
Once the pre-shave lotion has been applied, it’s time to add a second layer of protection with Shaving Cream or Soap. This layer is designed to keep the hairs raised and hydrated and allow to the razor to glide gracefully across the skin.
To start, take your shaving brush and soak it in warm water for a few seconds, allowing time for the brush to soak up lots of water. If you’re using shaving cream, take a pea-sized amount of cream from the tub or tube and place it at the tip or the shaving brush. Create the lather by swirling the brush against your face. A shaving bowl can also be used to allow more air into the mix, making the lather more foamy and profuse. If you prefer shaving soap, swirl the brush directly against the soap inside a shaving bowl to create the lather and again, swirl it against your face.
When your face and neck are suitably lathered up, take the double edge safety razor and – at an angle of around 30 degrees – glide the razor in short strokes in the same direction as the hair growth. Remember that hair grows in different directions on different parts of the face and neck.
Carefully complete the first pass of the razor, regularly rinsing the brush. The razor will remove the shave lather as you go so you can make sure every part of the beard has had one clean pass of the razor. If you have time, you can try a second and maybe even a third pass of the razor. Just reapply the shave cream and glide the razor across the direction of hair growth for the second pass. This will result in an even closer shave.
After shaving, your skin needs particular care and attention. Although your skin may look super smooth, in reality it is full of tiny ridges that can become particularly pronounced if you have dry skin. By applying moisturising aftershave milk, you’re not only removing these ridges but you’re also increasing the chances of smooth razor-glide in your next shave.
First of all, wash any remaining shaving cream or soap off your face using cold water. The fresh, cold water will close the pores and tighten the skin. This is great for maintaining your skin’s elasticity, which your older-self will thank you for! The cold water also soothes any areas of the skin that may have been irritated during the shave.
Next, you should inspect the shave and admire your handiwork. At this point some men enjoy using an alum block. The block aids the pores closing which locks in moisture. Its also great for stemming bleeds from any cuts you may have had during the shave. The use of the alum block is purely down to personal preference. Pat your skin dry with a towel.
I often use the time after the shave to complete any other parts of my morning routine, such as applying hair product, brushing my teeth, etc. Either way, it’s a good idea to give your skin a few minutes to settle. Finally, apply a small amount of aftershave milk and gentle rub it into the skin around your face and neck. It will feel revitalising and refreshing and is a great way to end the shave.
Certainly avoid any traditional, alcohol-based aftershaves. They are notoriously bad for the skin as the alcohol dries it out and irritates the delicate skin. Instead, I prefer scented aftershave milks, such as Windsor or Arlington. The scent is much gentler and will be readily absorbed into the skin for a soft but long-lasting fragrance.