A Manly Tradition – Your Guide To Wet-Shaving Nothing says manliness quite like a proper shave. It is one of the rare things that you do for yourself – and your partner – that make you both feel good. And, although it is a rather simple part of your day, it can make you feel luxurious. Filled with tradition, and loaded with technique, a wet shave is almost an accomplishment, as long as you do it properly. And, since it makes you look and feel fantastic, there is no reason to rush it. Take your time; enjoy shaving and all the benefits that come with a clean, wet shave. Gathering Your Tools A good shave is like an art, and getting there is an indulgent process. But, to do it properly, you absolutely need to have the right tools at your disposal before you start. Running out of the bathroom (because your partner moved your products) simply will not do. So take a few moments before you get going to ensure you have everything you need. Razor – Likely you have a solid double edged razor; those Bond styled single blades are for barbers, and the absolutely skilled individuals. And, yes, you should strive for a single blade at some point – it means you are at the top of your game. Either way, test your blade first, and make sure you have a spare to hand.
Soap or Cream – Do not be tempted to slack on these supplies. You do not need much for a good shave (provided you also have your trusty brush handy), but you do not want to under apply product to your face. You already know that a scratch is not sexy, and you want to avoid it at all costs. Brush – Obviously, you want to have the highest quality brush that you can; the better the brush, the better the lather. You can use your finger tips in a pinch (say on a camping weekend with the guys), but a brush is what allows you to work up a solid, even lather. Plus, it exfoliates as it goes. Bowl – This is where you whip your soap or your cream into a lather before it goes on your face, and it is not a job for the bathroom sink. Plus, there is no telling what products your partner just dumped in there. Do you really want heavy cleaning product debris on your face? If you use pre-treatments or post-shave treatments, you should also ensure these are close at hand before you get going. Most importantly, you should lock the bathroom door if you live with others. Shaving time is no place for women or children. Their grooming routines are their business – this is yours. Preparing Your Face There is a school of thought which says you should shower before shaving. This is usually helpful, but it is hardly a necessity. The reason behind a hot shower is that it opens your skin, softening it, so the hair gives way easily to the razor. You can do this with hot water from the sink if you prefer. The important thing is not to skip it. Pre-treatments also make the skin ready for shaving. Usually in the form of oils or creams, pre-shave treatments can assist to even out the skin under the hair, preventing accidental cuts and abrasions. These products are recommended for a better shave for every man, but especially those with slightly more sensitive skin.
Lathering Like a Pro You may work on your lather for many years, perfecting it over time like the artisan this job requires. Despite what women think, it is not a matter of slapping a cream on to your face and letting loose. Lathering needs to be even and neither too thick, or too sparse; getting to that median is a talent. To do this, you will need either a soap or a cream and a decent brush. Choosing between soaps and creams is clearly a matter of personal preference. Soaps tend to be a bit lighter to work with, which is a superb choice for oily skin, while many creams are easier to work with. Fill your sink with warm water and allow your brush to soften while it soaks in the moisture. Add a small amount of soap or cream to your bowl (really, you do not need that much), then swirl it around with your brush until you have the best consistency for your face. Here is where the real work begins. Lather your face evenly covering every area to be shaved. This must be done efficiently, as going back over an area means you will be mixing fresh lather with the parts that have already begun to meld to your face. After this, it is a matter of slow, even strokes along your face.
Post-Shave Roundup Once you have finished your shave, rinse your face with cold water. This will naturally close your pores, so they are not attracting the daily dirt of your busy life. Treat any cut or nicks you may notice with an astringent, then pat your face dry. Do not wipe, as your face is sensitive and this will irritate it, forming little red bumps where you least want them. After-shave balms or gels are there for a reason. They simultaneously protect your face, moisturising it, so you do not suffer on your next shave – and they help to cool the skin after the process you have just put it through. The product you choose should conform to the type of skin you naturally have, whether it is dry, oily or somewhere in the middle. Once you have rinsed your razor, your brush and your shaving bowl, store them away with all your products - and then unlock the door. After that it is simply a matter of picking out the right tie to match the powerful day you are about to have. Just understand, that while your partner is unlikely to appreciate the process, she is bound to be happy with the results. She will never mention what a good shave you’ve just had – but if she did, wouldn’t that spoil it anyway? To hear more about wet-shaving and men’s grooming, visit: www.traditionalshaving.co.uk