Wet shaving will no doubt be a routine familiar to a mature man. But with the abundance of mens shavers available many still ask, what is the correct way to shave and how to shave with a manual razor? Here we remind the expert, and help the beginner to consider, what it takes to start and complete your shave with comfort.
- Soften your shadow
Don’t be tempted to use a razor on your face that is dry and where you stubble has not been softened. To do so will make it all the harder for the blade to cut through your beard. Without preparation, your wet shave will without question be uncomfortable. It also increases the risk of cuts and furthermore quickly blunts your blade. So soften your shadow or stubble either by generously rinsing your face with warm water in the basin or indeed taking your shower or bath before you put blade to face.
- Apply your shave cream or foam onto a lightly wet face
There are so many different shaving creams, foams and gels to be seen on the shelf of any supermarket, pharmacy or men’s grooming department. You may already have your favourite, or instead want to explore a new product for its texture, colour, fragrance or cost. The type of dispenser might also influence your choice: tube, pump, aerosol and so on.
Whatever you choose, the cream or foam should be easy to apply, providing a consistent and visible layer on your face. Some products are clear, such as oils, and it can prove difficult to see where your razor passes as you shave. Apply your product to a face wet lightly as this keeps your face hydrated and helps to lubricate the skin. Quickly rinse your hands before picking up your razor handle.
- Choose a razor with a comfortable, secure handle and a sharp blade
Your razor handle should provide a firm grip, allowing you to steer confidently this tool in the direction you want as you shave. With this in mind, a Bolin Webb razor is fitted with a tactile elastomer grip and its elliptical shape allows you to keep the blade in a fixed position in your hand. Other razors provide textured surfaces to prevent the handle slipping in your hand.
A sharp razor blade naturally enables a more comfortable shave than one that is blunt. There is no set number of shaves before a blade’s edge begins to deteriorate. This depends on the user – how strong the beard, how often you shave. It also depends how you care for the blade between shaves – proper cleaning and sensible storage.
- Glide the blade smoothly across your face
Practice and habit will determine how you proceed and complete your wet shave. No one can say it is better to start with a neck line, a cheek or chin. It is important that gentle passes across you face without abrupt movement onto or away from contact with your skin. This will allow the blade to cut through your stubble with consistent and smooth momentum. Rinse the blade between passes, either in a basin of water or a running tap (the latter will help to keep your basin clean but obviously consumes more water).
As you finish your shave, feel you face with your hand. A rough patch might need a second pass. You need not apply more shave cream or foam for this, as your skin will still be soft and moisturised. There is often the question, should you shave against the grain? The direction of travel of your blade will also be something you need to determine – no one way works for everyone. This depends on the strength of your beard, the direction in which your hair grows on your face, and how closely and precisely you like to shave. Often shaving against the grain will likely have little difference but generally following the natural direction of hair growth is best.
- Add finishing touches with gentle trimming
Tricky points about your face are often missed during a shave. By close inspection in the mirror, or by feeling the contours of your face, you can discover what you have missed. The main points to look for are the lower neck line, about your sideburns, and around your lips or under your nose. If found, carefully apply your blade a second time to remove these missed hairs.
The Gillette Fusion5, fitted to the Bolin Webb X1 razor, includes a trimming blade on the reverse of cartridge head. This allows you to finish your shave where you would like a precise line, such as the foot of your sideburn. The Gillette Mach3 does not have this extra blade.
- Wash and rinse
Now that you have finished using the razor, liberally rinse your face in water, either in the basin or under a running tap. Your shave cream or foam should easily wash away (if not, you might consider a different product for the next time), leaving you with a clean and smooth appearance.
Please do not forget to clean your razor when you are finished. This is best done by holding the blade under a running tap. Avoid touching the blades. Your razor can then be returned to its stand or case. A razor should be kept in a position that avoids the blade edge coming into contact with a hard surface, such as a bathroom shelf.
- Dry and moisturise
After drying your face with a towel, you are ready to complete your shave with a balm or aftershave lotion. These are designed to moisturise, calm and protect your skin. Again, there are many products to choose between and only testing will determine which you prefer.
Enjoy the shave.