Shaving is not just personal hygiene, it’s an art. Or it can be. If you have been use an aerosol shaving cream and disposable razor, you have certainly left room for improvement. When you use the wrong tools, shaving can feel like a painful chore, literally, if nicks, cuts and razor burn are a problem for you. That’s why real grooming experts recommend a process called a “wet shave” – a little more sophisticated, a little old-fashioned, and a whole lot more satisfying. And to get started, all it takes is a few tools and a bit of know-how.
Why wet shaving is better
Wet shaving involves using a shaving brush and soap or shaving cream, along with a little warm water, to create a luxurious lather that you apply to your skin before you shave. If you wish, you can continue to use your disposable razors on the side, but true aficionados will opt for an old-fashioned safety razor. Taken together, the two will deliver a closer shave, like Notes by Bolin Webb“Since you’re getting closer to the skin with a wet shave, you’re actually cutting the hairs to a shorter length. This means you can go longer between shaves.
You’ll also get a better shave: the lather will soften your beard and keep your skin better hydrated, allowing the blade to move more easily. And if you opt for a safety razor, you will experience less irritation and fewer ingrown hairs than with a cartridge or electric razor. As West Coast Shave explains, “If you use a 5-blade cartridge razor and go over an area of your face 3 times, you have now exposed an area of skin to 15 blade passes. In comparison, if you use a safety razor, you are only exposing the skin to one blade at a time. The less you scratch your face with a blade, the happier it will be.
Beyond these practical concerns, there is also value in ritual and wet shaving. can certainly be that for you – a little respite from the day, during which you can carefully concentrate on performing a task. Using a fancy shaving cream, a soft shaving brush, and your favorite smelling aftershave can be an enjoyable experience at minimal cost (although, like any other hobby, you can certainly spend more money if you wish). No one will be worse for transform a daily chore in an act that they really enjoy.
What you’ll need to get started
Safety razor. A safety razor differs from a cartridge razor in that it only has one blade, whereas a cartridge razor has three to six. Safety razors are mostly made from metal and will last many years compared to their disposable cartridge counterparts. The cost can range from $20 to a few hundred dollars, but Bib & Tucker writes, “while the razor itself is more expensive at first, safety razors should last for years.” Over time, a safety razor with replaceable blades will likely be cheaper and last much longer than using disposable cartridges.
Badger. According to the men’s fashion advice site He spoke in style, when used with shaving cream (as opposed to foam or gel), a shaving brush will create a richer, thicker lather that will soften and lift the hairs you shave, while exfoliating the skin. There are different types of badger hair to consider, but they are generally made from natural fibers (boar, badger, beaver, and horsehair), although there are synthetic alternatives. All of them will get the job done, so it really comes down to which material you like the most to feel against your skin.
After-shave. Aftershaves come in three forms; balms, gels and lotions. They all have the same goal: to soothe and moisturize the skin after shaving. Even though its properties are similar to those of a high quality shaving cream, aftershave is still an important part of the equation. The Gentleman’s Gazette writes, “unlike other products used during the actual shave, aftershaves have a longer-lasting effect because they are not immediately wiped off (like shaving cream).” The site recommends using a balm on a gel and skipping lotions altogether. This is because balms are low in alcohol, and alcohol will not only dry out the skin, but sting if you managed to cut yourself along the way.
How to get a good wet shave
Performing a wet shave is a relatively simple process. First, create a lather by adding a dot of shaving cream to a small bowl with about a teaspoon of water. Using your brush, whip the cream into a light, thick and fluffy foam. Use the brush to apply it evenly on your face. Be sure to cover all the areas you want to shave and let the lather sit on your face for about a minute (or as the label says) so it can soften your hair and make it stand up straight.
Then, gently run your safety razor over the soaped areas of your face in the direction of hair growth (to reduce razor burn). To determine the direction of your hair growth, Supply’s groomers recommend the following“Take a business card, credit card, or even the back of a comb and run it lightly over each strand of hair. Hair that grows in the direction of the hair will look like you’re just combing it to push them back in. Countercurrent hair growth will feel like you’re pulling your hair follicles up.
Beard and Blade Supply Co. recommends entering at a 30° angle to the skin, which “exposes the blade to stubble and allows the razor to work efficiently”. Shave in small repeated strokes of 1 to 3 centimeters, rinsing the blade often so as not to clog the razor with hairs. Repeat if desired for a closer shave.
Finally, rinse off any remaining suds and immediately apply an aftershave to soothe and moisturize the skin.