The Gentleman’s Guide to Shaving (and Not Burning Your Razor)

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Even though the rugged vibe has come back into vogue, not every gentleman can pull off a lumberjack look. If you’re not Chris Pine or Ryan Reynolds, you need to learn a skill every gentleman should know: shaving.

Here’s a bit of truth: Many discerning gentlemen don’t know how to shave properly. Yes, they can get rid of facial hair, but they also hate the razor burn that comes with poor technique.

Well, if you still shave like a nervous teenager, it’s not too late to learn how to shave properly. After all, some of life’s greatest moments require a clean face, like a job interview or perhaps a formal family event like a distant cousin’s wedding.

In the art of shaving, the first rule is to know how to avoid razor burn.

Razor burn appears for several reasons often linked to poor shaving technique. The neck area is particularly vulnerable, but razor burn can appear anywhere you shave. Symptoms of razor burns include tenderness, bumps, burning and itching sensations, and rashes.

They are mean. They are uncomfortable. They are unflattering. And they are certainly no good for a gentleman like you.

When it comes to razor burn (and other grooming issues, to be honest), an ounce of prevention is definitely better than a pound of cure. Since we care about our fellow gentlemen, we give you the lowdown. Here are three easy steps of how shaving is done by a true gentleman:

First, check your facial hygiene

Do you clean your face before you shave?

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You get razor burn mostly because you’re a dirty man in the most literal sense. Imagine this, you are scraping a blade across your dirty face. And you act surprised when your face gets all red and itchy. A neglected face keeps all those layers of oil, dust, dirt and grime. When you introduce friction through shaving, you expose your skin to irritants and germs that can infect your skin.

The gentleman’s way: Prevent razor burn by first cleansing your face with a basic wash of water and facial cleanser (not just soap and you’ll find out later why) before you shave.

Second, check the products you put (or don’t put) on your face.

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We told you to wash your face. Now we tell you to add more things to your facial cleansing routine, like moisturizing. No, it’s not manly to moisturize (stop with your closed-minded stereotypes). You need to invest in a good skincare routine if you want to avoid razor burn. Dry skin is one of the main reasons you could get razor burn. Having dry skin is already a sign that something is wrong with your face. It may already be irritated and infected in the first place.

Razor burn can also be caused by the texture of your facial hair. We are talking about genes here and it may be out of our control. Often, unlike straight hair, curly, coarse and thick facial hair can grow in a loop, inside the skin. We call this ingrown hairs and they cause what we call razor bumps.

The gentleman’s way: Regular moisturizing softens your skin and facial hair to prepare them for shaving. Also, use shaving cream when you shave to prevent razor burn. If you are experiencing ingrown hairs and razor bumps, some gentlemen use over-the-counter topical ointments that contain glycolic acid (this is known to deeply exfoliate the skin. It is also used for blackheads and pimples). Use with caution as this can also cause dry skin.) to remedy this.

Another classic gentleman’s move to prevent razor burn and razor bumps is to put a warm washcloth on your face to moisturize and open your facial pores before you shave. You can see this is usually done by barbers because it just works! Plus, it’s surprisingly simple, convenient, and costs nothing. You lose nothing when you try this.

Third, check your shaving tool

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You suddenly thought about shaving. So either you reach for whatever razor is available at home, or you go to the nearest grocery store or convenience store and grab those disposable razors. We tell you to think a bit about the tools you use to shave off your glorious facial curtain. Our advice, you can not grab any razor available at home or at your friends’, or your neighbor’s trash can because again, hygiene! Imagine scratching your face with a razor possibly mixed with feces. Using a dirty razor is just a no-no if you’re trying not to burn yourself.

The gentleman’s way: If you shave regularly, it’s best to invest in quality shaving tools. Get a quality razor, whether disposable or non-disposable. There are plenty of options to choose from these days. After choosing your razor, maintain it. Keeping the razor dry helps maintain the sharpness of its blade(s). Moisture is the breeding ground for bacteria. And you definitely don’t want bacteria left in your razor. Also, make sure you always use a sharp razor. Dull razors also cause irritation and razor burn.

Finally, for a gentleman, shaving is considered a ritual.

Shaving should take time. Like a ritual, it should be an exact, thorough, and well-thought-out process. A gentleman like you knows that getting it right, even the most mundane act of shaving, is a matter of maintaining a level of quality you know you deserve. More than a luxury, a good shave is good hygiene and razor burns and bumps are a sign that something is wrong with your shave. It may be time for you too to make self-care a priority.

With these three easy steps, we hope we were able to help a colleague.

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Good shave!

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