Beginners Guide to Wet Shaving

Shaving Is Not Rocket Science, But...

Doing it incorrectly may cause razor burns, nicks, cuts and ingrown hairs that could result in lasting damage to your skin. Sure, shaving can be a hassle at times and may be the most annoying part of getting ready for the morning. A shaving routine will absolutely make the process easier.

A shaving routing will help you get through your shaves much quicker and trouble-free!

Over time, the routine will become second nature to you, which will make each succeeding shave more enjoyable and therapeutic. Pre-shave preparation, lathering, shaving best practices and post-shave skin care are all part of the routine. With proper shaving techniques, shaving soap or cream, a well-balanced razor, and a good shaving brush, you will have a great shaving experience every time.

Skip to Pre-Shave Preparation if you just want to know how to get a better shave with what you already have.

Contents

  1. Shaving Hardware
  2. Shaving Lather
  3. Pre-Shave Preparation
  4. Shaving Tips and Techniques
  5. Post-Shave Finish
  6. Maintenance

The Shaving Hardware You'll Need

Choose a Razor That Fits Your Style and Comfort

  • Cartridge Razors
    • Pros
      • Not much learning curve.
      • Do a decent job.
    • Cons
      • Require many passes.
      • More friction (each pass x number of blades), not good for sensitive skin.
      • Blades clog easily, need frequent cleaning between strokes.
      • Bacteria can build up between blades.
      • Cartridges are expensive to replace.

  • Double Edge or Single Edge Safety Razors
    • Pros
      • Give closer, cleaner shaves in fewer passes.
      • Less friction with a single blade, great for sensitive skin.
      • Do not clog, needs significantly fewer cleaning between strokes.
      • Very affordable, blades are very cheap to replace.
    • Cons
      • Have a bit of learning curve.
      • Finding the right blade for your skin requires some testing, but cheap enough to try a few brands.
  • Straight Razors
    • Not recommended for beginners.
    • Has a very high learning curve.

Try a Few Blades and Find the One That Suits for Your Skin

Applies to double edge, single edge safety, and certain straight razors only.

  • Beginner
    • Gillette 7 O’Clock (Russia)
    • Wilkinson Sword Classic (Germany)
  • Intermediate
    • KAI Stainless Steel (Japan)
  • Experienced
    • Feather (Japan) Gillette 7 O’Clock (Russia)
    • Shark Super Stainless (Egypt)
  • All Levels

Get a Shaving Brush That Brings the Best out of Shaving Soap or Cream

  • A good shaving brush will...
    • Generate a rich and thick lather.
    • Soften and lift up hair for a closer shave.
    • Help open pores and lubricate the skin.
    • Exfoliate the skin to remove dead cells.
    • We recommend pure badger hair brushes because they...
      • Hold water more effectively.
      • Help lather quicker and richer.
      • Retain heat longer for warm lather.
    • Boar hair brushes are good as well
      • Cheaper than badger brushes.
      • Take some time for the hairs to soften (break-in period).
      • Some find the smell of hair off-putting.

     Protect Your Skin With Good Shaving Lather

    • Avoid aerosol can goo
      • They are made from chemicals.
      • Do not provide much protection from the blade.
      • Bad for your skin.
      • Bad for the environment.
      • Compare the ingredients against natural formula.
    • Use natural shaving soap or cream
      • Shaving soap
        • Best if you want the most comfort out of your shave.
        • Takes extra steps to produce lather, though.
        • But, the lather is more luxurious.
        • And, hard soaps last longer.
      • Shaving cream
        • Simply apply to face and lather.
        • May not produce lather as rich as shaving soaps.
        • Since not as dense as shaving soaps, will finish quickly. 
    • Learn the proper way to lather 

    Pre-Shave Preparation is Very Important

    • Showering before shaving is best
      • Cleans and hydrates your skin naturally, which helps blade glide more.
      • Steam opens up pores and relaxes skin that minimizes skin irritation. 
      • Hair softens and lifts up, allowing the blade to cut more with one pass.
    • Use hot towel method if you shower at a different time
      • Wash your face with warm water and face cleanser first to hydrate and soften the skin.
      • Microwave a clean, damp towel for 20-30 seconds, then hold it on your face for 10 seconds.
      • Gently pat and wipe to soften and lift hair.
    • Pre-shave oil is good as well if the options above are not possible
      • Again, wash your face with warm water.
      • Apply pre-shave oil and massage in circular motion thoroughly.
      • Even better if combined with a shower or hot towel method.

    Follow Shaving Tips and Techniques to Avoid Skin Damage 

    Face Map for Shaving

     

    Use this blank face saving map to plan your shave start to finish. Make note of the direction of your hair growth (grain of the hair) in each section, as you may not be able to see the grain after lathering. Shaving with, across and against the grain is a discussion carried out at length in the wet shaving community, but the result and comfort are subjective. The only way to know which method works best for you is by trying them.

    Here are some shaving tips we recommend for beginners:

    • Let the blade do all the heavy work
      • Good sharp blade need not much pressure from you.
      • If you have a heavy razor, let the weight of the razor be the only pressure applied.
      • Light to medium weight razors may need gentle pressure to help blade catch hair and cut closer to the surface.
      • When using a double or single edge safety razor, hold it at a 30-degree angle.
    • Shave with the grain (in the direction your hair grows) to avoid friction and ingrown
      • Gives the least amount of friction and resistance.
        • Against the grain pulls and tugs, especially coarse hair, which can be painful.
        • And, may cause you to apply unnecessary pressure, adding to the friction
      • Prevents ingrown hair, as hair is not cut too far from the surface.
    • Take short strokes to avoid razor burn
      • Cuts hair more evenly in small sections.
      • Less likely to apply extra pressure over pits and valleys.
      • Gives you the chance to adjust grip, angle, and pressure if or as needed.
    • Don't do more than 3 passes
      • Never do a pass over a lather-less surface.
      • Complete a full shave, then feel out around your face to determine if and where an additional pass is needed. 
      • Re-lather areas that need another pass and shave that only.
      • You may shave the whole face, but do keep in mind that fewer passes equal less friction, which equals less chance for razor burns.
      • More than 3 passes generally cause razor burns.

    Post-Shave Finish Will Leave You Irresistibly Touchable 

    • Close your pores by rinsing with cold/cool water
      • It will also calm your skin.
      • This is the only step where cold/cool water is recommended. 
    • Use aftershave balm or lotion to protect your skin
      • If you use our shaving soaps, this step may not be necessary as our ingredients include Coconut Oil (SPF 4-6 protection), Hybrid Safflower Seed Oil and Sea Butter (SPF 4-6 protection) that are great natural moisturizers.
    • It's easy to forget that our skin is a living organ
      • Based on your skin type, weather, and environment, your skin may need extra care after shaving, which is essentially scraping away dead skin cells, exposing a new layer under it. 
    • Keep your skin feeling smooth and soft all day
      • Carry a specially formulated balm stick to apply to patches that need extra care. 
      • Also, chapsticks are readily available in many stores.

    Maintenance Between Shaves will Ensure Better Experience

    • Wash your face at the end of the day, every day
      • Your face may become dirty and oily throughout the day from natural or environmental factors.
      • Simply washing and exfoliating with your hands helps prevent clogged pores and ingrown hair.
    • Moisturize as often as you need to prevent dry skin
      • Flaky skin is an indication that your skin is not well hydrated.
      • May cause ingrown, rash, bumps, acne, wrinkles, etc.

     

    Recommended read: Been Thinking About Going With a Fully Shaved Head, But Still on the Fence?