Many kids have spent at least some time sitting on top of a toilet seat in a steamy bathroom, watching intently as their father ran a razor over his foam covered face, or as their mother perched one leg on the edge of the bathtub, bending and stretching to remove every last bit of hair from her legs. Observing their parents shaving is typically how most children attempt to learn how to properly shave.
Shaving is more than just the act of removing hair. It is a rite of passage and a transition into adulthood for both boys and girls.
Fast forward some years, and countless shaves later, and you're probably not as excited about shaving. In fact, you may be downright aggravated by the whole process.
What you now understand, that you didn't as a child, is that shaving can be quite a tiresome process. Depending on how fast your hair grows, you may need to shave every single day.
Women in our society also tend to shave their legs and underarms, which covers far more surface area than a man's face, making shaving an especially tedious and time-consuming process for them.
And how about the pain?
Shaving can often lead to razor burns, nicks, ingrown hairs, scars, and a host of other irritating and uncomfortable problems. While it's normal for everyone to experience at least one of these issues from shaving occasionally, if it happens frequently, that's an issue that should be corrected.
Either your technique, the shaving supplies used or both can cause unpleasant shaving experiences.
Chances are that even if you're sick and tired of shaving, you will keep on doing it anyway, out of necessity. With that in mind, we have helped make your shaving experience a little more pleasant by offering tips and techniques to keep you smooth and irritation free.
Why It’s Important to Know How to Properly Shave
Shaving is a skill that's honed over time. With trial-and-error, practice, and the right techniques and supplies, you can turn a troublesome task into a more comfortable and pleasant routine. Knowing how to properly shave is important for several reasons.
We outline some of these reasons for you below.
Maintain Your Look
Your face confronts the world; it is the first thing that people notice when you walk into a room. Although beards have grown in popularity in recent years, it is still the case that a clean-shaven face projects an aura of professionalism.
Whether you are going on a first date with a new potential partner, stepping into a panel interview for your dream job, or facilitating an important meeting, your hygiene speaks volumes about who you are and what you represent.
Those who prefer to maintain a clean-shaven face don't just want to remove the hair. They want their skin to appear smooth and free of bumps, nicks, and razor irritation so as not to spoil the effect. Learning how to properly shave will help you look your best and to feel ready to take on any task presented to you.
For women, knowing how to properly shave is just as important for maintaining their look. After spending a day at the beach or for a night out on the town, it can be embarrassing to discover you've left a patch of hair in a conspicuous place or that you have clusters of razor bumps or ingrown hairs on display.
You'll spend far too much time wondering if anyone other than you noticed, but felt too awkward to clue you in. Learning how to properly shave allows women to feel more confident and beautiful, knowing their legs are unmarred and silky smooth in a bikini or cocktail dress.
Over time, shaving becomes just a part of the daily grind, and another tedious and boring daily or weekly task we tend to rush through to get it over with. But if we have to do it, why not make it fun?
Just like with facials, masks, and bubble baths, shaving can become a relaxing, pampering, spa-like experience when you have the proper tools and skills at your disposal.
Men can turn at-home shaving into a barbershop-like experience by investing in a vintage shaving kit.
At the minimum, these vintage style shaving kits typically include a safety razor and a shaving cream brush.
Trading in your plastic disposable razor for a high quality shave with a safety razor and brush can help turn your shaving chore into an enjoyable ritual. To further indulge yourself, why not try a facial moisturizer afterward or a splash of scented after shave?
When women are pampering at home, they tend to rush through any necessary hair removal to get to the good stuff, such as facial masks and nail care. However, like men, women can also invest in a luxurious, high quality razor and shaving cream to take their shaving experience to the next level.
We understand you don't always have an abundance of time to spend indulging yourself in grooming rituals. Sometimes you need to quickly get that hair removed and get on with your day. Knowing how to properly shave can assist you with an efficient, smooth shave, all without injuring your skin.
Maintain Your Look
Many people don't realize that shaving can be good for you skin when you know how to properly shave. The prep work of shaving typically involves applying warm water to the skin, which softens the hair and opens your pores.
This action softens the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, and helps to unclog your pores by releasing debris and dirt that might cause breakouts or infections. The shaving process itself exfoliates your skin, making it soft, smooth, and receptive to any additional serums, creams, or moisturizers you may wish to apply afterward.
Protect Your Skin
Learning how to properly shave not only benefits you in the ways we've outlined above, it also helps protect your skin from unwanted side effects associated with improper techniques.
Everyone who shaves has had to deal with ingrown hairs, tiny cuts, razor burn, and razor bumps, which are all either unsightly or painful in their own ways. What many people don't realize, however, is that improper shaving techniques can lead to much more nasty side effects, such as inflammation, infection, increased sensitization, and even premature aging of the skin.
The act of shaving is a mechanical exfoliation of the skin, which can lead to irritation and inflammation. It an also compromise the lipid barrier, or the protective layer of the skin.
The lipid barrier serves the purpose of keeping moisture in the skin and preventing chemicals and bacteria from getting into the deeper tissues. When this barrier is injured or compromised, it can allow water to escape, which leads to skin dehydration.
Environmental toxins and bacteria can also enter the skin more easily and lead to inflammation and premature aging.
You will want to learn how to properly shave to avoid infection and potential scarring. While nicks and ingrown hairs are typically more annoying than anything else, it is best to avoid them if possible, as both issues can lead to further problems.
Shaving can cause tiny cuts in the skin which create an environment ripe for infection. Those small openings allow bacteria to enter the skin and multiply, causing a condition known as folliculitis.
Symptoms of folliculitis include stinging, burning, itching, redness, rash, swelling, pain, or pus-filled blisters. Infections of the skin are painful and can cause scarring.
Neither men nor women want to contend with any of the issues just discussed. Knowing how to properly shave is your best defense against shaving related problems.
Supplies You Need to Properly Shave
For the best shave, it is essential you invest in the proper supplies to achieve the smooth, comfortable result you are hoping for. In this section, we will outline some of the supplies you need to properly shave your face.
You will want to use a gentle skin cleanser to remove bacteria from the skin that could enter your pores.
This also helps removes oil that could clog your blades, keeping them fresher and sharper for longer.
This one seems like an easy decision to some, but others may not realize that there really is no comparison between a wet and dry shave.
Even if pressed for time, water should always be involved in the shaving process.
Towel and Pre-Shave Oil
Similar to a barbershop shave, applying a warm, wet towel to your face for several minutes can be a relaxing way to prepare your skin for a shave.
If you have coarse hair, you might apply pre-shave oil before shaving to soften the hairs further.
It's important to use shaving cream as it helps to lubricate the skin. Ditch the bar soap; it is much too drying.
The point of shaving cream is to moisturize and soften the hairs, making them easier to whisk away.
Look for products that contain glycerin, as it will draw moisture from the air into your skin, keeping it hydrated. If your skin is sensitive or if you shave daily, we recommend using a product made especially for sensitive skin that is fragrance free. You can save the scents for special occasions!
Use a shaving brush to apply shaving cream to the skin and also helps with lathering, exfoliation, and lifting the hairs, making them more accessible to the razor.
Shaving brushes can be purchased separately or found in vintage style shaving kits. While it isn't necessary to have one, it can make for a better result in the end.
There are a few different razors you can shave with, depending on your preference: disposable, cartridge, safety razors and a straight razor.
Whichever one you choose, it is important to make sure it's high quality or you won't get a close shave and may even cause damage to your skin.
We recommend that you avoid disposable razors altogether. If you go with a cartridge razor, look for one with multiple blades for the closest shave.
It's also important to look for a style of razor with a flexible head to avoid cuts. Razors with flexible heads adjust during shaving and help you get a smooth shave, especially in those tricky areas, like kneecaps. Handles with rubberized grips are great for more control during shaving.
A safety razor is a great option, but it can take a little time to perfect the technique. Once you have it down, you may find you love the result.
Some have reported a straight razor to offer the closest shave, but we don't recommend this option to those who are new to shaving due to the learning curve involved.
After you are done shaving and rinsing off the excess shaving cream, you will want to apply a gentle, hypoallergenic aftershave of your choosing.
Aftershaves come in, cream, liquid, and lotion formulations.
Their main purpose is to soothe and moisturize the skin while some have antiseptic properties. It's best to avoid aftershave that contains alcohol or menthol as these can be drying or irritating, especially on newly shaven skin.
Four Steps to Achieve a Perfect Shave
Now you know what supplies you need, we will go into more detail on the steps required to get the closest shave possible.
Prep Your Skin
We know it's tempting to do a quick, dry shave, or splash a little water on your face and get down to business, but to get a smooth result and avoid cuts and irritation, it's important to take a few minutes more to prep your skin. To properly prep your skin you need to clean it and soften it with warm water.
Take a warm shower
An easy way to achieve this is by taking a warm shower. The warm water and steam will open your pores and soften your skin and hair. If you prefer, you can place a warm, wet towel over your face or other areas for several minutes instead of the shower method.
While in the shower, or after you've removed the wet towel, clean your skin with the cleanser you've chosen. Rub the cleanser into your skin using gentle, circular motions for a minute or two before rinsing.
Use pre-shave oil
If you intend to use pre-shave oil to further soften the hairs, do this after washing but before applying shaving cream. Grab a towel and dab most of the water off your face before applying a nickel sized drop of oil to your face or more if shaving other areas of the body. Allow it to sit on your skin for a minute or two and then give it a quick rinse.
Apply Your Shaving Cream
If you are planning on shaving in the shower you can apply the shaving cream with your hands or with a brush.
Remember if your shaving brush has a wooden handle, you probably will not want to take it into the shower with you, as the water could cause the handle to swell and damage it. Whichever method you use to apply the cream, apply it in circular motions to lift the hairs away from your skin.
Before you get started, check your blade to make sure it is sharp. Shaving with a dull blade puts you at risk of irritation and cuts. While shaving, use light and gentle strokes on the skin. Do not push the blade into your skin. Remember to rinse your blade often while shaving to remove the hairs.
It is perfectly fine to shave both in the direction the hair grows and against it. Hair naturally grows in many directions, and if you only shave in one, you may not get the close shave you desire.
Also, shaving in just one direction will cause you to go over the same section of skin repeatedly, trying to get those elusive hairs, which could leave you with a nasty razor burn for your trouble.
Hydrate and Protect
After you are done shaving, it's time to hydrate and protect your skin. Pat your skin dry and apply an aftershave of your choice.
It's best to apply it to slightly damp skin as this helps to lock the moisture in. Your skin should now feel smooth and refreshed.
How To Properly Shave: Conclusion
From the time you were a small child, you were probably a little enchanted with the idea of shaving as it seemed like such a grown-up thing to do. Over time, that enchantment no doubt dulled when shaving turned into just another part of your routine.
Just like our other regular grooming habits, shaving is something that we spend a lot of time doing, and knowing how to properly shave can help you enjoy it a bit more.
It's more than likely you have also experienced many uncomfortable side effects associated with shaving or couldn't get the smooth results you desired.
To help you bring enjoyment back into your shaving ritual, we offered a guide to assist you with learning the benefits of knowing how to properly shave, going over the supplies you will need, and offering insight into the best techniques for minimizing the potential side effects.
We hope you found this guide helpful and that it leads you to your closest, most comfortable shave ever.