There’s nothing quite like running your hands over smooth, freshly-shaved skin. Men have been shaving for hundreds of years, since Ancient Egyptian times at least. Although razors and shaving products have come a long way since then (the Egyptians used clam shells!), thousands of men still suffer from dissatisfying shaves. We’re here to teach you how to get a close shave.
It’s frustrating when you leave the house with your face feeling rough, speckled with stubble or painful, but the solution is simple. It comes down to knowing what to do and the shaving products that help you do it. We’ve broken it down into 9 top tips so you can get a close shave every time.
Different people prepare for a shave in different ways. Some men opt for extravagant routines, but shave preparation doesn’t have to be complex. It does, however, have to be done if you want to achieve the smoothest and closest shave possible.
Many pre-shave tips can actually reduce shaving time as they make the whole process smoother and easier.
1. Warm water
Showering just before you shave is a great idea, but if your bathing and shave times don’t line up, then splashing warm water on your face can be a good substitute. The heat of the water opens your pores and softens both your skin and your hairs. A hot shower tends to be more effective than splashing with water because your skin is in the heat for a longer period, furthering the effects.
Open pores allow you to shave the hairs extremely close to the root, creating a much smoother result. Soft hairs also help the razor cut through cleanly and smoothly.
2. Washing your face
We have a range of pre-shave scrubs that are specifically designed for men’s skin and for washing before a shave. Soap and scrubs exfoliate the face, removing dead skin cells as well as dirt, sweat and bacteria. Exfoliated skin allows the razor to get as close as possible to the base of the hairs. It also minimises ingrown hairs by gently breaking the first layer of skin and allowing the hair to grow correctly. It minimises the chances of leaving bumps or spots after shaving.
Starting with a bacteria-free face is also important to stop any cuts or nicks from getting infected.
3. Pre-Shave Oil and Cream
While a pre-shave oil is not essential to a shaving routine, if you want a really close shave, it’s definitely useful. We’d also highly recommend it for those with sensitive skin, or if you experience burning or irritation after shaving.
A pre-shave oil or cream creates a slick surface, more so than with shaving cream and lather alone. This extra layer allows the razor to glide smoothly across your skin, creating a closer shave while minimising irritation. The blade removes the pre-shave product as it slides over your skin, leaving behind a moisturised and soft result.
Pre-shave oil also gives an additional layer of protection and moisturisation that is useful particularly for those with sensitive skin. The moisturising qualities protect from irritation which is often caused as the skin dries out post-shave.
Like warm water, it softens the skin and hairs, meaning that you can not only achieve a close shave, but do so in less time.
4. Your Razor & Blade
How to get a close shave depends a lot on the razor and blade you use. You need a good quality, well-balanced razor combined with a sharp blade in order to cut effectively and smoothly through your hairs. There are many different combinations of razors available at many different prices. These range from double edge (DE) safety razors to multiple blade cartridge razors or even straight razors (also known as cut throat razors) which are suitable for the more experienced wet shavers. The number of blades available is almost as large as the number of razors - we recommend a range of different DE razor blades and encourage trialling different combinations to see which works best for your beard and skin type. If you’re looking for cartridge style razors (razors with multiple blades), we would recommend a Gillette Mach3 or Fusion head. Try experimenting to see what works best for you.
The use of a shaving brush is an essential component to achieve the best possible shave. Not only does it allow you to whip up a thick, slick and luxurious lather, it also helps to gently exfoliate the skin and prepare the facial hairs themselves. It helps the lather to lift the hairs away from the face, allowing them to be picked up by the razor blade. Used your brush in a fairly vigorous circular motion for the best results.
6. Shaving Cream or Soap
The right cream or soap is also important. It should create a thick lather that softens your hairs, moisturises your skin and protects you from the sharp blades. The best way is to try different products and find out what suits your skin. There are many different fragrances and manufacturers of shaving soaps and creams. We’ve found that switching from a canned foam or gel to a proper shaving soap or cream can make a world of difference to your shave. A high quality cream or soap moisturising, protects and produces the close shave you’re looking for.
7. The Best Shaving Technique
Our top tip is to use the triple pass technique. First, prep your shave by creating a lather with your shaving cream or soap, apply, then shave with the grain (the direction the hair grows in). Once this is complete, re-apply and shave across the grain. Finally, apply more lather and shave against the grain. Some super-slick shaving soaps and creams are effective for a couple of passes without having to re-lather. Shaving in multiple directions is important as facial hair will grow at slightly different angles and directions. It allows you to catch every hair right at the base, which results in a clean and close shave.
How to get a close shave also lies in the post-shave routine. Like with pre-shave, it doesn’t need to be complex in order to give results that prevent irritation, infection and rashes.
Aftershave balms and creams calm your face after shaving. The blade scrapes the top layer of your skin which can cause burning, itching and rash, particularly if you haven’t used a pre-shave cream. Aftershave cools your skin, as well as moisturising it, to prevent drying out and it leaves you feeling soft.
Most aftershaves also contain astringent and antibacterial properties, which is why rubbing alcohol was (and often still is) frequently used post-shave. This is important as it prevents your pores and any nicks, cuts or ingrown hairs from becoming infected, which would cause redness and itching.
9. Healing Gel
Healing gel can also be used to stop bleeding quickly. You no longer have to walk around with patches of tissue stuck to your face or dots of blood on your collar!
Now you’ve read this guide, you should be an expert on how to get a close shave! Following these 9 tips, trying out which products work for your skin, and perfecting your technique will allow you to get a close shave every time. We have a massive range of different products covering pre-shave, the shave itself and post-shave, that will help to moisturise your skin and reduce irritation. The key to a good shave is high quality products that suit you.