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1. Prefer shaving after the shower
Wet shaving, as you could imagine, requires water - a lot of water. Hence, to obtain a very high quality shave, you need to bring a lot of water in the process. Putting water on your face will reduce the hair strength and its resistance to cut. Chemically, what happens is that a molecular force (such as "hydrogen bonds" and "disulfide bridges") that link together Keratin fibers is weakened by water, making the shave much easier.
However, for allowing water to impact hair solidity, water must be in contact with the hair for a certain time. In a few seconds, a lot already happens, but forces in the hair are best weakened after several minutes. Hence, shaving under the shower is particularly efficacious. And if you shave immediately after the shower, you can also count on the same benefits.
2. Clean and rinse your face with a lot of hot water
Normally, you can skip this step if you rinsed and cleaned your face in the shower. If not, don’t skip it. Water is the most important ingredient in the whole wet shaving operation: you need it before, during and after your shave.
Putting a lot of water on your face will allow the weakening of your whiskers (see the tip above). During the “lathering phase”, you will continue to apply water.
However, rinsing your face (or even cleaning it using a normal soap) will allow to eliminate dead skin and bacteria that could cause irritations or even infections after your shave (using a razor blade weakens the skin and could cause bacteria to go under the skin). You will also eliminate excess of sebum (hair grease), facilitating the lathering phase.
Hence, by using hot water (above 42°C), not only will you prepare the next shaving phases, but you also kill all the bacteria that has accumulated on your face during the night.
3. Apply preshaving oil
Apply one to two drops of your shaving oil on the top of each 4 fingers (discard the thumb) and then gently massage the face still wet with the oil so that it is evenly distributed throughout the to-be-shaved areas. Shaving oil allows easier sliding of the razor head on the skin, avoiding cuts and reducing redness and irritation.
The oil also allows the blades to "better get into the hair" thus avoiding "tug and pull" on the hair. "Tug and pull" problems are often generated by last generation of multi-blades razors. "Ingrown hairs" appear often... But, the usage of oil prevents ingrown hairs by allowing a more even distribution of hair cuts.
The oil will also help the action of soap, ensuring proper hydration of the skin and leave a pleasant post-shave sensation.
A little more difficult to understand, but key: The oil prevents water to evaporate or to be absorbed by the foam of the soap. What happens is that the oil, put immediately on the face after rinsing, creates a very thin layer, or film if you like, on the hair itself, "blocking" the water or preventing the foam to "suck" the water from the soaked hair.
Oil extends the life of the blades. Indeed, as a mineral oil would allows a chainsaw to enter in wood, the shaving oil enters in the hair. And as the chainsaw would be less rapidly worn out by using oil, your razor blades will also last longer by using shaving oil.
Finally, oil will help obtain a lather of a very superior quality! Oil and soap combines to produce an emulsion. Just rub the fingers you just used for applying on your face on the badger: this will be enough to obtain that miraculous lather (not obtained with all shaving oils)
4. Ban canned foams and gels from your bathroom
One thing is sure and even the industrial companies now admit it (discretely): canned shaving foams and gels are bad products that need to be banned from your bathroom. Why? They are not good for your skin and…they dessicate the hair.
Firstly, bubbles in canned foams and/or gels are not made with natural air, but with the propellant used in the cans: in most instances it’s isobutene. Hence, you put petroleum derivatives on your skin!
Secondly, canned foams and gels, due to its chemical structure, absorb the water (hydrophilic nature of molecule). As you know from our “Shaving Tip #1, water is essential in a quality shave…
In addition, canned foams and gels are not eco-friendly!
For more in-depth information read our blog post.
5. Choose the right shaving soap or shaving cream
There are many types of shaving creams: non-lathering, semi-lathering and lathering creams. You should prefer the lathering creams. non-lathering creams soften the skin but they are irritating for the skin. Lathering cream allows the production of a soft and creamy lather, containing water, which is needed for obtaining a good shave.
You can also use a shaving soap. If you do, choose a soap with not too much chemical additives and with right PH (6-7) (not too acidic). Increase the quality of the lather by using the right essential oil (palmitic acid oils is a good example). Also, your soap must contain a moisturizer (sorbitol or glycerin) to avoid skin desiccation.
6. Apply the lather with a shaving brush
A brush is needed to (1) obtain the lather of a soap or a cream and (2) to apply it on your face. A good lather will be obtained with a good shaving brush.
Applying lather with a shaving brush prepares your face (massaging it), allows to bring water at every whisker (water between the bubbles of the foam ) and will help lift up the whiskers, allowing the proper usage of the razor.
They are many types of brushes, depending on the size, the weight, the bristle types and the quality. If you start with wet shaving, start with an intermediate quality, like our "Black Fiber" synthetic brush. Don’t go directly to connoisseur expensive badger brushes.
7. Change your blades regularly
Which ever the razor you choose, it is important you change your blades regularly. Indeed, you need sharp blades, that cut the hair immediately. Not changing the blades regularly causes a lot of problems (1) it increases the “Tug and Pull” effect of your multiple blade razor heads on your hairs, emphasizing on the “Pull” effect…and, hence, the retraction of the hair into the skin, (2) it increases the occurrence of razor burns, redness and skin irritations and thirdly, (3) your hairs will not be cut properly anymore.
Some blades need to be changed every 4-5 shaves, others can last 15 shaves. DE razors blades need to be changed every 4-5 shaves. Changing them every week (easy to remember) will help your reach the “Baby Butt Shave” level.
Do not forget our subscription service. That will help you change your blades regularly :-)
8. Shave with the grain first
A common mistake concerning the majority of shavers is that they tend to shave against the grain, especially on the neck area. Shaving against the grain increases the risk of ingrown hair and razor bumps. In order to know your grain direction, just feel it with you hand or analyze your face in a mirror. Shaving with the grain gives you a smooth sensation, with a specific “smooth” sense. If you pass against the grain, you will have a different feeling. You will, even, feel the "Tug and Pull" effect on your hairs.
When you master shaving with the grain, you can then shave across the grain and against the grain (in a second and third pass).
9. Rinse your face with hot and then cold water
As you now (certainly) know, water is a key ingredient in (wet) shaving. At the end of your shaving ritual, you will still need water to rinse your face. Hence, the best is to firstly splash your face with hot water (to better remove remaining traces of grease, soap or oil) and then, immediately splash your face with cold water. Cold water is needed to close the pores. It is also important before putting another grooming product on the face - like your after shave. If not, the pores are still open and the product will go into the pores and this could cause skin problems.
10. Apply a shaving balm
A good shave will alter your skin in three different manners: (1) since you cleaned your face, you removed the grease produced by your sebaceous glands, (2) the shave operation itself has a desquamation/peeling effect, and (3) the shaving soap and/or shaving cream has a skin desiccation effect. On top of that, you might also have micro-healing effects. Finally, the Ph (acidity) of your face skin needs to be restored after shaving. Hence, you need a quality shaving balm to re-moisturize and re-equilibrate your skin.
Avoid all products containing alcohols.