Monday, November 12, 2012
The daily ritual of shaving your face.
As usual, my posts are guest driven, and this is no different. One of my guests was telling me that he had begun to shave with a straight edge (not for the faint of heart or something I would recommend to most). He told me he enjoyed the ritual of it, taking some time for himself, to do something for himself, by himself. It got me thinking, women have a lot of these rituals that we do on a daily, or weekly basis, and our men don’t question us. Why can’t a man have a grooming habit that is daily and that has a sense of luxury? To shave well is that “thing”.
To shave ones face is as masculine as it gets! It is a rite of passage that young boys wait eagerly to do and father’s pine to teach. Let’s be honest, most of us have watched our dad stand in front of the bathroom sink with a Santa Claus beard of foam. But do you know the proper way to do this most familiar of routines? I learned a ton in researching this topic and hope you will get that buttery smooth face we women love to touch so much, based on my leg work, no pun intended.
Here are the steps you need to get the perfect shave and love every minute of it:
1. Assemble your tools:
you need a safety razor that feels comfortable in your hand. It seems to me that anything too fancy is unnecessary, but if want to spend some dough there are many choices that use standard Gillette blades. Three blades are optimal, but more then that is superfluous, less then that is inefficient. The exception being if your skin is sensitive, in that case the more blades the better. Get yourself a nice natural bristle shave brush. I like the ones from The Art of Shaving
, you can get them at their stores or at Nordstrom for around $50, and they are oh so worth it. You will need shave oil, shave cream and aftershave balm or lotion.
I favor the John Allan’s line, not because we sell it, but because they are well priced, work great and don’t smell too strong. I fell in love with them before we had them on our shelves and was one happy girl when I could get them for my husband at work. You will also need a clean washcloth and a clean towel. Clean is important because your pores will be open during most of this process and you don’t want dirt or gunk getting into them while they are vulnerable.
2. Prep yourself before you wreck yourself:
One of the biggest things I learned was that closeness and overall quality of your shave has little to do with your facial hai,r and everything to do with the condition of your skin. This makes prepping an important step. Begin by wetting you face thoroughly with the hottest water you can stand without scalding your skin. This removes the most oil and dirt from the surface and opens the pores to clean them out the best as well. This makes your skin soft and supple so you can manipulate it, and causes the softened hair to move more freely, giving you a closer shave. It is best to shave in or just after you have showered as the steam will help with this as well.
Now apply shave oil to the area you are going to shave. I know what you are thinking- oil makes you think of a shinny slick face. And what if your skin is already oily? Stay with me here guys!
Good shave oil is light - and keep in mind you are going to be dragging a razor over your skin and then washing your face, so no oil is left behind. This step is important because it aids the blade in gliding over the skin and gives an extra layer of protection. After all what good is a nice clean shave if you have razor burn all over your face! Keeping your skin moisturized post shave will also serve to help you prep from shave to shave.
3. The lather:
it is best to use a shave cream
NOT a foam. Think about it this way, cream is moisture while foam is just bubbles created by mixing detergent with water. These bubbles are air, which in turn dries out skin. Again, I know what you are thinking, you have used foam forever and it helps you see what you have shaved. I promise you will be able to see what you are doing, because this is where the shave brush comes into play.
Use the shave brush to create a thick lather with your shave cream. The difference here is that your lather is much denser and made up of something that is created to moisturize and lubricate, not dry out. Work the cream with the brush and then apply with the brush to your face using circular motions. This helps the lather get into the skin and causes the hairs to stand up so you won’t miss spots. The brush also exfoliates your skins reducing ingrown hairs, and blemishes.
4. Putting the razor to skin:
Take two passes at your beard going from one side to the other. Take light strokes. If you find yourself pushing the blade into your skin, it’s time to change out the blade (switch out about once every 5 shaves- give or take based on your beard hair). Run the blade parallel to the skin and keep it taut. These steps help to cut down on nicks. Remember to rinse you blade often, as this keeps it from filling with gunk, aka skins cells, beard hair and facial product. Use clean running water to do this as filling up your sink and swooshing through used water is putting that gunk we just talked about back onto your face, causing your blade to dull more quickly and blemishes to pop up.
For the first pass you will go with the grain to remove length, which will reduce drag for the second pass. Between passes, rub one or two more drops of oil into your face. The second pass goes against the grain, at this point you are getting that nice close shave that makes the woman in your life want to touch your face - ah the fringe benefits of taking some time to shave properly!
5. You’re almost done so finish strong- the last few pieces of the puzzle are really important!
First rinse your whole face with nice cold water and your wash cloth. Old barbers often used ice water, this is the most effective way to get all the oil and cream off of your skin and closes down your pores so you don’t get blemishes. It is also soothing. I recommend quickly cleansing or using a cleaning pad. The Arcona Clarify Pads are the best (available at Gene Juarez Salons & Spas
)! They have ingredients that sooth and ward off ingrown hairs and blemishes, and are also great for your gym bag for getting sweat and anything else off your face, without the hassle of washing your face! Now all you have to do is apply an aftershave balm or lotion to your face. This should not, I repeat, should NOT burn! The burn is alcohol and that belongs in your drink not on your face. Alcohol dries out your skin. Your aftershave should be a moisturizer and again help with soothing.
See that wasn’t so bad. Now you have a nice smooth face and you took a few minutes out for yourself.
Posted by: Amanda, Men's Salon Specialist