The Art of Wet Shaving
Here at Ruffians, as you’d expect, we know a thing or two about wet shaves. When done right it should be both deeply relaxing and invigorating.
The process is one that has stood the test of time – exfoliation, hot towels, cut throat razors, cold towels and moisturising.
However, many clients struggle to achieve a similar result at home and complain of irritation, “spotting” and ingrown hairs. We get that most of you won’t have the time to carry out the full barbershop experience in your bathroom, but it’s surprisingly easy to get a fairly similar result if the right steps are taken.
To simplify the process, we’ve split it into a few categories, so here goes….
Get the right gear
Many guys get the job done with minimal kit – a disposable Bic and a can of shaving foam.
Whilst we’re not saying this is wrong, it’s certainly not the way to get the best experience, the closest shave or to avoid looking like you’ve had a facial fight with a rose bush.
If you want to look and feel your best then invest in some decent gear.
Razor – There are so many to choose from, right? Seven bladed, battery powered, pulsating, water activated gel pooled…. Nah, stick to the OG’s.
A cut throat which takes disposable blades can’t be beaten but takes a bit of practice and patience, or a sturdy double edged safety razor runs it pretty close (sorry for the pun).
Brush and shaving cream – A shaving brush is one of the most underrated items in your grooming arsenal. Often overlooked in favour of a can of foam which can dry the skin, a brush loaded with shaving cream exfoliates and lifts the hair to give a closer shave and less irritation.
Face Scrub – Exfoliation is an often overlooked part of the shaving ritual. A good scrub will clear dead skin and prepare the skin for shaving. No need to use it every day, once or twice a week will do the trick.
Pre-Shave Oil – Not necessary for everyone on every shave but ideal for those with coarser beards or prone to irritation.
Moisturiser – Moisturiser is essential once the shave has been completed to avoid dry skin and irritation developing. Those with sensitive skin should opt for a natural formula without too much fragrance.
The most important part of any shave is the preparation. You can have all the right equipment, but without getting the start right you can still get a poor result.
In the barbershop we use a hot towel after the scrub to open the pores. This can be achieved at home by putting a wet towel or flannel in the microwave and holding on your face.
If this sounds like too much hassle then shave in a hot shower, the steam will do a similar job.
After this, apply your pre-shave oil liberally, then dip your shave brush (if using one) in hot water and swirl into your shave cream so that it creates a lather in the bristles. Then apply to your face vigorously in small circular motions.
Cool, now you’re ready for the main event….
OK, so now that you’ve done the graft to prep your mug and you’ve got your razor in hand, there’s just a couple of things to remember.
Firstly, with your spare hand, use your forefingers and/or thumb to pull the skin taught above where you’re shaving. This will help the blade to get closer to the skin.
In difficult spots where this isn’t possible (centre of the ‘tache, soul patch etc.) then squeeze the skin between your forefinger and thumb to make it protrude. Slack skin not only means a less close shave but also increases the chances of a cut.
Secondly, always shave with the direction of growth.
This is essential to avoid in grown hairs and razor burn. This can become more difficult around the neck where stubble tends to grow with all the predictability of the weather front on a Summer holiday in Margate.
If you struggle here then ditch the shaving cream in this area for a clear oil or gel so you can see more clearly what you’re up to.
Now that you’re de-fuzzed then you’re on the home straight! However, don’t be tempted to call it a day just yet, as leaving your newly shorn chops untreated is a sure fire way to get dry, irritated skin.
Once you’ve rinsed off what’s left of your shaving cream and ditched the blade in your razor then you must reach for the icy stuff.
In the salon we use a cold towel (which you can do too by wetting a flannel and sticking it in the fridge), but at home you can just dowse your face with a blast of cold water.
It seems a tad daunting at first but trust us, once you’re used to it then it becomes one of the best bits of the whole process. Kind of like breathing in crisp winter air after a Fisherman’s Friend mint. Oh, and it closes the pores too, which is a good thing.
The last stage before you’ve completed your shave is your boat’s best buddy – moisturiser. Apply liberally to keep the skin supple and hydrated, simple.
So there you have it, a full proof guide to getting the best shave at home. You can be safe in the knowledge that you can now be the smoothest man in the room.
Ruffians offer a range of excellent grooming products that can help ensure you receive an incredible shave.