The healthiest, manliest, and most ecologically friendly option for your face is probably not to shave at all, but for those of us who aren’t ready to commit to the Grizzly Adams look (or for those whose wives or girlfriends aren’t so fond of the idea), we need to find the manliest way to shave. Personally, I’ve been in pursuit of the best way to shave for years. I’ve found it difficult to shave without irritating my skin.
The good news is, about 5 years ago I found a shaving method that won’t irritate my skin and is also ecologically friendly, affordable, and natural. It revolves around a shiny jewel-like safety razor, a blade, a bowl, and a brush. You won’t have to buy aerosol cans of petroleum-based shaving cream, plastic shavers that you keep throwing out, or overpriced multi-blade razors anymore.
Follow my simple instructions below for the best shave–it’s the way men were shaving for years before all the latest marketing schemes:
You’ll need: A double-edged safety razor – these are made of zinc alloys, steel, brass, or stainless steel and you’ll never have to replace it. You’ll only have to replace the single, incredibly sharp blade (and you can purchase a year or two supply for only $15); a shaving bowl or small bowl that fits a cake of round soap; a cake of round shaving soap (Williams is only $2 and lasts about 2 months…), or even better a shave stick such as Arko, Derby, or Tabac. (You wet your face, rub the shave stick over your face and work up a lather with your shave brush, or your hands!) Preshave oil is optional. I personally use Noxema as a preshave. It works well and a $2 jar lasts me about 2 months.
1) Wet your face with the hottest water you can stand. The hot-water is important for a good shave – it opens the pores and softens the beard. A proper shave takes time. I usually spend 15 – 20 minutes on my shave every morning.
2) Gently rub a preshave cream or oil onto your face. There are oils made specially for shaving, but you can also use pure almond oil (adding a little bit of tea tree oil creates a nice blend). The oil moistens the beard and skin and allows the razor to slide gently over your face. (This step is optional. Many men do not use a preshave product. I do because I have a heavy fast-growing beard, and sensitive skin.)
3) Splash hot water on your face, then use a shave brush and a little bit of hot water to lather up the soap in your shave bowl. Apply the lather to your face in circular motions. You can also use a shave stick (which I find more convenient,) and face lather.
4) There are several things to keep in mind when you start to use your razor.
- First of all, shave very gently, letting the weight of the razor do most of the work. The goal is not to remove the beard in one stroke, but to reduce your beard with several passes of the blade (since there’s only one blade, it won’t irritate your skin).
- Secondly, it’s vital that you pay very careful attention to the various directions your beard grows on your face and neck and to shave with the grain.
- After some of your beard is removed and you still want a closer shave, you can experiment with gently passing the razor across the direction of your beard.
- I usually will make a third pass going against the grain. But a 2-pass shave is usually enough for most people.
- Finally, use your razor at the lowest angle possible. This is usually about 30 degrees. Find this angle by placing the shaver perpendicularly on your skin, then slowly lower it until it will shave your beard.
5) Continually rinse your razor with hot water while shaving. If your skin starts to get cool, you can place a warm wash cloth on your skin for a few seconds to help re-open your pores.
6) When you first start, TAKE YOUR TIME. You will get faster with practice.
7) After you are finished shaving, rinse your face with cold water. You can use an astringent if desired, as well as a natural lotion/oil to re-moisturize your skin.
A few extra tips:
- Store your shave brush on its side or bristle down to keep water from damaging the bristles or handle.
- To clean a 2 or 3-piece razor, loosen the head quite a bit and flush the head with hot water.
- To clean a TTO (“butterfly”) razor, simply open the head and flush with hot water.
- NEVER WIPE THE BLADE! Just shake the excess water off, close the head, and leave the razor to dry.
- Coat your razor blade with your pre-shave oil after each shave to prevent oxidation and to keep the blade sharper longer. (I use tea tree oil, which is also antibacterial. I bought a little spray bottle at the dollar store, and I simply spray the blade lightly before I close it again.)
This routine has worked wonders for me, and it’s a lot more affordable than using all the latest shaving gadgets. Relax, reflect, and enjoy the process.
BTW – The integrity, moisture, and health of your skin is also highly dependent on your diet. Be sure to eat plenty of vegetables, berries, and omega-3’s daily. Happy shaving!
This Video is Really Amusing.
It Demonstrates What You Need To Know.
How To Wet Shave
Thank-you Art of Manliness. Great Video!