There are several steps to getting a great shave. It does not include using a foam cream from a can and a multi blade cartridge. You must be ready to commit some extra time at least until you get the routine down. Once you get that, it will become easier and quicker.
The first step is to wash your face. It seems simple. The key though is to use a moisturizing soap or an exfoliant scrub with moisturizers. It is also best to wash your face while in the shower so as to take advantage of the steam. This will help to open the pores of your skin as well as soften up the whiskers.
After your shower, place a hot towel on your face. Usually around 15 seconds or until you feel it start to cool. This is necessary because while drying off from the shower, the cool air is already closing the pores and you have dried off your face. So, the towel reopens the pores and keeps the whiskers wet and soft.
The next step is to use a pre-shave oil or cream. Cover the entire area that you are about to shave and work into the skin well. This has many benefits. It keeps the skin moisturized, keeps the whiskers soft and helps to create a slick barrier between your skin and the razor blade. You do not wash off the oil or cream.
Now we move to applying shave soap or cream. Stay away from the foams that come from a can. There are too many chemicals. Choose one that has more natural ingredients with moisturizers.
Soak your brush thoroughly in hot water. Shake off the excess water. Too much water and you will create a soup. Remember, it’s easier to add water as your mixing than it is to get rid of any excess water.
With the soap or cream in the mixing bowl, move your brush in a circular motion. Work it until you have the consistency of a meringue pie or Cool Whip.
You are now ready to apply your lather. Take your brush and apply the lather in a circular motion or a figure 8. This will allow the brush to lift the whiskers up as well as to further exfoliate the skin. Make sure to cover the entire area that you are going to shave and don’t skimp. This helps in moisturizing.
After applying the lather, you are ready for your razor. To avoid ingrown hairs and reduce razor burn, it is best to shave in the direction of the grain. Section off your face. For example, using one edge of your blade, shave the entire right cheek area. Then, using the other edge of the blade, shave the left cheek area. Then shave the chin area, again alternating each edge side of the blade. Proceed to the neck and repeat the process.
RINSE! RINSE! RINSE! Do not allow the gunk to build up. By constantly rinsing your razor and avoiding gunk build up, you allow more blade to be exposed and therefore better performance.
If at anytime you feel that you missed some spots and want to shave over that area, RE-LATHER! You want to keep that slick barrier.
Okay, so now you have completed your shave. The next thing is to rinse with cold water. Yes, cold water. Then a cold towel. Leave the cold towel on for about 30 seconds. What we are doing now is closing up the pores and tightening the skin.
After you have rinsed and applied the cold towel, you should use alum. This is a natural, colorless astringent compound that is a hydrated double sulfate of aluminum and potassium. It can be purchased in either stick or block form.
This will help close off any nicks from shaving and kill bacteria. It will also eliminate razor burn before it starts as well as calming any irritation. Simply wet the alum and apply to your damp face. You will feel some slight stinging if you have any small nicks, even if you can't see them. Let it work for a few seconds, about 15-30. (This is a good time to clean your razor and brush as discussed below.) Rinse your face with cold water just in case there is any residue from the alum. Pat dry.
This is a good time to apply a moisturizing cream or balm. This helps in the healing process.
Apply your after shave if desired.
Once you have completed your shave, the last thing is to take care of your brush and razor. Thoroughly rinse your brush to remove any excess soap. Shake out excess water. GENTLY squeeze the bristles into a towel and run the bristles over the towel a few times. Place the brush into its stand, bristles down.
CLEAN YOUR RAZOR! Open up your razor. Run water over all the pieces while gently brushing with a soft bristle tooth brush. Clean the blade. Using a cotton ball, carefully apply alcohol to the edge of your blade to sanitize it. Flip the blade over, place it back into your razor and reassemble. Place the razor into its stand.
Go out and meet the world!