The Perfect Shave
It's funny how many men get into the habit of shaving a certain way and never even think to change. There are some that consistently use the electric razor, a viable option, but one that leaves you with a so-so shave. Others opt for a safety razor, getting a closer shave but risking cutting their face open a little bit. Then, of course, there is the straight razor, where you almost always risk severing your carotid artery. The safety razor is the best option for both the best shave and living long enough to talk about it.
You probably think your facial maintenance is right up to snuff. Accept that improvement can be made, and read on.
Best. Shave. Ever.
The first thing that you probably do wrong when you shave is a lack of prep. Obviously you will want to splash on some warm water and shaving cream, but you can do better. After you have given yourself a good rinse with warm water, apply some pre-shave oil. Not only will this help soften your skin, but it will also help the razor glide over your skin and remove the hair. There are some rather pricey products you can buy for a pre-shave oil, but I find that some simple olive oil from the grocery store works wonders! I would recommend getting a good olive oil too, some of them have been refined with a chemical process, organic is probably the best.
After you've prepped, apply your shaving cream. There are some really great shaving creams out there and it's on my to-do list to try some of them (I even have my badger brush ready!). If you have particularly sensitive skin (which I do), I would try a higher end cream, but at the very least Gillette Sensitive Skin®.
Now that you are lathered, it's time to shave. Remember which way you shave. When you start, shave with the hair, sometimes you'll have to go sideways (like around your chin). Keep the right amount of medium(ish) pressure on the razor and travel at a steady pace, going too fast or going too slow can cause cuts. When you've finished, reapply some warm water and maybe a little oil, and re-lather. Then go back with your razor and shave the opposite direction, this will get the closest possible shave. It's very hard to get super close around the chin, so accept that it's going to be just a hair (ha..puns) less smooth than the rest of your face. Be very careful not to cut yourself here when shaving sideways.
I was going to put in a picture of a guy shaving, but I saw this come up when I typed in "man shaving" and I thought epic karate dude was way cooler...and he even needs to shave.
Now you have a great shave! But, the battle is not over! We used oil to soften our skin and to help the razor glide over your face, only removing the hair. This reduces razor burn dramatically, but does not change the fact that you just scraped a super sharp piece of metal against your face. After you have shaved both ways, wash off the shaving cream with warm water and pat dry with a dry, clean cloth. Realize now, that you need to close your skin back up after it has been razor-raped. The best way that I have found to do this is by using an astringent, it will have a high alcohol content that closes up the pores and also the cleansing medication (usually salicylic acid) that keeps infections under control. Sparingly apply, (especially if you are using a scented aftershave) but make sure to get full face coverage. When that dries, which it should very quickly, use a post shave gel like Gilette after shave gel. It has menthol in it and will leave you with an awesome cool clean feel.
After all is said and done, brush your teeth or something and let the gel dry. At this point your skin will feel a little dry (not like flakey, but like you just put alcohol on your face). Use some lotion to give it an all-day moistness. One of my favorites is called Positively Radiant by Aveeno, it is a great moisturizer all day and, along with your oil treatment, gives you a healthy glow.
And don't tell me that this takes too long unless you legitimately don't care about your health, hygiene, or appearance. If that is the case you just wasted probably a solid 3 minutes reading this.
Knowledge is power. You're welcome.