A Close Shave
By Gary Singh
The clean shave is still an unrivalled look for when you are attending interviews or of course on your wedding day. As Mo-vember fast approaches, this could be your last opportunity to look like a gentleman for a day before you attempt to grow some new whiskers.
The grooming team here at Entouraaj have dug deep to reveal, what we believe, to be the defining rules when it comes to the ultimate shave to keep you looking sharp for any occasion.
Weapon of choice
Razor and blade – You need a good razor with a sharp blade. Most of the comfort and smoothness of the shave will be down to the blade that you use. Obviously different blades respond better to different people and multi-blade razors are the more popular option, but you can still have a great shave with a disposable razor.
Shaving brush – This is available in badger hair, boar hair, horsehair and synthetic hair. Badger hair is undoubtedly the best for soaking up water and will give you the best lather, but at a cost.
Shaving lubricant – The lather is produced from shaving cream or a shaving soap depending on your preference, but they are both far more effective than shaving foam. We prefer the full lather created from shaving soap as it is heavy and water-based which means it warms and softens your hair as it works.
Shower – If you have the option to, shave after or during a shower. Your hair will be soft and your pores open. Alternatively, wrap a flannel (which has been soaked in hot water) around your face and leave for a few minutes as this will have a similar effect. This is also a better option for those with facial hair to shave around.
Exfoliate – In addition to smoothing and renewing your complexion, it will help raise stubs for a closer shave. Face scrub also removes dead cells and impurities that can cause infection and ingrown hairs.
Lather – Leave the shaving cream or soap on your face for a minute before shaving and spend a little time working this into your stubble. The defining characteristic of a good lather is that it is dense and heavy and this will allow the razor to glide easily over your skin. Bubbles created from the lather should not be too large as this would imply too much water has been added.
Grain – Before you start applying razor to stubble, it’s important to know the direction in which the stubble grows. This is the grain of your beard. You will need to shave in the same direction as the beard grows (with the grain) in short strokes of no more than an inch or two. Remember to wet your razor in hot water at regular intervals. Aim to shave in two steps. First, shave with the grain applying very light pressure. Second, reapply the lather and shave across, or ideally, against the grain for super-smooth results.
Pressure – Pressure applied must be light; let the razor and the blade do all the work otherwise this could cause you to cut yourself and you may suffer from razor burn. As described above, you can obtain a closer shave with more passes, not more pressure. If you can feel the razor rubbing against your face, try using an alternative shaving lubricant.
After shaving, it is a good idea to rinse your face with warm water followed by cold water to cleanse the skin and to close the pores. Barbers favour using a styptic pencil for sealing cuts, and so do we, to using toilet paper. A shaving balm will help soothe your skin, balance its moisture content and replace the natural oils lost during shaving.
It is important to remember that shaving requires experimentation. Skin type is unique to each individual so we recommended trying different razors, blades, creams and techniques to find what works best for you.