We call it. Grown men still dragging dull razors across their faces need to stop. This is no longer enough.
A modern man must pay attention to detail when it comes to shaving to ensure the desired end result.
The first step? Choose the cut that suits you: Clean shaven, stubble or full beard. If you’re not sure at first, try all three over a period of time and stick with the look that gets you the most stares and compliments.
Most men today perceive shaving as an easy and hassle-free task, so it’s our job to make sure that’s the case with the help of Renee Baltov from one of the best hair salons for sydney men, barber. Here are the five shaving tips you’ll need in life to get the job done right.
Long before you go looking for the best tools of the trade, you must first understand the condition of your facial skin. This part is imperative and it is also what professional barbers do as part of their regular service. The great thing is that this control can easily be replicated at home yourself. Don’t rush because it can do real damage to your face if you start shaving without checking.
Renée Baltov says men should look at certain things in particular:
- Be aware of blemishes or moles on your face
- Make sure you don’t have any overgrown hairs,
- Open or healing cuts or scars
“If you pass them the wrong way, you’re going to cut yourself,” says Baltov.
The next part which is equally important for men is the application of pre-shave oil which helps soften strong beard or stubble hairs. Apply and leave it on your face for a minute before rinsing off with lukewarm water.
“Men can get different quality pre-shave oils,” Baltov adds. “They range from cheap (AU$18) to expensive ($89), with the more expensive having the added benefit of ingredients that help sensitive skin and leave a distinct scent.
As you head into shaving, apply a hot towel to your face, as this will open the pores in your skin, making your hair softer to shave. Baltov says that the professionals at the store also follow this proven method.
Tools of the trade
There are three types of razors that men can choose from these days. The classic straight razor used by traditional barbers, the double-edged safety razor, and the new generation razors that have more blades than you can prick a follicle. The general rule is to choose the one that suits you best and that, afterwards, will not cause bloodshed.
Besides the aforementioned pre-shave oil, also get yourself a decent badger brush and shaving cup. These two will be used to mix the hot water with the shaving cream. Also have some liquid Nick Sticks on hand that can be applied to any cuts after you’ve finished shaving.
For more details, see our guide to wet shaving products.
The final cut
You’re a man now, so stop using your fingers to apply shaving cream. Take the shaving brush and let it sit in the shaving cup with hot water. As you remove the hot towel, your pores should have opened up, allowing you to shave closer. Mix the shaving cream into the warm water mixture with the badger brush and stir gently.
When applying shaving cream, use a light circular motion to lather onto the skin. This will soften it further and help penetrate deep into the crevices of the beard where you need it most.
Against or with the grain?
Is the most asked question by bearded men around the world against the tide or with it?
“If someone has very sensitive skin, I would suggest going with the grain once,” Baltov says.
“For those with less sensitive skin, go against the grain once and then with the grain a second time.”
Since shaving practices are unique to every man, if you’re short on time, go against the grain for a faster cut.
Finish with care
The deed is done and your beard is now blooming in all its hairy glory. And then… the itch. One of the most complained about beard or even longer stubble problem is the oncoming itch which is between the stubble and beard stage. Scratch it enough and you could end up with a nasty red rash and dry skin.
How to minimize irritation during this phase?
“Basic things like keeping the face clean with good moisturizer or cleanser,” says Baltov.
“Use beard conditioners which can also soften the skin. Australian brands are good, but read the label to see if you are allergic to any of the products they contain.
Baltov also recommends men try something called an alum block after shaving. It’s a traditional kit that looks like a big block of opaque soap. It stings a bit, but it’s natural and will get rid of all bacteria and infections.
“You need to close your pores first by splashing cold water on your face before putting on the alum block,” Baltov says.
For those who don’t like the sting, a good alternative is a typical skincare or aftershave. This is crucial as you have opened up your pores after a shave, so the last thing you want is a infection or ingrown hairs to ensue. The above Nick Stick is also good for covering wounds and killing bacteria.
Understand your face
Shaping your beard or stubble is as important as the haircut itself. It can really make a difference to your face if you get the look right. For those who don’t? Well, let’s just say you might be missing some chin definition. To counter this, youUnderstand your facial features, then shape the beard or mustache accordingly.
This goes for checking if your sideburns are regular, the neckline and the corners of your lips which can often be missed.
What about uneven beards?
Experts say there’s really no way to prevent this since hair grows in different directions and places, but there are tricks to make it less noticeable.
“If it was really uneven, shave clean,” Baltov says. “But if you can make thatch, keep it clean and trimmed. This will hide the unevenness and make it less visible.
In other words, any type of consistent stubble is cool, but if you can only grow three hairs on your chin, you better shave it off.
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