Don’t rush when shaving. You are responsible for your skin, and it is visible to the world. If you take the time to shave properly, it’s possible. A slow-down shave can be both relaxing and therapeutic.
We sought out the advice of Taylor Brinckerhoff (barber at Baxter of California’s barbershop Baxter Finley in West Hollywood, CA) to help us define the perfect shave. These are his top tips for getting the best, closest, smoothest, and healthiest shave from start to finish.
Make sure you are prepared
You need to take some time to perform your pre-shave ritual if you want to get a close shave without irritation or ingrown hairs. This will prepare your skin and hair for the razor, making it the most comfortable and smoothest shave possible.
Brinckerhoff says that if your hair has been grown out for more than a week, it is a good idea to cut it to a shorter length. This will reduce resistance and prevent hairs from getting stuck in the razor. Then, grab a beard trimmer to trim everything to 1 or 2 mm. You may want to leave a bit of length on your whiskers for easier tracking, but it is not essential.
The next step is to wash your hair and men’s skin care with warm water. After that, apply a skin-nourishing product. Brinckerhoff compares the pre-shave process to a hot towel treatment at a barbershop. This opens the pores and relaxes the skin. It also makes hairs more responsive to the razor blade. After a warm shower, apply a pre-shave product such as an oil or a layer of hydrating, soothing shaving cream. Imperial’s Pre-shave Oil and Beard Conditioner are our favorite pre-shave products.
If you don’t have a hot shower, you can mimic the hot towel method at home. “Roll up a terrycloth towel and run it under the water. Once it is saturated, place it in the microwave for about 15 seconds or until your preferred heat level.” Brinckerhoff says. A second coat should be applied after removing the hot towel and first [pre-shave] application.
Good razor hygiene is essential
You should first check that your razor was properly stored after each shave. Next, you can read our good razor hygiene guide, which outlines how often you should change your razors, how you air dries the razor, and how to store it between each shave. You can then put this information to good use after you have finished shaving.
You can shave like the pros
Your shaving cream can be applied over the pre-shave oils. This will act as extra protection for your skin. You can use any cream, gel, or oil for your shave. None of them is better than the others. We can recommend Baxter’s Super Close Shave Formula soap, which Brinckerhoff uses in his barbershop.
Brinckerhoff’s top tip for a smooth and close shave is to use the grain of your hair. This means that you should shave your hair in the way it bends and moves. This is not necessary for the first pass. He says that if a second pass is necessary, you can go against it with a little more ease. However, I wouldn’t say I like going against the grain when working with clients nearly every day. This tip will prevent ingrown hairs from getting under the skin. This tip will make it doubly sure that you don’t have ingrown hairs under your skin.
You can choose the type of razor that you use to shave. A majority of men will choose a cartridge razor. The GilletteLabs heated razor, which is top-shelf and self-warming, is our favorite. But Brinckerhoff recommends that his clients use safety razors at home. He cites that the heavier handle allows for better precision and that they are durable to last practically forever. The razor blades should only be used for a maximum of 2 to 3 times, as they are so cheap.