How would you like to get an enjoyable shave, and maybe even save a quid or two? You can do it by treating shaving as a skill, like riding a bike or playing a musical instrument. Like any skill, shaving requires some knowledge, the right kind of equipment, and a little practice. Let me show you what I mean with this overview, then we’ll get more into more detail later.
Most people consider shaving as the act of removing hair. I’d like you think of it not as removing hair, but as reducing hair. Decide what you want your look to be, whether its some trendy stubble or smooth as glass, then spend the time to reduce the hair correctly.
Before you do anything, you need to prepare the area to be shaved. That means cleaning it with a gentle soap and lots of warm water. Be sure to rinse well then apply your lather.
Generally speaking, you should always first shave–gently–in the direction your hair grows in. If you don’t know the direction, let the hair grow out for a few days then look at yourself critically in a mirror. The odds are there may be a few twists and turns. This part of the shave won’t be particularly close, but it should get the bulk of the hair in a comfortable manner. If you want to get closer shave, relather and shave across the grain. Closer still? Relather and shave across the grain from the opposite direction. Really close? Relather and then shave against the grain, but be careful, if you have curly hair you might not be able to do this without getting ingrown hairs.
There are a lot of shaving products. Just look at your local grocery or chemist and you will see rows of razors and shaving creams and specialty stores often offer higher-priced shaving items. But don’t automatically think that the latest, most expensive products are the best for you. In fact there are some excellent, inexpensive products that are often overlooked simply because they’ve been around for a long time and may not be well publicized. Take some time to search out and try a variety of products to find what works for you. We’ll be discussing the software and hardware of shaving a lot more in the future, but for now a general idea to go by is to select a shave cream or gel that doesn’t come out of a pressurized can and a razor with as few blades as necessary to get the job done. And be sure to read ape to gentleman for the latest product news and reviews.
I know, I know…shaving isn’t rocket science but to do it right you may need to slow down and really think about it for a while. Devote some extra some time to shaving, even if its just a couple minutes, and take gentle, short strokes of maybe an inch every half-second or so. Think about what you’re doing and try to become more aware of things like the scent of the lather and the pressure of the razor on your skin. You might be suprised how your shave improves just by being more aware of your surroundings. So stick around. Who knows, shaving might become a pleasant activity instead of a painful chore.