The expert barbers over at Truefitt & Hill certainly know their way around some of the nation’s most important barnets. The host of significant heads that have been primped, trimmed and tapered over the years in their St. James barbershop have even earned them a Royal warrant — so it’s safe to say that they know a thing or two about world-class grooming.
With this in mind, we’ve called on their master barber David Olds to give us his expert rundown on how to master (and maintain) that elusive Holy Grail of grooming: the perfect stubble. From the pre-shave ritual, to the moisturising aftercare, read on for David’s surefire, step-by-step guide to crafting Royal-standard facial hair.
Step one: prepare your skin
“To prep your skin, apply a hot shaving towel, or start after you’ve had a hot shower,” recommends David. “This will ensure your hair is softer, allowing the blade to glide with it. It is imperative that you use a decent trimmer, with a good blade to cut your hair.”
As we know, when it comes to grooming maintenance, a workman really can blame bad tools when things don’t run smoothly. David’s preferred gadget for the purpose? The Wahl Super Taper.
Step two: start trimming
According to David, perfect stubble should measure approximately 4.5mm long on the cheek and 3mm on the moustache and chin areas. “The difference in lengths is because the cheek area has less hair, so to get a balanced finish and look visually even, we trim the hair to these two different lengths,” he explains.
“To get a nice clean edge, you want to start the cheek definition line 45 degrees under the cheekbone – the line should sit on the cheeks. On the neck you should shave a semi-circle to the sides from just above the Adam’s Apple.”
Step three: sharpen the edges
“Once you’ve completed the trim, it’s essential to use a shave gel — I always use Truefitt & Hill’s No 10 Sensitive Shave Gel — to sharpen the edges. This is a clear gel, so you can see the areas you are going to shave,” says David.
“Wet your hands with warm water and massage the cheek and neck areas with the shave gel. Then use your Truefitt & Hill razor to sharpen the edges of the stubble.”
Step four: soothe your skin
Post-trim, you’ll want to apply a hydrating, soothing moisturiser to keep dry skin at bay. Do not exfoliate immediately after shaving, as your skin will be more sensitive than it typically is (as anyone who has slapped on a healthy dose of alcoholic aftershave will attest).
Instead, David recommends that you finish your stubble by using the Truefitt & Hill Sandalwood Aftershave Balm which will help hydrate your hair and skin. He explains, “it contains Salicylic Acid to aid your skin’s renewal and Lanolin — which isn’t greasy, but will help to seal and lock in the moisture.”
Truefitt & Hill Sandalwood Aftershave Balm
Triumph & Disaster Gameface Moisturiser
Looking for more grooming content? Take a look at the winners of our 2019 Grooming Awards…