Our mornings are filled with big decisions. To snooze or not to snooze? (Always snooze). Decaf or regular? (Never decaf). Oxfords or brogues? (You can check that here). But one of the most important decisions comes in front of the bathroom mirror: should you shave dry or wet?
Of course, a dry shave can be convenient — a swift whizz across your face with an electric razor can seem like a godsend if you’re running late. But, with this buzz of electric blades comes the ever-present threat of razor rash or patches missed altogether. Here at Gentleman’s Journal, we’ll always be found smoothly on the side of the wet shave. With its tradition, routine and ceremony, it may take a little more time and focus — but all the best things do.
So, to educate those who are already wet shave converts, and to sway those who aren’t, we’ve turned to selection of our most trusted grooming experts, including the director of perfumery at Floris, the good men at Murdock and the man in charge at Czech & Speake for their top tips. As with any discerning gent, their morning shaves are their rituals — and just as important a morning undertaking as that mug of rich-roast coffee. So reach for your razor, open your ears and learn why nothing beats a wet shave…
Begin by washing and exfoliating your face with warm water
Warm water and a good exfoliator will not only purge your skin of all the toxins and gunk it got plastered in the day before, but it will also soften your hairs for an easier and smoother shave. Bodenham advises doing this immediately after showering to prepare your skin perfectly for the incoming razor.
Try using a shaving soap bowl or shaving oil to prepare your skin
Once your skin is clean and yours hairs soft, it’ll pay in the long run to apply either shaving soap or shaving oil. Bodenham preferred the traditional badger brush and soap bowl in his youth, but has recently helped Floris introduce a shaving oil that will help the razor glide over your skin and cut as close to the root of each hair as possible. We suggest you try it out.
Invest in a nicely weighted razor
The right type of razor, explains Bodenham, is key to the perfect shave. A nicely-weighted one allows you to only apply a light pressure so your skin is not stressed, and it won’t leave you with razor bumps. Also, making sure your razor is sharp is pivotal to getting a close shave, as a dull blade will pull at your hairs and cause major irritation. And no-one wants that.
Let the razor glide your over skin, and never apply too much pressure
This goes hand-in-hand with having a weighted razor with a sharp blade, adds Bodenham. If you need to apply more than a light amount of pressure to your face, go back a step and spend more money on your razor. And, we know what you’re thinking; a bad workman blames his tools. But, in this hairy case, it happens to be the truth. A good razor will softly shave with the natural grain of your hair, it will stop the razor from pulling and instead cut smoothly, and closely.
Rinse your brush and razor with water — then allow it to air dry
Cleaning your razor and brush after a shave is very important, says Bodenham, as it allows you to keep everything in top condition. Begin by rinsing the brush with clean water, flicking off the excess hair and then leaving it hanging on a stand with the bristles facing down to air dry naturally. This way, it will be ready to go the next morning and will last you much longer as a result.
Rinse your face with cold water and then moisturise
After all this hot water and pore opening, it’s time to close your face back up and then keep your skin looking fresh with a cooling moisturiser. First, Bodenham recommends rinsing your face with some cold water — if anything, this should wake you up — and then apply a healthy amount of moisturiser, as your skin will dry out very quickly otherwise.
Make sure you’ve not missed any spots, return your moisturiser to the bathroom cabinet and you’re good to go. A smooth operation — in every sense of the word…
Looking for some more grooming pointers? Here’s how to find the right hairstyle for your face shape…
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