Men are not meant to shave. History tells us such.
Jesus? #BeardStrong so far as we know. Abraham Lincoln? #WhiskerWise. Yosemite Sam? #FireFur.
Beards represent prestige and power. A man’s has historically been a symbol of honor, strength, sexual vigor, and even socio-economic status. But as history progressed, outlaws died off, and men traded in the farm and the battlefield for the boardroom, the svelte look of virgin skin became the standard by which men were measured. A good, clean shave still left a shadow of wisdom and virility yet offered up a more clean cut, soft-to-the-touch look. There is also undocumented proof that the argyle sweater feel of two-day old stubble is less than appealing to a woman and her…sensibilities. So if you currently find yourself in a world that requires the smart sophistication of Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano you may want to consider the old-world, masculine charm of the straight razor made most popular in the grooming salons of a cause célèbre such as Luciano.
Let’s not fool ourselves though. Straight razor shaving is an art and should probably be left to the professionals at mens salons like the famed The Boardroom Salon for Men. However, if interested, there are a few tips that will help you properly care for your face and skin before, during, and after the shave to achieve maximum results for a gentleman’s shave.
1. Prepare. No, this doesn’t mean do yoga or practice your Tai Chi or even drink a 5th of Ole Smokey Tennessee. It means you should shower before shaving. Let the steam heat open your pores and soften facial hair.
2. Pre-shave oil. Use a good pre-shave oil like this one to moisturize the shaving area. It will help in making your final product Flipper fast.
3. Shaving Cream. The right kind of shaving cream is essential. You can even go with a shaving soap so long as you work up a good lather. The cream should be a highly alkaline mix that softens the hair upon contact. It is recommended you put down and walk away from the Gillette though and instead reach for a bit of the Crown Shaving Co.
4. Stropping. Consider this the intimidating part of man shaving. It is the moment when onlookers question your skill and worry you have seen Sweeney Todd one too many times. However, it is the most important skill to master so as to maintain a sharp edge of the razor.
5. Shave. It’s time. This is where the metal meets the flesh. Pull the skin tight as you apply the straight razor to your skin and then shave with the grain of the growth. If you want to shave even closer you may consider going against the grain but doing so may cause razor burn and unsightly bumps and ingrown follicles.
6. Post-Shave. Rinse your face well with warm water. Then repeat using cold so as to close the pores. Be careful not to use an overly alcohol-based product as it will make your skin cry out in pain and anger and also dry you out.