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13 Days to a better shave: Understanding the basics and improving your technique.

13 Days to a better shave: Understanding the basics and improving your technique.

Jason Riegle |

Here is a simple 13 day guide to help anyone master the art of traditional wet-shaving.

Day 1: Understanding the Basics and Gathering Equipment

  1. Research the benefits of traditional wet-shaving and how it differs from modern methods.
  2. Purchase necessary equipment: safety razor, shaving brush, shaving soap/cream, aftershave, pre-shave oil, and a shaving bowl.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the different types of razors and blades, and choose one suitable for beginners.
  4. Watch a few tutorial videos on traditional wet-shaving techniques.

Day 2: Preparing Your Face and Lathering

  1. Learn about the importance of pre-shave preparation.
  2. Practice applying pre-shave oil to soften hair and protect your skin.
  3. Learn how to create a rich lather using your shaving brush and soap/cream.
  4. Experiment with lathering techniques until you can consistently create a thick, even lather.

Day 3: First Shave

  1. Follow a step-by-step guide or tutorial video for your first traditional wet shave.
  2. Focus on maintaining a proper razor angle (approximately 30 degrees) and using short, gentle strokes.
  3. Remember to shave with the grain of your hair to minimize irritation.
  4. Rinse your face with cold water and apply aftershave.

Day 4: Analyze and Improve

  1. Assess your first shave, noting any areas of irritation or missed hairs.
  2. Review your technique to identify any mistakes or areas for improvement.
  3. Watch more advanced tutorial videos to refine your technique.
  4. Experiment with different razor blades to find the best fit for your skin type and hair.

Day 5: Second Shave and Beyond

  1. Apply the lessons learned from your first shave and continue to practice.
  2. Focus on perfecting your lather, razor angle, and stroke technique.
  3. Start incorporating additional passes across the grain and, eventually, against the grain for a closer shave.
  4. Pay close attention to your skin's response and adjust your technique accordingly.

Day 6: Troubleshooting and Addressing Common Issues

  1. Research solutions for common wet-shaving issues like razor burn, ingrown hairs, and nicks.
  2. Experiment with different pre-shave and aftershave products to find what works best for your skin.
  3. Continue refining your technique, focusing on areas where you've experienced problems in the past.
  4. Consider joining wet-shaving forums or communities for additional support and guidance.

Day 7: Building a Routine and Continued Improvement

  1. Establish a regular shaving routine that works for your schedule and skin type.
  2. Continue to experiment with different products and techniques to find your ideal combination.
  3. Share your experiences and learn from others in the wet-shaving community.
  4. Remember that mastering traditional wet-shaving takes time and practice, so be patient and enjoy the process.
Day 8: Honing Your Technique
  1. Watch more advanced wet-shaving tutorial videos and read articles to improve your knowledge and skill.
  2. Experiment with different razor handle lengths and weights to find your ideal balance and control.
  3. Learn how to properly maintain your equipment (e.g., cleaning your razor and brush) to prolong their lifespan and ensure a smooth shave.
  4. Focus on building muscle memory through consistent practice.

Day 9: Mapping Your Facial Hair Growth

  1. Study the growth patterns of your facial hair to optimize your shaving approach.
  2. Create a "grain map" of your face to guide your shaving passes (with the grain, across the grain, against the grain).
  3. Adjust your shaving routine to address any unique challenges posed by your facial hair growth pattern, such as swirls or uneven growth.
  4. Share your grain map with the wet-shaving community for additional insights and advice.

Day 10: Mastering the Art of the Alum Block and Styptic Pencil

  1. Learn about the benefits of using an alum block and styptic pencil in your wet-shaving routine.
  2. Research proper techniques for using an alum block to soothe irritation and tighten the skin.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the correct way to use a styptic pencil to stop bleeding from small nicks and cuts.
  4. Incorporate these tools into your routine as needed to enhance your overall shaving experience.

Day 11: Experimenting with Different Soaps and Creams

  1. Explore the variety of shaving soaps and creams available, noting differences in ingredients, scents, and performance.
  2. Sample a few different products to determine which best suits your skin type and preferences.
  3. Learn how to properly load your brush and lather different types of soaps and creams.
  4. Share your experiences and reviews with the wet-shaving community for further recommendations.

Day 12: Perfecting Your Pre-Shave and Post-Shave Routine

  1. Experiment with different pre-shave oils, scrubs, and facial cleansers to enhance your shaving experience.
  2. Research the benefits of various post-shave products, such as balms, splashes, and moisturizers.
  3. Tailor your pre-shave and post-shave routine to address your specific skin needs and concerns.
  4. Continuously adjust your routine as needed to maintain optimal skin health and comfort.

Day 13: Exploring Advanced Wet-Shaving Techniques

  1. Learn about advanced wet-shaving techniques, such as the "J-hook" and "Gillette slide."
  2. Incorporate these advanced techniques into your routine as you become more comfortable and confident with your skills.
  3. Consider trying other types of razors, such as straight razors or shavettes, to further expand your wet-shaving knowledge and expertise.
  4. Engage with the wet-shaving community to exchange tips, tricks, and advice as you continue to refine your skills.

Remember that practice makes perfect, and consistent effort is key to mastering traditional wet-shaving. By continually seeking to improve your technique, experimenting with different products, and engaging with the wet-shaving community, you'll be well on your way to achieving a flawless shave every time.

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