Five Ways to Better Your Shave

Posted by Guest Writer Series on

Recently a friend of mine was over and made a comment about how old fashioned I was for using a shave brush that he had just spied drying on the bathroom counter. I tried to explain what made shaving enjoyable for me, but I did a poor job since I was put on the spot. After thinking it over for a few weeks, I came to realize I’ve adopted a few things lately that have bettered my experience. I’d implore any shaver to consider these tips and see if it takes your shave to the next level too.

Five Ways to Better Your Shave

  1. Focused Environment: When I shave, I get into the activity by turning my basement bathroom into the ‘shave cave’. All items not related to shaving are removed; the hand soaps, toothbrushes, and candles whose home is the vanity countertop normally, are temporarily placed inside a drawer. Next is the room temperature, adjusted with the cell phone app that controls my HVAC and the toggle on the air vent that hits my back as I shave. I’ve occasionally left the exhaust fan off when I shower before a shave, all to generate the sauna-steam experience and some warmth. Next I choose the perfect pandora station to fit my mood and crank it up to be fully immersed. Finally, I inform my wife that I’m shaving, which gives me a solid 30 minutes without interruption to really enjoy all these subtle adjustments.
  2. Hotter Water: It took me a long time to realize that one element of my shave that was missing was the ability to really duplicate the hot towel process that barbers provide. I turned my water heater dial up two clicks this winter, and it’s made a world of difference with my pre-shave shower, the hot towel, the lather warmth, and rinsing. If your water isn’t so hot that you have to mix in a little bit of cold water to be able to touch it, I’d bet you would benefit from dialing up your water heater a notch too.
  3. Quality Soap: Like most, when transitioning from a cartridge shave to a traditional shave I continued to use the same shaving cream I had already been using. Then I tried a quality soap and my eyes were opened. The niche industry of artisan soaps has a great desire to continue improving their formulations and also provide systems of soap with aftershave made of the similar ingredients and matching fragrances. Like most things, buying on the quality side will generally make for a more enjoyable experience, and the same is true in the soap world. Many resources are available to help you find your ideal brand or product match, including scores of reviews on YouTube, as well as advice from The Razor Company.
  4. Enjoy the Process: The steps of shaving are different for everyone, as our specific razors/brushes dictate the way we operate, and we follow a regiment that was taught to us by our parent or YouTube. There are times I simply go through the motions of setting up, prepping, shaving, and cleaning up, without even noticing all the small actions. Those actions in the shaving process that take a large level of finesse and knowledge, which you likely learned through trial and error. I speed through these steps likely due to my focus being on the feel and scents of the shave. However, I find that if I take a quick 10 seconds between face prep and shaving, I get a sense of achievement which adds to the experience.
  5. Experimentation: The world of traditional shaving has thousands of variations of every item you can use during a shave, whether it be equipment or a consumable. It’s easy for me to fall down the rabbit hole on any one item and quickly collect many different versions of it. I think that’s a part of this hobby that many people overlook; with a simple tweak in my process or a new soap or brush to try, I quickly renew the excitement or change the entire focus of the day’s shave. There’s also the option of going back in time and using vintage gear, which adds a fun element if you’re nostalgic like me.

Shaving is likely something you already find enjoyable if you’re reading this, but if you’re looking to add to it or make sure it doesn’t become a chore for you, give one or more of these things a try and maybe you’ll make your next shave better.

 

Tim C.


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