Wet shaving may have become a lost art. In the 21st century the average male has accommodated to the cheap, electronic and disposable shaving products and have no clue about the art of traditional wet shaving that their fathers and grandfathers used to experience. That isn’t to say there aren’t benefits to this old approach, but since you’re here, we can assume you’ve weighed the options The tradition of fathers passing down the secrets of the morning luxurious shave are becoming less common, but worry not - this male ritual is making a comeback!
The first mistake many men make (particularly those switching from electric to traditional) is preparation. The key to a painless wet shave is that you need to allocate time to moisture and clean your skin before starting. You should either have a bath, shower or use a hot towel in order to open up your pores and reduce the hair’s strength, the best way to do this is by using hot water.
Getting Lazy On Lathering
Making up a great lather is no easy task. The basic principle is simple, you put some shaving cream in a bowl, the right amount of water and then you begin swirling your brush in a circular motion with light to medium pressure. Bubbles mean too much water and a large volume of lather in a short amount of time also means too much water. By using a constant circular motion and not taking any shortcuts you are ensuring that you are building a good quality lather.
You could now think ‘Why not just add more water to make lathering faster?’. Well, it’s because it will create problems during your cutting passes. The lather will have large bubbles and because of its thinner texture, it will run down your face making it impossible to have a good shave, as ideally, when wet shaving you would shave at a slower pace compared to electric razors.
Trying To Paint Or Wipe The Lather Onto Your Face
After you got your perfect lather, you might now think that the only purpose of the brush is to create the lather - and not apply it. You’d try to use your hands to apply the lather but you are now noticing that it’s not evenly spread … and looks messy! That is because you should be using your shaving brush when applying the lather and not your hands.
To evenly apply the lather onto your face you should dip your brush in the lathering bowl getting a considerate amount of lather, not too excessive, and now you should make circular motions gently pushing the brush against your skin. Your goal should be to get an even lather onto your face.
Shaving Over Unlathered Skin
Many beginner wet shavers will have the tendency to repeat strokes. You missed your first stroke with the razor and did not get all the hair in one go, so now you think that you should just go over with the razor on the same area again. ‘No big deal, right?’
That’s a sure way to get a razor burn. Unfortunately this is a habit many people pick up without correcting and it goes unnoticed. You must make the conscious effort to make sure that strokes will only slightly overlap. Your aim with each shaving pass is to reduce the hair and not get rid of it all at once. The goal should be re-applying lather and repeating the process in the next pass to reduce your hair.
Too Much Pressure
This is probably one of the most common and serious mistake new wet shavers make. You might have used an electric razor before and remembered that you have to push down on it to ensure that the hair gets cut off. You’d push as hard as you can on your skin since the electric razor has a guard, and not doing so would usually result in a big nothing. However, shaving with a razor blade is the most efficient way of cutting across a flat surface. Pressing down on the razor will create a ditch in your skin which means that the razor will not be able to properly reach it. This will create an irritating and inconsistent shave which can be easily solved by using the right amount of pressure.
To know the amount of pressure that you should use when shaving, tilt your head to one side and rest the razor on your cheek. That’s the ideal pressure that you should be using on the razor when wet shaving.
Not Rinsing The Razor Enough Between Passes
When rinsing the razor, you should flick it over the water after each rinse between passes. You want to avoid having the water dripping off the razor and washing away the lather down your face.
I usually give my razor a good shake over the sink after each rinse before I begin my wet shaving process.