How to Get the Smoothest Shave
There is nothing worse than stepping out of the bathroom and feeling like you didn’t shave at all. Well, there are probably lots of things worse than that. . . but still, we want to prevent it. So what can we do to get the smoothest shave possible?
Tips for Getting the Smoothest Shave
1. Don’t shave dry
Traditional wet shaving is called “wet” shaving for a reason. Water plays an important role in getting a nice, smooth shave. From the formation of your lather to the softening of the hair, you need water. Some shavers prefer shaving in the shower and bath rather than over a sink as the steam can work into your skin and stubble. If you do prefer sink shaving, think about using a warm towel/washcloth on your face, legs, or underarms before you shave.
2. Hot. . . but not too hot
You want hot water to open your pores and soften your stubble, but make sure that it isn’t too hot. . . or for too long. Too much time in the hot water could make your skin susceptible to cuts and nicks, not the smooth look you are going for.
While your shaving brush takes care of some of this, using an exfoliating scrub can also help with a smooth, irritation free shave. Shaving scrapes the top layer of skin so if you don’t exfoliate before a shave, you might find your razor quickly gets clogged with dead skin and gunk. This doesn’t lend itself to an efficient shave and can lead to redness and irritation.
4. Correct lubrication
As mentioned above, water is vital in a smooth shave. . . and so is the correct lubrication. Don’t just throw some water on your skin and go at it with a razor. A well-lathered shaving soap or cream goes a long way toward a smooth shave. Specially formulated shaving products provide the glide, protective, and moisturizing you need to leave your skin smooth and nick-free.
5. Rinse out razor between strokes
Even one stroke of the razor can quickly clog a razor with lather, tiny hairs, dead skin, and debris. Rinsing your razor frequently, even between each stroke, can go a long way to ensuring smooth, touchable skin.
6. Let the weight of the razor do the work
While this sounds simple, it isn’t always easy. If you have been trained with disposable, plastic razors, you are probably used to using way too much pressure. That can lead to irritated skin, bumps, and ingrown razors. With a double-edge safety razor or straight razor, let the sharp blade and weight of the razor do that work. Don’t add any additional pressure to your stroke. A lighter hand can lead to a smoother shave. Even if it feels counterintuitive.
7. Pay attention to hair growth
Knowing yourself is important at this step. Some people can’t get a smooth shave without passes with the grain (WTG), against the grain (ATG), across the grain (XTG). But that isn’t true for everyone. Women shavers will almost invariably shave against the grain on their legs from the first pass and never with or across, but then find they can only tolerate with the grain under their arms. Men might find that a WTG pass is the most that their sensitive neck will allow. Don’t force additional passes in the attempt to get a smooth shave. It could end up backfiring on you.
8. Replace razor blades frequently
A single, clean, sharp razor blade goes a long way toward a smooth shave. But finding the right blade can take a little bit of patience. It isn’t just any sharp blade, but the blade that works best in your razor, with your technique, and your frequency of shaving. Some people love the uber sharp Feather blades, but for others they are simply too sharp and leave them with redness, irritation, in reality NOT a smooth shave. West Coast Shaving has long offered razor blade sample packs for just this reason. “Dating” a few different razor blades can pay dividends in finding your perfect match.
9. Cool water rinse and Moisturize
Finish off your best shave with some cool water to close the pores. And then don’t forget to apply moisturizer. This is the perfect time for your skin to soak in that hydrating goodness. Lotions, balms, & aftershave splashes are all good choices at this stage of the shaving game.
What do you do to get the smoothest shave? Any tips that you can share with your fellow wet shavers? Let us know in the comments below.