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What is a Pre-Shave Routine & Why Do It-West Coast Shaving

What is a Pre-Shave Routine & Why Do It

If you are caught in the dreaded daily-chore-disposable-razor-shave cycle then you probably haven’t heard or thought much about a pre-shave routine. Let’s change that! Classic, wet shaving is about slowing down, doing things right, and getting the best results possible. All of those are also reasons why you should develop a pre-shave routine.

At minimum, a pre-shave routine should include preparing the necessary equipment, but there is so much more to consider.

Let’s tackle the “why” before the “how”, shall we?

Why begin a Pre-Shave Routine

man with blue towel looking in mirror
  • Sets the tone
  • Establishing the steps you take before you begin your shave can create the right atmosphere for a comfortable, enjoyable shave. Yes, shaving can be enjoyable! 


    Setting up your equipment helps you smooth the way for smoother skin. You can check that you have everything at your fingertips instead of flinging lather around trying to find something. Creating a pre-shave routine ensures that you don’t miss a step. And finally, giving it the time it deserves allows you to slow down and have a bit of “me-time”.


  • Prepares the skin
  • It also sets the tone for your skin. A proper pre-shave routine gives your skin the best chance for a smooth, nick-free, irritation-free experience with the blade.


    Taking the steps to cleanse, soften, and moisturize your skin before the blade helps to pay dividends after the shave.


  • Enhances the result
  • By prepping your skin appropriately, you can make your shave more efficient, your post-shave more pleasant, and your experience more satisfying. 


    Both the shave itself and your experience of it can be better when you spend a little more time in preparation. 



    How to set up a Pre-Shave Routine

    Although there are about as many ways to do a pre-shave routine as there are shavers to execute them, here is a typical shave routine that you can hone for your best results.

    • Step One: Set out your items 

    In cooking, this is called mise en place. Everything is in its place: tools are gathered, ingredients are prepped, etc. Things go more smoothly and with fewer mistakes when you are ready. So grab your favorite brush, bowl, shaving soap/cream, razor before you get started. Run the water so it is hot/warm. Find your towel. Open your containers. Change your blade if necessary.Set out your pre-shave and after-shave as well. Be ready to shave. 


  • Step Two: Cleanse your face
  • If you haven’t already taken a shower and cleansed your face, make sure that you do that now. Before you shave, use a mild cleanser that doesn’t dry your skin. Having a clean face can go a long way toward preventing those microscopic nicks and cuts from getting infected and causing irritation. 


  • Step Three: Use a hot towel to increase blood flow to your skin
  • If you’ve ever had the opportunity to get a barbershop shave, then you know the pleasure of a hot towel. You can do the same thing at home. Create a warm towel by running a face towel under warm water and wringing out well. Then apply it to the skin you want to shave. While we talk about this opening your pores, this isn’t exactly accurate (as pores don’t change size); however, it does increase blood flow to your skin, softens the hair to make it easier to shave, and clears the pores of dirt, dead skin cells, and sebum debris. 


  • Step Four: Apply shaving oil or other pre-shave conditioner
  • Now that you have warm, cleansed skin, it is time to apply a pre-shave oil or conditioner. This oil will work to further soften the hair and skin so your razor is more effective and less abrasive to your skin. It will help to lift the hair as well, making it easier for the blade to cut close to the shaft.

    Most pre-shave oils will contain ingredients that nourish and hydrate like vitamin E (as well as B and C), castor oil, sunflower oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, almond oil, among others. It should create a layer on your skin that will provide additional protection. 


  • Step Five: Lather while the pre-shave sits on your skin
  • Allow the pre-shave to sit on your skin as you prepare your lather and get ready to shave. This will let the pre-shave do its work of softening the hair and loving your skin. Now you are ready for the main event. A good brush and lather will further raise the hair and protect the skin from the blade.



    Embrace a pre-shave routine and enjoy the results! Check out our pre-shave products to help you prep your skin and hair for an enjoyable shaving experience.
    Next article WCS Tortoiseshell Collection Pure Badger Shaving Brush Review

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