How long ago was it that you learned to shave? Now think about how often you’ve changed your shaving ritual. If you’re like most men, it’s not often. That means that most beardsmen are using the same or similar shaving methods to what they used twenty or thirty years ago. In all of that time, shaving has come a long way. There are a lot of new, helpful products on the market to protect the delicate skin on your face, as well as better tools to prevent damage to both your skin and your hair.
There are barbers who have been shaving beards since before many of us were born and they have wisdom to impart to help us ensure our beards and face look the best they possibly can. In this piece, we’ll relay some of that wisdom so Kingsmen all over the world can make sure they’re getting the best shave possible.
What you need to know before you shave
Shaving your beard doesn’t start when you pick up the razor. Every day in between shaves, your daily habits have an effect on how well your shave will turn out. If you’re wondering why you might get razor burn every time you shave, or your skin feels sensitive or inflamed afterward, it’s not always mistakes you’re making during the shave itself, but in your daily beard and skin care in between shaves. Let’s take a look at how each of these can affect your shave.
If you’re attempting to shave a dry, brittle beard, you might experience challenges, especially if you’re not intending on shaving the whole mane off. Dry whiskers break and become more coarse, which can make shaving more difficult. Prevent these problems by taking good care of those whiskers in between shaves. That means washing with lukewarm water as well as using a true beard wash rather than harsh bar soaps, shampoos and shower gels. It also means following up your beard wash with a beard conditioner to soften each whisker and replenish some of the nutrients lost in the washing process. Always follow a shower with beard oil applied to a damp beard and make sure you’re using a beard balm and beard butter with all-natural, clean ingredients that will nourish your beard rather than damage it. These good habits will make each shave that much more pleasant and easy.
Sometimes we forget, when we care for our beard, that there is skin under there that also needs care. If you’re a regular beard oil user already, your skin is probably already thanking you. It’s crucial, though, to ensure you’re never washing your beard with harsh soaps such as shampoo, bar soap or shower gel as it is essentially like washing your face with those products. The skin on your face is far too delicate for soaps like these. Yes, even if you’re a rugged outdoorsman with thick skin. Care for the skin on your face by washing with gentler soaps meant for your face.
Also, moisturizer is your friend. Not only will daily moisturizer make your skin visibly healthier, but you’ll slow the aging process, and prevent skin irritation and itchiness, redness, blemishes, and dandruff flakes. Soft, healthy skin is less prone to razor burn and other problems posed by shaving, so get out your men’s lotion and make sure you’re hydrating that mug.
Mistakes we make shaving our beard
Now that you know how to care for your beard and your skin in between shaves, it’s time to jump into the mistakes we might make while actually doing the deed. Here are 7 mistakes many of us make during shaving.
- Skipping skin-prep
- Skipping the lubrication
- Using the wrong shaving cream
- Using cold water
- Shaving against the grain
- Using an old blade
- Using skin-drying products afterward
#1 Skipping skin-prep
Skin prep is crucial to a good shave that doesn’t leave razor burn, knicks, or cuts. Beardsmen all over the world make the mistake of taking a blade to their mane without ensuring the right conditions. Your skin needs to be softened and lubricated to reduce friction. You do not want to shave your beard if your skin and hair are dry. In fact, the best time to shave is after a shower when the bathroom is still full of steam, which will help to keep your skin and hair softened while you get the job done.
#2 Skipping the lubrication
A dray razor hitting dry skin and hair causes friction. Too much friction can cause razor burn and leave you looking red and irritated. Of course, that’s not what any Kingsmen is trying to achieve with a fresh shave. We want to look clean, baby-soft and fresh. Lubrication is how you reduce the friction of shaving and ensure your skin is moisturized and cared for during the process of shaving. Lubrication comes in the form of shaving cream or shaving foam and will leave your skin soft and looking great post-shave.
#3 Using the wrong shaving cream
While shaving foam out of an aerosol can can be super affordable, this stuff isn’t worth even the pennies you paid for it. It lacks the moisturizing skincare ingredients you need to ensure your skin comes out of the shave looking even better than it did going into it. Look for a shaving cream that contains natural ingredients and nutrient rich oils like almond oil or shea butter. These substances will soak into your skin leaving it soft and hydrated and ready to face a shave without excessive friction. Creams are always better than aerosol foams and you really should stay away from soap as a lubricant. Soaps can dry your skin out and increase the chances of razor burn.
#4 Using cold water
Many beardsmen make the mistake of using cold water to dampen their skin before a shave. It’s important to get that mane and the skin underneath damp, but cold water is going to cause your skin to tighten, making it more rigid and causing increased friction with your blade. Warm water, on the other hand, loosens your skin up, opens your pores and softens your hair making it much easier to get through your shave without experiencing any irritation, nicks or cuts from your shave.
#5 Shaving against the grain
When you shave against the grain, your blade pulls on the hair and gets the blade much closer to the skin, but that’s not all it’s cracked up to be. A minutely closer shave may result, but you’re also increasing your risk of too much friction with the skin as well as little cuts. If you are prone to razor burn and razor bumps, try shaving with the grain instead. You’ll give your skin a break and your skin won’t come out of it irritated and inflamed.
#6 Using an old blade
With each shave, your blade becomes increasingly dull. Shaving with a dull blade means you have to apply more pressure, go over the same area multiple times to get every cut and all of that means that the blade will make more contact with the skin. More contact means more friction and more friction means a higher chance of razor burn, razor bumps as well as little cuts. It’s best practice to change your blade every 5-7 shaves to reduce your chances of experiencing razor burn and other irritation.
#7 Using skin-drying products afterwards
So many aftershaves are alcohol-based and that means they’re going to suck any moisture in your skin out into the atmosphere. Alcohol is one of the most drying substances for your skin. This can speed up the aging process and damage your whiskers. It can also leave your skin itchy, flaky and irritated. Instead of an alcohol based aftershave, try a moisturizing, cream-based aftershave to replenish moisture rather than strip it. This product will help prevent razor irritation.
Stock up on beard care and skin care products now
Whether or not a shave irritates your skin is dependent on how you treat it in between shaves. Care for your skin with regular use of beard oil and men’s lotion to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Wash with gentle beard washes and follow up with a soothing beard conditioner. Get everything you need to ensure your beard and skin are healthy and hydrated in between each shave at Kingsmen Premium. Our products are formulated with natural ingredients to provide the best in beard and skin care to beardsmen around the world. Grab a beard care kit today, for everything you need to keep your mane looking great.