So you are new to shaving.
Just guts and initiative.
You picked up the razor, glide it down…and…
Ouch! A cut!
Enough of the blame. No time for regrets.
Take this chance to discover the common mistakes that new wet shavers and how to fix them.
A flawless shaving experience requires diligence. To end things right, you have to do it right from the start.
You mess up from the beginning, and you will definitely screw up in the end.
That is why a carefully done preparation is necessary.
This is the first step and should be done before anything else.
Making a good prep is so easy and yet a lot of guys do not put time into it. Maybe perhaps, they are on a time crunch, or just too lazy, or maybe they don’t see the value at all.
If you are one of these guys, listen up, and find out why!
Human facial hair is a pretty strong body tissue, so there is a need to fully hydrate, soften up and make your whiskers more flexible and less rigid by washing your face and neck, or even do a full body bath (if you prefer it) with warm water for at least 5 minutes.
Warm water also opens up skin pores which increase sweat and skin oil production thus providing good natural lubrication, which is very important in preventing friction, nicks, and cuts.
Going back, after doing your warm wash or bath, you also have the option of using a gentle facial soap, or a facial cleansing scrub in order to remove dirt particles without drying the skin.
Commercially sold body soaps are not recommended because of its stronger chemical content that takes away natural oil causing skin dryness and scaling.
Using a pre-shave oil is also a good idea for added lubrication and smoothness.
Wet Shaving Mistake #2: Not Applying Lather Before Shaving
Shaving over the un-lathered skin is a big red flag because you are putting yourself at risk for nicks and cuts.
A rough and rigid stubble requires more effort and extra strokes to clear out because of friction and resistance.
That is why a meticulously done lather is so important because it provides smooth lubrication for the blade to glide along easily.
It also forms a protective cushion between the razor and the skin.
So the question now is, how can I make the best lather?
You see, there are many methods. But the most common of these are the Dry method and the Wet method.
But first, you need to choose a good shaving brush before starting anything.
You can choose from the following:
- Badger brush
- Boar brush
- Synthetic brush
Of these, the Badger brush is the most preferred because it retains more moisture and absorbs more water than the other two.
The Dry Method
With your brush, wet the bristles with hot or warm water for 2-3 minutes. This is to absorb moisture and soften up the bristles.
Then hold the brush with the bristles facing down and gently squeeze out any excess water. The bristles should be damp, not soaking wet.
Next is, dribble a few drops of water into the shaving soap tub and then coat the damp bristle with shaving soap on a circular motion until the lather becomes thick, dense and heavy.
Now, wet your whiskers with warm water and apply the lather directly.
If the thickness is too much for you, simply sprinkle a little water into the bristles and brush it again into the skin until the lather appears glossier and feels smoother.
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The Wet Method
The same method but this time the bristles should be almost soaking wet and you need to sprinkle more water into the shaving soap tub as well.
And then, fill the wet bristles with shaving soap in a swirling motion until the lather looks frothy and bubbly.
You can also turn the shaving soap tub upside down to allow the mixture to settle deep into the bristles. Turn it up back, once enough lather covers the entire bristles.
This can be messy, so be mindful of any excess lather spilling over.
Now that our lather is all done and ready, how do we apply lather into our whiskers?
Either doing a “Figure of 8” stroke pattern or a swirling circular pattern, you can begin from one side of the face starting from the sideburn and move gradually across the cheek and down to the chin.
Move down to the neck on the same side until the middle jaw and middle neck is completely covered.
Do the same thing with the other side.
For the septum and lips, do a horizontal, back and forth stroke until entirely daubed.
Take note though that this is not an absolute rule. You can come up with your own style that works comfortably for you.
If you have a shaving bowl, you can drop a decent amount of shaving cream and then swirl it with your brush, sprinkle with water as needed, until a good lather is formed.
Another technique is by directly applying glycerine-based shaving soap into the bristles in a circular motion and then coat the same brush with a shaving cream, and swirl up the mixture inside a shaving bowl.
Wet Shaving Mistake #3: Positioning The Blade At A Wrong Angle
A blade that’s out of place is a safety issue that should be corrected immediately.
Many people injure themselves because the angle is too steep.
If the angle is too shallow, it won’t cut anything.
So what is the correct angle then?
It’s at 30 degrees.
Though some experienced shavers opened between 35-45 degrees.
But 30 degrees is what most people agree on.
However, finding the 30-degree angle is challenging when using a DE (Double Edge) safety razor especially with first timers.
Unlike cartridge razors which automatically pivot and adjust easily to the contour of the face, a DE safety razor has a fixed head.
One trick is to place the safety razor’s head perpendicular to the skin at 90 degrees, and then gently and slowly roll it down to 30 degrees until you feel the hair is sleekly and smoothly cut in one continuous glide.
Remember though to taut the skin when needed to even out the skin’s surface.
Do not pivot the wrist, keep it locked to maintain proper orientation at all times.
Wet Shaving Mistake #4: Excessive Pressure With Multiple Passes
A lot of guys are guilty of these habits.
They think that applying more pressure and strokes than needed will get the job done without any consequences to their skin.
Yes, they do help, but you are putting yourself at risk for injuries.
Don’t think of yourself as having a tough hide or a strong leather, human skin is very vulnerable to nicks and cuts.
People make the mistake of over stroking and putting a lot of pressure over one area in order to achieve the same result or even close to it, especially when using a dull or blunt razor.
You see, these are very dangerous especially when shaving with a cut throat or straight razor.
Overcome these bad habits and change your blades as needed to avoid cutting yourself.
So what now is the right amount of pressure and how often do we need to stroke?
Those are good questions!
Just remember that you only need to barely hold the razor against the skin and let the weight, especially with Double Edge (DE) safety razors, to glide along the surface while your hand does all the support.
As for the stroke, just keep in mind not to repeat stroking over the same area more than twice.
Do not overlap and always apply light and short strokes about an inch in length.
One good rule of thumb to remember is, once the lather has been shaved off, proceed to the next lathered area, don’t go back to the un-lathered area anymore.
When you need to go for another pass, reapply a new lather before reshaving again.
Wet Shaving Mistake #5: Not Shaving With The Grain on The First Pass
Grain is a slang for the natural growth direction of your hair.
To find out where your grain is, simply stroke the hair with your finger in one direction and then to the other, and feel for yourself which one has the smoother touch.
The opposite direction is called “against the grain” which is rougher, coarse, has a noticeable drag or resistance and has a stronger grating sound.
Between the two, shaving with the grain is the most preferred because cutting is smoother and more spontaneous because of lesser resistance and lesser surface tension.
However, for close shaving, many prefer going “against the grain”, because this method chops the hair off close to the hair root, giving a clean, flawless cut and a baby skin shiny gloss.
The major setbacks though are skin irritation, razor burns, ingrown hair, as well as nicks and cuts.
To protect yourself when doing “against the grain”, you should first shave with the grain during the first pass. For the second pass, do the “across the grain” or horizontal/diagonal shaving.
For the third pass, you can now shave against the grain.
Another commonly used method is by simply skipping “across the grain” altogether, and proceed immediately with “against the grain” as the second and final pass.
Always remember to lather up extensively before starting each and every pass and rinse the skin with warm water after each shave.
Plus, do not forget to rinse your razor as often to remove any hair and froth build up.
Wet Shaving Mistakes – Final Words
As you can see, wet shaving is so easy.
With the right skill and caution, it does not have to be a disaster waiting to happen.
By putting these common blunders to mind and avoiding them, coupled with practice and diligence, expect nothing, but more flawless shaves to come along your way.
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