At some point in a man’s life, they typically need to shave their whiskers. As a lad, I fondly remember watching my grandfather prepare his face to shave, while using shave soap and a badger brush. 40 years ago there was not the wide variety of shaving blades as there are today and my grandfather used a straight edge razor, but he taught me about the art of shaving.
Well fast forward 40 years today and I can honestly say that I strongly dislike shaving. As before written, I have a very difficult time with skin irritation and I am constantly fighting the battle of ingrown hairs due to shaving. In fact, I have gone through 12 laser hair removal treatments to try to eliminate facial hair, however the remaining white whiskers cannot be removed by laser. Oh well, on to plan B.
I have tried so many different types of shaving methodologies, from electric razors to multi-blade razors, and as I continue to learn the art of shaving, I recently became acquainted with The Art of Shaving. The Art of Shaving is a line of shaving creams, oils, post-shave lotions, shaving brushes and razors which was not that long ago acquired by Gillette.
I had read many reviews about The Art of Shaving products and for the past month I have almost exclusively been using The Art of Shaving products. Initially I was hesitant to switch over to a new product for fear that I might have skin irritation and not be able to combat a constant attack of ingrown hairs, but over the past 30 days, I can proudly say that alleviated my fears with The Art of Shaving.
While there are a fair number of products a shaver can choose from, I opted to buy a travel kit from The Art of Shaving. Given how much I travel, I thought a $95 investment was a great way to try The Art of Shaving without breaking the bank. My dopp kit (fancy word for travel case) came with a travel badger brush for applying the shaving cream, a pre-shave oil, shaving cream and a post-shave lotion. The travel badger brush also came with a storage container, which is very important for drying out the badger brush post-shave.
The first step of the art of shaving with The Art of Shaving, is to prepare your face for your shave. I highly recommend that you only shave either in the shower or post-shower, as the heat and warmth from the water will certainly help to make for a more comfortable shave. For me, I typically shave out of the shower, unless I am using an electric razor with a wet shave function.
After I hop out of the shower, I then apply the pre-shave oil to my face. For me and my whiskers, I only need a dime-sized amount, which I rub together on my hands and go ahead to rub on my face, upper lip and my next. While it may not seem that you have enough oil on your face, that is okay as the pre-shave oil, which is designed to be applied thinly and has certainly helped reduce razor burn and makes for a more comfortable shave.
Next I take a quarter sized amount of shave cream and place into the palm of my hand. I lightly water my badger brush and then with circular motions begin to lather up the shave cream in the palm of my hand. As you begin to lather up the badger brush, it may not seem like a lot of shave cream on the brush, but don’t worry. There is plenty. I then apply the shave cream on to my face, upper lip and neck with circular motions. The circular motions also help to partly exfoliate the skin and massage your face and whiskers. Since using the badger brush over the past 30 days, I have also noticed that my skin is clearer and my complexion less red or ruddy.
After you have applied your shave cream, do not wash your badger brush quite yet or the remaining shave cream in the palm of your hand, as you will need these for the second round of shaving? Say what? Yes, the art of shaving and The Art of Shaving are best performed when you are shaving twice: once with the “grain” of your whiskers and then twice against the grain of your whiskers.
For me, I start to shave right beneath my sideburns and with one down stroke go down my face, across my jaw line and then down my neck just below a parallel line with my Adam’s apple. I move across my face so that all that is remaining is a “Fu Manchu” of shaving cream above and below my lips. You could also think of this as a shaving cream goatee. I then quickly shave with a downstroke my upper lip and chin area.
But I’m not done with the art of shaving quite yet. I re-lather my face with my still lathered badger brush and apply another layer of shaving cream. However, for this shave I use an upstroke, going against my whisker grain starting at the line parallel to my Adam’s apple and going all the way up to my sideburns. Now I know this may seem like overkill, but for me, this really helps me to get a closer shave. Once again I am left with my goatee of shaving cream, but instead of using an upstroke on my lip and chin area (which may be painful), I use a downstroke. To finish off my shave, I splash some water on my face, towel off my face and then use a dime-sized amount of post-shave lotion to soothe my race across my face.
Now if you have paid attention, I haven’t yet talked much about the best type of razor. Well that it is hotly contested debate, as there are single blades, multi-blades and vibrating blades, in addition to electric razors. For almost most of my shaving life, I have used a multi-blade razor, but I believe now with more reading, the multi-blade razor may be contributing slightly to my increased rash of ingrown hairs. The best I can find out, the multi-blade razor will grab the whisker, slightly lift, cut the whisker, but then the hair recoils slightly underneath the skin. It wasn’t until recently that I learned that by using a single-blade shaver, while I might not get a closer shave than with a multi-blade razor, the whisker isn’t lifted and it simply cut.
As I continue to perfect the art of shaving, I’m excited about the prospect of using a single-blade razor. In fact, I was going to use on my trip to the Montage Deer Valley resort, but unfortunately you cannot take the single-blade razors through the TSA security line, so I was left without a single blade razor. Thankfully I still had my trusty multi-blade shaver with me and my face still looks great.
So here I sit with a clean-shaven face and I am smiling thinking about how my grandfather taught me the Art of Shaving. And with The Art of Shaving, I cannot stop raving.