How to Shave Properly (and avoid those annoying bumps!)

How To Shave

“Recent research indicates men who shave regularly are far more likely to have sex than men who don’t. “

Every man performs this ritual; some more frequently than others.  Ever since pre-historic men first scraped a seashell across their cheeks, shaving has been a part of the male experience and been passed down from father to son.  Despite today’s high-tech razors, lots of men still get irritations and Pseudofolliculitis barbae (aka. razor bumps).  Whether it be not using the right blade, or shaving like an 8 year-old…we show you how to shave: the grown man’s way.  Oh yes, and how best to avoid those pesky Pseudofolliculitis barbae.

basic tools

Good brush:

“The biggest difference between shaving properly and the way most guys shave today is the use of a shaving brushA good badger-hair shaving brush is the single most important ingredient in getting the perfect shave. If you change no part of your shaving routine except to add a good shaving brush to the mix, you’ll be astounded at how much better and more enjoyable your shaves become.  The combination of hot water mixing with the cream and getting beaten by the brush all over your face delivers a thicker, richer, more emollient lather that’s impossible to get with your fingers alone.”

Good razor:

“I mean whatever high-quality, NON-DISPOSABLE razor you feel most comfortable with.  They’re extremely hard on your skin because the quality of the blades isn’t as good as a cartridge razor, or better yet, the kind of razor that grown men use: the classic double-edge safety razor!  A DE razor is the kind that takes a single, disposable razor blade and according to many: the classic DE wipes the floor with any modern razor.  They get much closer and more comfortable shaves, their faces don’t burn at all anymore, and all the red irritation on their necks they thought was there for good went away completely.


Now also, for black men: DE razors are the best choice.  Many of whom suffer from shave bumps, which occur when their tougher whiskers are cut too aggressively by modern multi-blade razors, causing them to grow back underneath the skin and turn into ingrown hairs.  Switching to a DE and using a shaving brush to exfoliate the skin and prep the whiskers is good for men of all races, but black men in particular find that shaving with a safety razor clears up their skin and makes shaving a pleasure again.  They can also use an electric, rotary shaver as well.  Electric shavers don’t shave as close as a blade and will lessen their chances of irritation.”

Good shave cream:

“A vitamin and Aloe Vera based shave cream will provide a close soothing shave and protect against razor rashes and burns.  Keep in mind that if your shaving cream comes in a can and costs less than a coffee at Starbucks, prepare to be astonished at what old-school European shaving cream lathers, shaves, and above all, smells like.  If you’ve never lathered up in the morning with a fine English shaving cream that smells like fresh-cut violets, limes, or lavender, then you are truly missing out on one of the great manly pleasures of all time.”

step 1

skin-care-for-men-1Exfoliate first using a facial scrub.  This will remove any dry skin on the surface of your face that could inhibit your whiskers from growing back in freely.  You can do this while in the shower and obviously before you shave.  Fill your sink with hot (not scalding) water and let your shaving brush soak in the water as it fills the sink.  Splash some more hot water on your face to keep it maximally wet.  The key to shaving is keeping your face as hydrated with hot water at all times as possible.

step 2

Remove your brush from the water, hold it upside down until wate92190r stops pouring out of it, and then you’re ready to apply the cream. If you’ve got a tub of shaving cream, swirl the wet tips of your brush around in a circular motion on the surface of the cream until you get a small amount of visible white lather. You don’t need a lot of cream, but you you don’t want too little either. After your first few shaves, you’ll begin to get a feel for how much is just right.

step 3

Now you want to paint your face up and down, up and down all over the areas of your face and neck you’ll be shaving. Keep at it for a minute or so until you’ve got a thick, opaque layer of rich lather covering the shaving area. Then set your brush handle-down on the counter and pick up your razor.

step 4

You want to shave downward on your face and neck, with the direction your hair grows.  A north-to-south stroke will get rid of most of yourSHAVEF_5L stubble without irritating your skin.  While shaving upward seems to give a closer shave, shaving in the hair’s direction reduces irritation and the likelihood of hairs growing back into the skin. Use mild pressure and slow down while making a pass with the razor. The rougher you are, the more irritation you will cause.  Also, rinse the blade often in hot water when shaving.  Many people have the habit of shaving multiple areas without rinsing the blade.  This causes hair to be stuck in the blade which eventually scratches your skin when you go to other areas of  your face.

step 5

Once you’re done shaving, rinse your face with cold water to close the pores, thoroughly rinse your shaving brush of lather and shake it dry, and store it in a cabinet on its handle, not lying down. This will let the bristles air-dry without damaging them, so your brush will last 20 years or more.

step 6

SHAVEF_9LPat, not rub, your face dry with a clean towel, and finish up with an after-shave solution that contains hydrating ingredients like aloe, witch hazel and tea tree extract to cut down on redness and discomfort.  Stay away from products that contain alcohol since this can dry skin out and provoke an ashy appearance in skin (especially black skin).


  • Reduce your number of shaves by shaving every other day. Giving the skin time to heal will allow hairs to grow straight through the skin’s surface, without forcing too-short hairs back into the skin.  Give your face the time it needs to cope.
  • Always use a sharp razor blade and discard old blades after 4-5 uses. You might think this is excessive, but dull blades force men to go over the same area of skin again and again, increasing the chances of irritation and improperly cutting hair. This goes for electric razors, too: replace the blades after every few months of use.
  • Resist the urge to simply pluck ingrown hairs out. A new hair will just grow again, and you’ll be facing the same exact problem.
  • Take your time when shaving. Everyone’s been guilty of the 30-second shave on Monday morning, but shaving slowly and with care can dramatically reduce nicks, cuts and abrasions that can aggravate razor bumps.
  • If razor bumps do form, go to the local pharmacy and seek out anti-bacterial creams containing sulfur, benzoylperoxide or triclosan. Hydrocortisone can help as well by easing inflammation.
  • Be wary of mentholated shaving products. Although the “cool” sensation feels good on the face, menthol, like alcohol, can be irritating to the skin.
  • If you end up with a few nicks your first few shaves with a DE, don’t worry, it happens to all of us.  It’s your face’s way of telling you to stop being a knucklehead. After a few shaves, you’ll figure it all out, and then you’ll wonder why you haven’t been shaving like this your whole life. This is one of those guy grooming secrets that separate the men from the boys.
  • Finally: If you want to stick with your Mach3 or other cartridge razor, that’s okay.  Just adding a shaving brush and quality cream to the mix will still give you a better shave, even if you use the same razor you were using before.  But if you shave with disposables, you really should ditch them and at least start using a cartridge razor.  They’re not that much more expensive per shave, and they’re much better for your face.

suggested products

The Art of Shaving
The Art of Shaving

A unique grooming brand passionately devoted to the best in men’s skin care.  The aromatherapy based shaving products and handcrafted accessories guarantee optimal shaving results while relieving and preventing ingrown hairs, razor burn, and sensitive skin.

Available at: Blossom Bath & Body, Delineation, Stillwater Spa @ Park Hyatt Toronto, Holt Renfrew

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