Mastering the shave

  1. Wet your DE razor and position it at about a 30° angle to your skin. Submerge your DE razor in the hot water and then position it at about a 30° angle. This angle ensures a close shave but doesn’t produce a lot of nicks and cuts.
  2. On the first pass, always shave with the grain. The direction in which the hairs of your beard grow out of your skin is called the grain. Shaving in the same direction as your hair grows — i.e. “with the grain” — chops off less beard, but is very forgiving. On your first pass, always go with the grain.
    • If you’ve never shaved before, it will take some time to get to know the direction your beard. Every man’s grain is different, and often changes depending on the hair’s position on the face.

  3. Frequently dip your razor into the bath of warm water and swirl it around. This dislodges hair and other gunk that gets caught in between the head, the blade, and the comb. Needless to say, a clogged safety razor will produce a less satisfying shave than a clean one.
  4. Shave using small strokes, letting the weight of the DE razor do most of the work. Ever notice how commercials advertising shaving products always show men shaving using long, continuous strokes? That’s not how you shave. It may look nice in commercials, but it turns you into a blood donor in real life. Use small strokes, making sure not to press down with your razor onto skin.
    • The weight of your razor should be doing most of the work. If you feel like you need to press down with your razor onto skin in order to shave, either your blades aren’t sharp enough or your razor isn’t heavy enough.

  5. Hold your skin taut to promote easier shaving. Holding your skin taut makes it easier for the razor blade to glide over your skin’s surface. Holding your upper lip down, your lower lip up, as well as the skin beneath your jawline will give you a closer shave without as many nicks.
  6. Pay special attention to problem areas. Problem areas are areas that often produce nicks, cuts, irritation and redness. For many men, these areas include the above and below the lips, beneath the jawline, or any other place on the face that is contoured instead of flat. When shaving these areas, take your time and shave against the grain. Be patient and willing to take several passes instead of trying to remove all stubble with the first pass.
  7. Wet your face, apply another thin coat of cream, and take a second pass. The aim of the first pass is to remove most of your stubble, although there will still be some noticeable patches. The aim of the second pass is to shave away any remaining stubble without causing cuts or irritation.
    • On the second pass, shave using sideways strokes or against the grain, albeit very carefully. Sideways strokes will trim the forest of your beard down to a clean sand-dune without producing much irritation.
    • On the second pass especially, remember to unclog your razor, keep your skin taut, and always lather over areas you intend to shave for extra lubrication.

  8. Repeat this general process as many times as necessary to produce a clean shave. All men have different beards and desire different shaves. Shave until you’ve achieved your desired level of closeness, keeping in mind that each extra pass you make increases your chance of producing nicks and irritation.

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