The Traditional Shave.

Step 1 Preparation

When it comes to wet – or traditional – shaving there are no hard and fast rules.  Honestly, you can cut corners and do just about anything to achieve a close shave.  However, there are some basics to make the shave both close and comfortable – so pop the kettle on and read on!

The preparation work is twofold. The skin beneath your beard needs to be protected from the razor's cutting edge. Your beard must also be softened. Soft whiskers are much easier to cut than dry whiskers are, and the razor blade will not hang up in them nearly as easily when they are properly prepared.

So, it’s time for a hot damp towel or a hot shower.

The Shower.

While you need not necessarily shower before you shave, it is arguably the easiest way to get a lot of hot water onto your face. The purpose of taking a hot shower before you shave is to moisten whiskers and make them softer. While in the shower, wash your face with soap, or better still a face wash, to remove oils and dirt from your whiskers and add to the hairs ability to absorb water (during the day your skin gets a lot of impurities, dead skin cells, oil, dirt and other types of pollutants. If you don't wash them away they could harm your shaving by clogging the pores and making your skin rougher).

Rinse well and do not towel dry your face between shower and shaving as that would be counterproductive to keeping your whiskers soft. Just let the water stay on your face and lather up.

The Hot Towel

This treatment is a very enjoyable method of preparation – you’ll feel pampered even though you’re doing it for yourself! Take a soft cotton towel and rinse it with hot water and wrap it around your face tightly. Let it stay there for several minutes (ideally 4 minute as many say it takes that long for water to properly soak into the hair to make it shave ready). A popular way to get the towel ready is to heat it in a microwave oven for about 30 seconds. Please, please be warned – many microwaves can heat a damp towel to the heat of the inside of the sun in under a minute … 30 seconds is usually more than enough but obviously check first.  Start low and gradually increase for the right temperature for you.

Now your bristles are ready for the next step – to take a pre shave oil or some lather.  We’ll cover both in a later article