It’s one of those mornings…
You forgot to set your alarm the night before. Now you’re running 45 minutes behind. There’s no time for a shower, so you throw on some clothes (which end up being a sweater vest to hide your wrinkled shirt underneath and a mismatched pair of socks…)
There’s no time to shave, but you have to shave, especially since you didn’t shower.
Normally your shaving routine involves rinsing your razor thoroughly, using warm water, shaving cream to work up a nice lather, and shaving with extreme precision.
But not today…
So you—gasp!—dry shave.
Less than 10 minutes later, you are off to work. As you stare at yourself in your vehicle’s rearview mirror, you assess the damage: Your skin is red, irritated, bumpy, and full of nicks and cuts.
Are you going to work or did you just come from a train wreck?
It’s going to be a long day…
We’ve all had far too many mornings begin like this… In this article, we will outline why shaving preparation is so important, and some things you can do the evening or the day before to make your morning shave that much easier.
What Proper Shaving Preparation Looks Like
Shaving preparation ensures you will get a smooth and enjoyable shave, and in fewer passes. This is because stiffer hair is more difficult to shave. It is important for skin and hair to be fully hydrated before attempting to shave. Fully hydrated hair and skin also allow the blade to glide between the hair cuticles and easily cut off hair, for a smoother and easier shave.
How to Maximize Skin and Hair Hydration
Ensuring that your skin and hair are fully hydrated is really the first crucial step in shaving preparation. Here are some steps to follow to ensure that you reach maximum skin and hair hydration:
Step 1: Use Warm Water. Warm water helps open and swell hair cuticles and it also opens pores of your skin, ensuring that your hair and skin are well hydrated and prepped for shaving.
Step 2: Use a Shaving Soap or Shaving Cream. Next, using a chemical, such as a shaving soap or shaving cream (whichever you prefer), can also help hydrate hair and skin. Shaving soaps and shaving creams have chemicals and additives that can also help further swell the cuticles and allow water in for maximum hydration.
Step 3: Exfoliate. Depending on your shaving preferences, you can also use this opportunity to scrub your skin. Scrubbing is a form of exfoliating, which can help remove dirt, debris, and dead skin cells prior to shaving. This step can also help prevent post-shave breakouts.
Once you have finished exfoliating and rinsing your skin, place a warm face cloth to your skin and beard and hold it there for approximately 30 seconds. You may want to hold the face cloth to your skin and beard longer if you have thicker hair.
Step 4: Use a Shave Oil. Again, depending on your shaving preferences, you may want to consider using a shave oil. It might seem counterintuitive to apply an oil to your face right after exfoliating, but the truth is that a shave oil can add another layer of lubrication and hydration, allowing the razor to glide easily for a smooth shave.
Lather Up and Shave
Once you have completed steps 1 through 4 above, now it’s time to lather up and shave. If you were diligent about your shaving prep, then you will likely find that working up a lather and shaving is much easier. You are likely to shave in only two passes rather than three or four.
Finally, regardless of how diligent you are about proper shaving prep, nicks and cuts are always a risk. Your risks for getting cuts are significantly less, but accidents can still happen. Therefore, keep a styptic stick or pencil handy—just in case.
What to Do the Night Before
Now that you know what a thorough shaving preparation routine looks like, what can you do the night before to make the next morning’s shave that much easier? One thing that you should immediately make a habit is to rinse your razor right after you shave or before your next one.
Never use your razor without fully rinsing or sanitizing it. This is because your razor is now full of hair remnants, dead skin cells, dirt and oils from your skin, and shaving product, turning your razor into a breeding ground for bacteria. This is especially true if you are shaving with an expensive cartridge razor.
If you were to reuse your unclean razor again the following morning, not only are you adding more gunk to your razor, which compromises the quality of your shave, but you are also spreading that thriving bacteria onto your face and right into the open pores of your skin.
Take it from us: Take the time to rinse your razor after your shave. No time? Rinse it the night before your morning shave. You can use a razor blade cleaning solution from the store, or simply use warm water. Once you have finished rinsing or sanitizing your razor, store it in a place where it can thoroughly air dry. Avoid storing it in humid environments as this can also lead to bacterial growth.
The Secret to Cleaner, Clearer Skin is Shaving Preparation
In a perfect world, we would all have time to properly prepare for a nice shave. So, are all these shaving preparation steps necessary for everyone? Not really. You can include or skip any of the steps above as necessary, especially if you discover that you are still getting a close, clean shave without any nicks or cuts.
Regardless of which steps you choose to include in your shaving preparation routine, you will discover that your shave is not only significantly easier, but that your skin is smoother, cleaner, and clearer afterward. You will likely also discover that if you put more time into shaving preparation, you will spend less time actually shaving.
Thorough shaving preparation is always a good idea, and should be a necessary and enjoyable part of your daily shaving routine.