How to shave for men guide - Wet shaving instructions
09-20-2014, 01:28 AM
How to shave for men guide - Wet shaving instructions
Let's start by saying that two things have been pretty constant in most men's life: the first is that most can't seem to find a decent disposable razor (ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration but it serves the point) and the second is that even on those few occasions when one does find a decent disposable razor, one still can't seem to give myself a decent shave. Much of the time we aren't aware of our bad shaving, it's other people who are in contact with our manly cheeks who tell us (who we resemble sandpaper an hour after shaving).
To me, shaving is one of those things men just inherently do. It's like riding a bike: sure you fell on your butt the first few times but after a while the peddling-riding thing is easy. Shaving should be one those things as well. But I have continually got caught up on problem areas. For example, when you're shaving above your lip and trying to maneuver around the nostrils. I always manage to nick my right nostril. And for whatever reason, the nostril is one of those tender areas that -- once it gets cut -- will bleed for weeks. I mean no amount of toilet paper can stop the flow of blood. Working my way under and over the chin is another shaving area that has got to rank right up there with turn number 7 of the INDY 500.
I don't believe for one second that I am alone in this suffering. I also don't believe that the companies that manufacture disposable razors are doing all they can do ensure I get a close shave either.
When the first disposable razor came out it had one blade. Then for years the double-bladed disposable razor was all the rage. About 5 years ago the triple-bladed disposable razor hit the stands and for awhile life was good. Not only was I getting a reasonably close shave, but my girl could use it to strip paint or shave under her arms and I'd hardly notice. Nowadays we have disposable razors with four and more blades and these things are so big I'm not sure if I should be shaving with it or using it to hunt for wild animals.
Well it comes as no surprise that there is actually a procedure for shaving. There are actually scientifically approved steps that will ensure you get a close shave. Personally, if I have to resort to following a manual in order to shave, then I probably have a more serious problem than nicking my right nostril. But hey, if it works for the Armed Forces it works for me.
Actually these steps are a compilation of shaving procedures that are found in a variety of popular men's magazines over the decades (I'm talking of when men's magazines used to be real men's magazines and not hipster magazines) so if you can't shave your way out of a wet paper sack then don't worry, you're in good company.
Preparation: getting ready
You won't drive your car without priming the engine, and likewise you shouldn't shave without washing your face. This will prevent infections in case of nicks. Many men will think that this was to make their face slick, so the razor would slide across. You may want to exfoliate using a rough exfoliating cream, although this step is completely avoidable.
The above, and special washing your face, will better prepare your skin and beard for shaving.
Soften the beard: get them juicy
Soak a face-cloth in warm water, and hold it to your beard for 30 seconds. This will help soften and loosen the hair and skin. You can repeat as many times as you want. If you ahve ever been to one of those barbershops that date from decades back, you will see them prepare a man's face before applying the shaving cream.
Shaving cream application: coat your face
Release a ball of shaving cream onto your palm, and apply it evenly over your beard and neck in upward circular motions, making sure to uniformly cover all sections that you wish to shave uniformly. You may use a shaving cream for wet shaving instead.
While you wait for your skin to ready itself, here is some shaving trivia. A male face has between 10,000 and 30,000 whiskers, with the average somewhere around 15,000 to 16,000. How they know this I don't think know. I wouldn't like the job of counting and averaging whiskers (joking/they probably counted under the microscope the average per square surface and extrapolated it to the total surface area of the facial hair in a an).
Facial hair grows about 15/1000ths of an inch each day, or almost 6 inches a year. Shaving removes about 65 mg of whiskers daily, per male (on average). If you prefer, that would be about a pound every 16 years. In the U.S., sales of razors (as distinct from blades, replacement cartridges, etc.) is around $90 million annually, of which about a third is for electric razors. More than half of wet-shave razors that are sold are disposables. Total sales of replacement blades is in excess of $900 million, which is why the razor blade companies sometimes give away the razor. Who cares about the razor? They want to get you hooked on the blades.
Let's get back to our shave
Shave "with the grain": not the treadmill kind of grain
What I mean with shaving with the grain is shaving in the direction your hair grows. Now, you'd think that your hair grows "out" and would not be sure what direction that correlates to (you obviously cannot shave in the "out" direction). But each person's facial hair has its own growth pattern. If you are unsure of the direction of your beard, let it grow for a day or two and you'll see it. (Then go ahead and use a cheap disposable razor and discover for yourself what real pain is).
Rinse the blade under hot water: right before commencing the shave
Before you begin to shave and after every few swipes, rinse the blade with hot water (not boiling hot water though!). This removes the accumulated shaving cream, whiskers, and skin goop. For a really close shave, remoisten the section you just shaved, by spreading a thin layer of lather from another area of your face, and then swiping that area again. Keep everything moist. (Note: The use of hot water here is to help lubricate, has nothing to do with "killing bacteria").
In case you didn't know, the act of shaving actually pulls your whiskers up slightly from the skin, so that a second blade about 60/1000ths of an inch behind the first blade can indeed cut the whisker again before it has a chance to recede. So you can imagine if you're shaving with a four-blade disposable, you're really tugging on whatever hair you have. You have to, in order to have something left by the time the fourth blade swipes your skin.
Don't forget the sideburns: can't finish a shave without them
Start at the sideburns. End up at the chin and upper lip (the hair is denser there) so that you allow the shaving cream to soften those hairs a little longer. Pulling your skin taut may give a slightly closer shave, but if you've prepared correctly, that will be minimal.
Once you finish shaving: checklist
- Splash warm water on your face after the shave, thoroughly rinsing away all residue.
- Now turn the water temperature down to cool and splash some more. This helps close the pores, sealing in the moisture.
- Pat, don't rub, your face dry with a towel. Rubbing dry skin is bad, patting dry skin is good.
- Now here's what separates the men from the boys: apply a thin coat of moisturizer to the entire face and neck. This locks in the moisture and soothes the skin. It also makes your skin stay flexible, and young looking.
- Use aftershave or cologne and stand back while you feel every place you nicked yourself. Some people think that the alcohol in cologne or aftershave literally cauterizes the skin. That is not true. It actually irritates the skin and burns like hell.
Way to go! You did it! You have shaved. You're still alive. Now rinse the blade to remove any excess gunk that is still caught between the blades and put it away.
The Mayo Clinic recommends swapping your disposable razor every two to four shaves. Most guys usually do it every month and that alone would be one of the reasons for having skin is in bad shape!
How this how to shave guide is of use!
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