The Razor’s Edge

It’s Grooming Time

Gone are the days when shaving your face was just a simple, basic act of grooming: splash, lather, shave and splash. Read on to learn about the art of the shave.

The act of shaving has taken on a whole new raison d’etre that involves a vast assortment of great products, benefits to your skin and possibly a whole new you--or at least a new, improved you.  Here are the three new steps:

Step One: Prep
Prepping the face can actually get you a better, cleaner, meaner shave if you give it a chance. Don’t just throw water on your face and douse your bearded area haphazardly with shaving foam.

First you must gently prep your skin for the trauma of shaving. It is really important and a step not to be overlooked or poo-pooed. Pre-shave products raise the whiskers up, soften the beard and make your shave comfortable, while protecting against razor burn. Pre-shaves are also an excellent solution to nasty in-grown hairs.

Step Two: The New Shave
Shaving products have come a long way from some random can of foam that has a manly smell. There are wonderful creams, gels, foams and soaps that do the dirty work but also baby your skin too.

Some shaving creams cleanse and exfoliate at the same time, so they do double less step for you. A good shaving cream (or whatever form you prefer) should be thick and luxurious enough to protect your skin while you get the closest shave possible.

Mark Sinnis, Master Barber at Spa 1851 elaborates, “Shaving formulas today are not just created to facilitate the removal of hair, rather they’re also created specifically to care for and nourish your skin. They’re much more beneficial, and in turn, provide a closer, more effective shave.”

Step Three: After-The-Shave
Most men love aftershave, but aren’t adventurous enough to move beyond Old Spice or whatever’s hanging out in the medicine chest. But fear not, we’ve compiled a list of incredible aftershaves that soothe, smooth and smell delicious but also don’t overpower you and your glorious mug (see the slideshow above).

Our Experts’ Top Tips

From Mark Sinnis, Master Barber, Spa 1851:

  • Use products that are appropriate for your skin; get a skin consultation prior to selecting products.
  • Always soften the skin with warm water prior to shaving.
  • If you plan to grow facial hair out for the wedding day, get a perfect shave the day you begin to grow out your beard to ensure an even beard growth for the day of the wedding.

From Annet King, Dermalogica:

  • Don’t shave right after getting up in the morning because fluids build up under your skin throughout the night. This prevents hair roots from being exposed, making it difficult to obtain a good shave. Wait at least 10-15 minutes.
  • Clean your shaving equipment frequently. Change your razor blades at least once a week to avoid bacterial growth. Disposable razors should be air-dried after rinsing. Wiping the blades dry may blunt them.
  • Avoid artificially fragranced products, which can cause photosensitivity as well as being the number one cause of contact dermatitis.

From Mike Gilman, Grooming Lounge:

  • When trying new products, always assume your skin is ‘sensitive’, that way you can select items targeted at the most finicky of faces, unless you are sure that isn’t the case.
  • Do save your most sensitive areas of the face for last when shaving.
  • Don’t race against the clock.
  • Don’t shave against the grain everywhere.
  • Absolutely NO unibrows, NO excess nose hair, NO comb-overs and NO missed shaving spots under the nose or on the cheeks.

Consider This: The Custom Shave

It’s certainly not a new concept--barbershops have been in existence for centuries--but the experience and philosophy behind a professional shave has evolved with the modern times we live in.  While you’re getting a fantastic shave, you’re also enjoying the experience of being pampered. So relax, take off your shoes, close your eyes and empty your head. A good shave will make you look terrific, but a great shave will make you look and feel like a million bucks, even if you only paid $30.

We recently sent Colin out for a professional shave at Hommage Atelier in NYC to experience a true luxury shave with their master shaver, Jeffrey Yabut, who has turned shaving into an art form. This men-only salon on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is a slick safe-haven for guys who clearly understand the importance of grooming and being groomed.

Upon arrival for your appointment, they exchange your shoes (which will be polished and buffed before you depart) for slippers, slip a cocktail of choice into your hand and invite you to take a load off in their lounge.

Colin tried out their Prestige Shave, which took about 30 minutes. It began with a purifying cleanser that got massaged onto the skin followed by their unique hot towel massage. All this and their own pre-shave oil prepped Colin’s face for the straight razor shave with loads of warm lather.

Yabut, who yields a razor like a feather, recommended shaving against the grain for the closest shave possible.  Be careful if you have sensitive skin, however, as you should only shave with the grain to avoid irritation. A cold towel finished up Colin’s shave to cool and clean the skin off. Lastly, Hommage’s Shave Balm was applied to his face, which settles, heals and repairs the skin with their signature scent of sandalwood, tobacco and lavender.

Smooth As Savalas

Telly Savalas once said, “We’re all born bald, baby.” And yes while technically that might be true, not all gents choose to forgo hair altogether. But for those of you who do, the right tools of the trade can make all the difference.

HeadBlade, makers of stealth shaving tools and products designed specifically for the head, have just introduced their new Sport razor. Despite it’s whimsical toy-car look, this razor has a wheel and suspension system that ensures a smooth, nick-free shave. Vroom!

--Juli Alvarez

Tags: Groom , Beauty
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