Traditional shaving is an art that many disregard without knowledge of the benefits. Are you one of them?
Well, that can change instantly when you identify with the correct shaving techniques and products that will enable you to embrace the age-old skills of grooming.
I mean, are there any gentlemen that do not have a soft spot for a perfect shave? If available, they will have changed their mind after this. Shaving the traditional way makes use of excellent shaving products that have been tested, and quality assured for even the sensitive skin types. In fact, if you have sensitive skin you can do yourself a favor and switch to single blade razors.
What is this guide all about?
Ever wondered why older chaps were always clean shaven and looking great? The secret was the traditional shaving techniques which were pure, natural and always had great results even with close shaving. What many find hard to contend with when targeting the traditional modes of shaving are the varied products and accessories which is a flimsy excuse for not wanting to enjoy the best shaving experience.
However, this step by step guide for beginners and experienced shavers alike will ensure all gentlemen find it hard to keep away from the traditional way of shaving.
The purpose of this guide is to provide classy men who love beard care with steps that will enable them to get the best shave using double edge razors, natural shaving soaps and creams, shaving brushes and aftershave products.
Evaluating the benefits of traditional shaving
Traditional shaving is by far the only shaving technique that allows an individual to shave without harming sensitive skin. Skeptical? Let us review the benefits and operational advantage of the traditional mode of shaving.
Firstly, shaving the traditional way of shaving does not employ the use of harmful chemicals in products which are what irritate sensitive skin. With the traditional system of shaving actually coming off as a ritual, you can never go wrong if you have sensitive skin. Shaving the traditional way ensures that you do not get ingrown hair, while guaranteeing exquisite results with less irritation.
Environmental conscious? The shaving technique makes use of durable equipment with economical blades which is a plus to any gentleman.
As mentioned earlier, traditional shaving is like a ritual and begins with a preparation process that is aimed at softening the beard to avoid irritation. It is after the adequate preparation that shaving and skin care are then structured.
Curious about the preparation process? It is straightforward and pretty fun, especially for beginners. With many individuals preferring to shave after a nice hot shower which will have made the beard soft, you can also prepare the beard for a shave using a warm damp towel. This process softens the hairs, lubricates the pores and prepares the skin layer for the lather. You can also use pre-shave oils for slick and sensitive faces.
How to prepare the shaving brush
There are different types of brushes ranging from badger and synthetic hairs to boar which is stiffer than the previous two.
Choice of brush should be arrived at depending on whether you will be using cream or soap. If you plan to use a natural hair brush, ensure you soak the brush before going in to take your hot shower to give it time. Not a fan of it?
Well, you can opt for a brush with synthetic fiber as it does not require soaking. Mühle (Muhle) produces excellent synthetic brushes, Silvertip Fibre. It is very close to best badger hair (soft tips), but it’s firmer and holds its shape better. Synthetic hair is best with hard soaps, but can equally be used with softer soaps and shaving creams.
That covers the brush and what about the soap you may ask? Well, hold your horses, we are getting there.
Preparing the shaving soap
You can use either soaps or creams or a combination of both. It is easier to whip up cream as cream is rich but soap can also be used in achieving equal quality lather.
When using hard soap, it is important that you soak the soap in warm water, a couple of minutes will do. It makes the soap surface softer which is what makes it easier when it comes to application onto the brush.
There are some small artisan soap makers we are proud of. Le Pere Lucien and Faena Natural Soaps. Both use only best natural ingredients and little of their magic to make the best shaving soaps available today. If you are interested in Le Pere Lucien and Faena story, then you can find them on our blog.
How to apply soap to the brush
Traditional shaving should be approached with relevant calm as every step requires some capacity of focus and any rush can derail the whole experience. Having said that, let us now delve into the art of actual shaving.
The first step is usually to apply soap to the brush which is what many get wrong but no worries, you will get it right this time. The idea is to apply the proper amount of soap, and you can do this by rubbing and swirling the brush vigorously on the soap you soaked. So when is it enough?
When at least half of the hair on the brush is covered in soap and exhibits a paste-like consistency, that is the cue you need to know the soap is enough.
Lather building and preparation
The next step is to build lather with the brush, and you can do this either of two ways, either in a bowl or directly on your face depending on your preference and level of experience. As a beginner, however, it is advisable to build the lather in a bowl as it will give you the ability to control consistency and water quantity.
Take the brush that has been soaking in water (soaking is a must for natural hair brushes), squeeze off the excess water.
Begin swirling your brush in a circular motion with light to medium pressure. Add some plunger motions and keep swirling until you get a nice paste-like consistency.
Now this is where you have to be keen as the proper thickness is arrived at when small air bubbles are not visible in the lather.
If during the shave the lather will feel dry, you can add the water content by lightly dipping the brush in water.
With an excellent soap, it is possible to create quality lather that will be gentle and moist enough. As a beginner you have to love tips for the traditional shaving process and here is one from us. Soak your double edge razor in water and ensure that you do not shake off the excess water on the razor when starting to shave. Why you may ask? Well, it is a technique to moisturize the skin and aid the blade glide smoothly after which you rinse and repeat the process.
Learning the actual shave
Feeling like a Guru already are you? well, not until you master the shaving technique. It takes two to three passes with touch ups with a double edge razor to perfect shave. That is if your skin feels comfortable with several passes. If you start feeling kind of burning sensation, that means to many passes, thin soap or that the blade you are using might be too sharp for your skin type.
The first pass should go with the grain, the next across the grain and the third across the grain in the opposite direction. When learning traditional shaving as a beginner, it is not advisable to go against the grain as it can lead to nicks and cuts.
If you are one who is used to going with endless strokes when shaving, common when using modern multi-blade razors. As you get the ultimate wisdom on shaving, it is important to understand that short strokes are perfect as they increase your precision when performing a close shave. Short strokes also reduce the pressure you place on the razor which facilitates a close shave without nicks and cuts.
A standard shave which is the first pass with the grain is perfect for sensitive skin and it also ensures your skin gets restored fast in the period between close shaves.
If you are guilty of shaving your beard the same way you rake leaves off a lawn, your skin must be complaining with itchy irritations. To counter this, ensure you begin each stroke in the area with the protective lather close to the margin of the beard while moving towards the edge of the beard. This should give you a pattern of each pass moving from lathered region to the just-shaved patch which will prevent irritation and offer your skin the protection it warrants.
The beauty with a DE razor is that you can try different blades until you find the right one for you. A tip for the actual shave with a DE razor is not to apply pressure and simply let the weight of the razor handle that and you can do this by holding the end tip of the razor handle instead of the middle.
The angle of the blade should be between 30 and 45 degrees from the skin and you should be aiming at beard reduction and not removal which is the common mistake that many people make.
Proud of yourself for going through traditional shaving? Well, you should be, but the process continues with rinsing your face and you should do this with warm water ensuring you note any accidental nicks and cuts on which you should apply alum stone to stop the bleeding.
At this point, you have to notice the difference traditional shaving brings. Once in this final stages, you can leave the alum stone on, but it is recommended that you rinse it off with cold water which is also instrumental in closing up the pores.
While admiring your face after the rinsing process, you should never dry your face by rubbing with a towel; you should instead tap lightly.
Do I need aftershave?
A point to note is that shaving is aggressive to the skin and to avoid any irritation especially with sensitive skin, aftershaves come in handy during the finish.
It is preferable to utilize balms and creams since they give the skin adequate protection including moisturizing the surface after the shave. One thing to avoid during finalizing is the use of alcohol-based aftershaves as they burn the skin and may cause inflammation most notably with sensitive skin.
The Bottom Line
You must be proud to learn how to utilize the Double Edge razor, shaving soaps, and shaving brushes, aren’t you?
Well, now imagine how your skin will feel after a traditional shaving experience. You get better and consistent shaves, reduce environmental impact while also capitalizing on reducing the costs of shaving and quite frankly; it doesn’t get any better than this.
A traditional shave will ultimately reduce redness, lower the possibility of the skin becoming irritated and effectively ensure you do not suffer razor burns. Shaving the traditional way is an artful way of grooming that has the potential to transform you from an ordinary member of the male species to a gentleman that is slick and classy.