A hair dryer is a handy thing to have around your home.
The shaving community, especially those active in online forums, are a generous lot and will always give advice and recommendations freely to anyone eager to learn how to shave.
More often than not, these tips and tricks of the trade are valuable nuggets of information. And because these lessons come from their own shaving experiences, they’re not among the most often shared tips among shaving marketing sites.
This week, we’ve rounded up the internet’s little known tips for you to use in your shaving.
Here are 10 insanely useful shaving tips and tricks that you may not know about.
1. Always Strop Before or After Shaving
2. Don’t Use a Leather Belt for Stropping
3. Exfoliate Before Shaving
4. Use a Pre-Shave Oil
5. Let the Lather Sit for 2-3 Minutes
6. Rinse Your Blade After Every Stroke
7. Listen to Your Razor
8. Use a Synthetic Shave Brush
9. Pat Dry, Never Rub
10. Use a Straight Razor
A single blade razor is more efficient in shaving your stubble.
Always Strop Before or After Shaving
Straight razors fresh out of the box are very sharp and are ready to be used for shaving. Over time though, the edge of the blade will curl back, making it dull to use. This leads to some incidences of hair tugging when shaving which causes razor bumps or skin irritation.
To prevent this, one needs to regularly touch up the blade’s edge to keep it sharp enough for shaving. This is what stropping is for—it realigns the cutting edge of the blade.
Mark from Sharpologist says that the fine edge of the razor will always become microscopically bent especially when cutting coarse beards. That’s why he recommends that the edge must always be realigned after use. A stropped blade will always result to an easier and comfortable shave.
Don’t Use a Leather Belt for Stropping
True, your belt is made from leather but unless it’s a very expensive leather belt, it’s best that you just keep it around your waist.
Traditional leather strops have two sides, one suede, one smooth. Some have an additional linen belt on the opposite side. They are sanded and dyed and are cut in the right width and length. In short, they’re actually made for stropping.
If you use an ordinary leather belt, the quality of stropping may not be perfect. You also risk losing your belt if you happen to accidentally cut it while stropping.
Exfoliate Before Shaving
We always think of exfoliation as a routine best suited for female skin but it also works for us men when we are prepping our skin for shaving.
Skincare expert Alison Gallo, in her interview in the Dollar Shave Club, said that exfoliating before shaving removes dirt and dead skin while lifting the hairs, allowing a painless and smooth shave.
If you want to learn how to exfoliate, check out this video.
Use your fingers to scrub dead skin by making small, circular motions on the beard area.
Use a Pre-Shave Oil
A pre-shave oil may seem like an added expense in your collection of razor products but it’s actually an important way of protecting the skin from irritation caused by shaving.
Pre-shave oils contain natural essential oils which help keep the skin moisturized and nourished. They also form a thin protective barrier that helps lessen the blade friction caused by the shaving motion. This is especially useful for men with sensitive skin. Putting on a pre-shave oil not only helps your skin but also makes your shaving experience comfortable.
It’s also easy to make your own pre-shave oil. Check out this recipe.
Let the Lather Sit for 2-3 Minutes
When applying lather on your mug, allow it to sit longer than usual. This will allow the lather to fully penetrate the hair and skin so that you can shave easily. If you’ve got thick facial hair, this is something that you really need to do in order to get the best out of your shave.
Artisanal shave soaps contain a lot of glycerin than the average soap bar. Giving enough time for that glycerin to fully soften your skin and hair will give you an easy and comfortable close shave.
A thick lather goes a long way in giving you a comfortable close shave.
Rinse Your Blade After Every Stroke
Rinsing your blade is not only hygienic but it also ensures that nothing gets in the way of your sharp blade when shaving.
Everytime you run your blade through your skin, the lather not only traps whiskers but also skin bacteria and dead cells. When you rinse the blade after every stroke, you’re cleaning the blade so that these acne-causing bacteria will not return and spread all over your face.
Cleaning the blade of lather after every stroke will also ensure that the blade cuts hair more efficiently on the next stroke and not be impeded by the lather. In short, it just makes for efficient shaving.
Wipe once on a clean, dry cloth before using it again.
Cheap straight razors will either be dull from the get-go or go dull after a few shaves. That's why you are always better off investing in a great blade.
— D'Rock, Naked Armor Founder
Listen to Your Razor
This sounds silly, but yup, it’s true. Brian Cornwell of NetLuxury.com says that you can tell a great deal about your shave by taking the time to listen to your razor.
By doing so, you’ll start to notice the slight variation in sound every single time your angle is out of place. Over time, it will become almost an instinct to change your angle when that sound clicks into your brain.
This is why he doesn’t believe in the 30-degree angle shaving rule. According to him, the blade isn’t always going to be perpendicular to the handle because the face isn’t flat. So the way to measure the quality of the shave is to listen to the sound of the whiskers when they are cut.
Use a Synthetic Shave Brush
For so long, badger hair brushes have been the gold standard in shaving brushes. But why be complicit in the killing of badgers when a synthetic brush is more efficient in spreading lather?
A synthetic brush is less absorbent than a badger hair brush which means you need only minimal water and soap in order to start lathering. They also dry quicker and last longer.
Most importantly, they’re good for all skin types. And they’re the best for men with sensitive skin since its bristles are soft and won’t inflame the skin.
Synthetic shave brush is more efficient in spreading lather.
Use a Straight Razor
If you want a mug that as smooth as a baby’s bottom after a shave, then use a straight razor.
Straight razors are the only razors that can give you the cleanest shave because they’ve got a single blade that you can easily wield in a variety of shaving angles. There’s also less blade friction than a multi-blade cartridge. It also helps lessen razor bumps and hair tugging.
Invest in a high-quality straight razor. Our founder, Derek Dodds of Naked Armor says that
"Cheap straight razors will either be dull from the get-go or go dull after a few shaves. That's why you are always better off investing in a great blade."
Naked Armor's Solomon Straight Razor.
Here at Naked Armor, our blades are designed in between a full hollow and half hollow grind. This makes them versatile for all kinds of hair textures and types and can easily be used by a newbie or a pro.
Remember that the quality of the shaving tool matters. Why do you think master barbers love their heirloom straight razors?
For more high-quality, luxury straight razors, check out our site.
More Naked Armor Tips on Shaving
Eight Tips on How to Shave Curly Hair
10 Essential Wet Shaving Tips For Men
Spring Cleaning Tips and Tricks for Grooming Your Beard