In the span of two weeks, I moved from Toronto to Hamilton — and then, to top it off, I got hitched. No big deal, right? In all the stress, I realized that I had stretched the lifespan of my razor two-fold. (You might know the feeling.) With my go-to grooming shop 90 kilometres in the rear view mirror, I settled for the next best option near my new place: Shoppers Drug Mart. I spent a few dollars and walked home with a 10-pack of double-edged razor blades.
The next morning, I followed my usual routine — the one that takes a few extra minutes of preparation. Or I would have. Instead, I slapped on some shaving cream and went to work. A few minutes later, my mug was a bloody mess. What gives?
Here’s the thing about a shaving routine — you only learn the motions you practice, and I had been committing to muscle memory a cardinal sin of grooming from the day Gillette sent a Mach 3 in the mail. No matter how sharp your razor or committed your pre-shave, all that goes out the window when you shave against the grain of your beard. It just so happened that this drugstore razor was sharp enough to set me straight.
I was taught a valuable lesson that morning just in time to look my best at the altar. Thanks to the tips below, my friend, you won’t have to wait quite that long to figure things out.
Learn the grain of your beard
That bathroom mirror’s good for more than hiding away your shaving cream. Take a closer look and give that mug a good feel — notice the direction your beard grows? Consider it a road map to a great shave. Every stroke along the grain of your beard glides easily and has a reduced chance of nicking you.
Remember that pre-shave routine?
A pre-shave routine that makes use of a hot towel treatment or conditioning products that moisturize your skin will help raise your facial follicles and prep you for an easy shave — done right, you’ll finish without any blood loss. A steaming hot shower can approximate the same effect in a pinch.
The reason we shave against the grain is, well, because it offers a closer shave. But you’re done with that, right? Instead, use your off hand to hold the skin taught, allowing the razor to reach in as close as possible. (Oh, and for that tricky part along the jawline? Open your mouth and use a finger to push up beneath your palette.)
But not too close
If you’re like me, you may be tempted to put some extra pressure on the razor. Don’t. The weight of the razor should provide all the pressure you need.
Gentleman’s word: No partnerships to report here. (And that shave’s looking pretty good there, buddy.)