Men’s Grooming: A close shave

In order to look your best for the upmarket happenings of the warm seasons, like corporate parties, weddings and, of course, the races, you need some basic essentials; smart threads, dapper shoes, a sharp haircut and, most importantly, but sadly often overlooked, a clean and close shave. Whilst it may be hunky-dory to look like a hunky refugee from Miami Vice circa 1983 at the beach, sporting Crockett and Tubbs style stubble takes the shine off the sartorial gingerbread when one is out to impress.

Today there is a vast range of options and products when it comes to shaving. The market is dominated by plastic disposable or cartridge razors packing anything from one to five blades. The theory is that more blades give a closer shave with fewer strokes, and whilst most of these razors do give good shaves, multi-blade types can create irritation and cause rashes and razor bumps.

Worldwide there is a resurgence of traditional shaving methods using both cutthroat and double-edge safety razors and although these are more time consuming, the results, with a bit of practise and care, can be excellent.

For the beginner a safety razor is the best option with a wide variety of styles and prices available, mostly online. The double-edge blades that fit them work out ridiculously cheap compared to cartridge blades too, with online sellers offering sample packs of different brands – a great way to find the blades that suit your own hair and skin.

Whichever way of shaving you choose, the most important part is in the preparation, so do not skimp on this.

Seven steps to a sharper shave

  1. Give your face a thorough wash, preferably using a mild cleanser rather than ordinary hand soap, which can be harsh, especially to sensitive skin.

2. Soak your beard thoroughly – in the shower is good as you can keep it wet.

3. Lather up with a good shaving cream, rather than the aerosol kinds that may be drying to the skin, and a brush.

4. Work the lather into your whiskers firmly, but gently, giving a thick, even spread. Don’t allow the lather to become too wet or sudsy but keep it dense and rich. It is a good idea to leave it to condition the hair for a few minutes.

5. Shave with short even strokes in the direction of the growth and with gentle pressure. A safety razor cuts very closely and requires hardly any pressure as the razor’s weight does most of the work.

6. Rinse and check for any missed patches, and repeat until clear of strays.

7. Rinse with cold water and apply some alcohol-free aftershave balm or lotion, don your best outfit to step out in and show the world the magnificent peacock you are meant to be.

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