Friction is an uncomfortable (and unavoidable) part of shaving, but fear not – setting yourself up for a more comfortable shave happens before you even pick up your razor.
Regardless of how thick your beard is, most razors aren’t designed to comfortably remove a bushy beard. If you have longer stubble or a full beard, use an electric on its lowest setting to trim the hairs first, so as to decrease the chance of that ‘tug and pull’ that can cause painful irritation and ingrown hairs when you shave. To give your face a break before you take another blade to it, it’s best to trim your beard before you hop in the shower.
Take an extra minute in the shower to let the hot water run over your face to help soften your whiskers before you lather up to shave. If you don’t have time to shower, you can soak a clean hand towel in hot water and press it against your face until it cools down to room temperature (about 2 minutes). The hair on your face is specially designed to prevent the outside world from being absorbed into your skin, so your whiskers require a little extra soaking time to make them soft enough to remove easily. This, like the trim down step before it, will help reduce the chance of ingrown hairs and that uncomfortable ‘tug and pull’ feeling.
Work your shaving cream (or gel) onto your face in small, circular motions and make sure to use enough to fully cover your beard until you can’t see your whiskers (you should look like a snowman). A good shave cream helps soften your face fuzz for easy removal and protects your skin from repeated contact with a sharp razor, so make sure you give your shave cream time to do its job and leave it on your face for two minutes before picking up your razor. Proper application, coverage, and timing help your facial hairs stand on end, suspending and softening them into submission until your razor comes along to effortlessly whisk them away.
This tip is for the pros (meaning, it’s really helpful). Similar to an old-school badger brush, the gentle exfoliants found in a quality face wash remove dirt and dead skin cells, clearing the way for a smooth shave.