We all know that a good shave helps you look and feel so much better. Taking a moment to trim back the whiskers and seeing a freshly shaven face staring back at you does wonders for the soul. But that’s not all shaving is good for. You may never have realised it, but every time you pass a blade over your skin, you’re getting rid of much more than just unruly hairs. When done properly, a close shave removes dead skin cells, bacteria and dirt, resulting in a glowing complexion that makes you look even more attractive.
But notice that I said properly. Don’t expect clearer skin if your shaving routine is a 5-minute pass with a disposable or electric razor. In fact, a rushed shave with low-quality tools can have the opposite effect, causing redness, in-grown hairs and a whole morning of irritation. If you want better-looking skin, read our guide on how a good shaving routine gives you a perfect complexion:
Before you even reach for the razor, there is one key bit of advice you must always follow for your skin to look its best: Wash. Your. Face. Taking a shower or rinsing your face in warm water is an essential first step if you want a smooth and comfortable shave as the warm water softens wiry hairs, opens your pores and removes excess oils. Make sure the water is not too hot and never use soap as this can strip away all your natural oils, leaving your skin extra dry and tight.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s discuss why certain razors are better for your skin than others. Many people are worried about using a sharper and more exposed blade and think this would damage the skin more than a less aggressive cartridge razor or electric razor. WRONG. While the risk of cutting yourself may be higher with a very sharp blade, it’s exactly this severity that makes safety razors and straight razors better for your skin. These blades cut individual hairs much shorter, reducing the chance of ingrown hairs and shaving bumps. A duller blade also requires more passes to achieve the desired close shave, which puts more stress on the skin, resulting in redness and irritation.
While it can take a while to master shaving with a straight razor, inexperienced shavers should have minimal difficulty with double edge safety razors. Razors with a closed comb design, such as this DE89 Chrome DE Safety Razor, are perfect for beginners as the restricted blade is gentle on the skin while still offering a close and precise shave.
For the smoothest shave with minimal razor burn, we recommend Feather Hi-Stainless blades, which are generally considered the world’s sharpest double edge razor blades. If this sounds a bit intimidating, try Derby DE razor blades, which aren’t as aggressive and are more moderately priced. Remember that whichever blade you choice will naturally dull with use so we recommend replacing your blade after every three or four shaves to avoid irritation and unsatisfactory results.
While some men prefer to squirt a dollop of shaving foam in their hand and slap it on their chin and cheeks, it is massively more effective to use a shaving brush. The lather produced from using a shaving brush is much thicker, which creates a protective cushion between the blade and your face and helps the razor glide smoothly, resulting in minimal post-shave irritation. Shaving brush bristles are also amazing at exfoliating the skin, gently lifting away dead skin and dirt before shaving. Not only does this create a smoother shave as there is less debris between your face and the razor, but this routine exfoliation gives you a much cleaner complexion. When holding a good amount of water, shaving brushes will also lift and soften your facial hair, making it easier for the blade to slice at the correct angle for the closest possible shave.
For a first-time shaving brush, we recommend one of our many Black Synthetic shaving brushes. The most moderately priced shaving brushes we offer, the manmade fibres are more durable than animal hair and are designed to effectively exfoliate all skin types. For more information on what shaving brush to get and to find out which grade is best for you and your beard type, check out our guide on different brush fills here.
It’s impossible to talk about a shaver’s skincare routine without mentioning the different lotions that bookend the shave. Taking time to properly prepare your face before shaving and protect it after shaving is the main way to prevent redness, discomfort and painful wounds. Think: There’s no point shaving your stubble only to give yourself a beard of angry, red skin.
After washing your face, your next thought should always be Hydrating Pre-Shave Lotion. Massaged into the face before shaving, this lotion assists with razor glide, reduces razor burn and protects sensitive skin. The blend of natural ingredients also softens and hydrates the skin to keep it looking youthful, happy and healthy.
We’ve already discussed the benefits of a quality lather from a shaving cream or soap, but did you know the fragrance can have an impact on how your skin looks and feels after shaving? If you have very sensitive skin that’s prone to flaring up, we always recommend using an Aloe Vera shaving cream or soap. Aloe vera contains numerous antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it a godsend for repairing damaged skin, promoting healing and soothing irritation.
And the only way to complete your shave if you want clear skin for the rest of the day is to finish with an effective aftershave lotion. Don’t think aftershave as in colognes and eau du parfums — those are solely for smell. A moisturising aftershave lotion, like this Sandalwood formulation, is designed to soothe and nourish the skin after shaving. Even if you have followed all of the above advice, your face will still be sensitive and delicate straight after a razor has passed over it. Just a small amount of lotion clears your open pores and potential cuts of any bacteria and then seals up these pores to stop them clogging up with dirt. The result? Healthy skin and the perfect post-shave complexion.