The healthiest, manliest, and most ecologically friendly option for your face is probably not to shave at all, but for those of us who aren’t ready to commit to the Grizzly Adams look (or for those whose wives or girlfriends aren’t so fond of the idea), we need to find the manliest way to shave. Personally, I’ve been in pursuit of the best way to shave for years. Don’t make me toss in my man card, but I’ve found it difficult to shave without irritating my skin. The good news is I’ve found a shaving method that won’t irritate my skin and is also ecologically friendly, affordable, and natural. It revolves around a blade, a bowl, and a brush. You won’t have to buy aerosol cans of petroleum-based shaving cream, plastic shavers that you keep throwing out, or overpriced multi-blade razors anymore. Follow the simple instructions below for the best shave–it’s the way men were shaving for years before all the latest marketing schemes:
You’ll need: A double-edged safety razor – these are made of stainless steel, and you’ll never have to replace it. You’ll only have to replace the single, incredibly sharp blade (and you can purchase a year or two supply for only $10); a shaving bowl or small bowl that fits a cake of round soap; a cake of round shaving soap, I recommend Mr. Beardsley’s Shaving Soap or some other natural soap; a shaving brush, and a pre-shave oil.
1) Take a hot shower and gently scrub your face. The hot-steam is important for a good shave – it opens the pores and softens the beard. A proper shave takes time. If you don’t have time to take a shower, you don’t have time to shave! The other alternative (though not as good) is to wash your face with hot-water and then let a hot towel rest on your face for several minutes.
2) Gently rub a pre-shave oil onto your face. There are oils made specially for shaving, but you can also use pure almond oil (adding a little bit of tea tree oil creates a nice blend). The oil moistens the beard and skin and allows the razor to slide gently over your face. (This step is optional. I personally prefer shaving without a pre-shave oil.)
3) Splash hot water on your face, then use a shave brush and a little bit of hot water to lather up the soap in your shave bowl. Apply the lather to your face in circular motions.
4) There are several things to keep in mind when you start to use your razor. First of all, shave very gently, letting the weight of the razor do most of the work. The goal is not to remove the beard in one stroke, but to reduce your beard with several passes of the blade (since there’s only one blade, it won’t irritate your skin). Secondly, it’s vital that you pay very careful attention to the various directions your beard grows on your face and neck and to shave with the grain. After most of your beard is removed and you still want a closer shave, you can experiment with gently passing the razor across the direction of your beard. Finally, use your razor at the lowest angle possible. This is usually about 30 degrees. Find this angle by placing the shaver perpendicularly on your skin, then slowly lower it until it will shave your beard.
5) Continually rinse your razor with hot water while shaving. If your skin starts to get cool, you can place a warm wash cloth on your skin for a few seconds to help re-open your pores.
6) Reminder: TAKE YOUR TIME. You will get faster with practice.
7) After finished shaving, rinse your face with cold water. You can use an astringent if desired, as well as a natural lotion/oil to re-moisturize your skin.
A few extra tips: Store your shave brush on its side or bristle down to keep water from damaging the bristles or handle. Coat your razor blade with your pre-shave oil after each shave to prevent oxidation and to keep the blade sharper longer. I use tea tree oil, which is also antibacterial.
This routine has worked wonders for me, and it’s a lot more affordable than using all the latest shaving gadgets. Relax, reflect, and enjoy the process. The integrity, moisture, and health of your skin is also highly dependent on your diet. Be sure to eat plenty of vegetables, berries, and omega-3’s daily. Happy shaving!