There are just three steps to a great shave, and it will take just two minutes to read them and your reward will be one smooth and irritation-free face…
Step 1: Before
Whether you are male or female and wherever you are shaving, the general principals are the same – so let’s get started.
Forget everything you know
Lots of lather and foam does not equal a great shave. It sits on top your skin and does nothing to create that all-important layer between skin and razor blade.
The number of blades on your razor doesn’t really matter either. It’s more important that they are clean, sharp and of a decent quality.
Don’t shave as soon as you get up
Have breakfast first. Give your skin a chance to wake up!
Invest a little time preparing your skin
Don’t use ordinary soap because it is usually very drying on the skin and, coupled with shaving, will make your skin tight and uncomfortable.
All this preparation will help soften and lift your bristles ready for shaving.
Step 2: During
Shave in the shower, bath or as soon as you get out of either
Dry stubble can have the same tensile strength as copper wire, so the hot, steamy environment of a shower or bath will soften and prepare your bristles.
It takes three or four minutes for stubble to “wet out” properly, making it much easier to shave.
If you prefer the old water-in-a-sink method, wash your face first with plenty of hot water to ensure your facial hair is really soft.
Read the instructions on your preferred shave gel, oil or serum. These products are slightly different and work best if you use them as suggested.
Spend a little time massaging in your chosen shaving product – this will further soften and lift your bristles.
Ensure you have a clean, sharp blade and shave using short strokes
It’s key to shave in the direction of your hairs’ growth. Shaving against the grain is the primary cause of razor burn, redness and rashes.
On your face, this is down your cheeks and chin and upwards on your neck. If you are at all unsure, run your finger across your stubble to see which direction the hair is growing.
Rinse the blade regularly:
Rinse the blade thoroughly and frequently as you shave, don’t press too hard against your skin and let the blades do the work.
It is essential to rinse to keep the blade clean and prevent clogging.
Step 3: After
When you have finished shaving, rinse with cool water and pat dry. If using a King of Shaves Shaving Oil, you can just pat your face dry.
Apply a moisturising product Protect your skin with a moisturiser or face balm. This will leave your skin feeling smooth, supple and soft – not tight and dry. For maximum effectiveness, apply within five minutes of shaving.
Ideally we would recommend using our SPF15 Anti-Ageing Moisturiser, which will protect your skin against the elements.
Don’t apply aftershave
The days of “splash it all over” are long gone. Aftershave is primarily made from alcohol which, like soap, has a drying effect on your skin.
If you still want to wear aftershave or a fragrance, simply apply it to the back of your neck or your wrists.
Make your razor blade last longer
For optimum blade life, after use shake off excess water and allow your blades to air dry before storing.
If you have a KOS 5 Razor you can use the Wall Sucker or Handle Holder / Blade Guard supplied with your razor. When transporting your KOS 5 Razor, insert head into Handle Holder / Blade Guard to help protect the precision blades from damage.
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”
Alexander Graham Bell (the Scottish chap who invented the telephone, amongst others things)
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”
Benjamin Franklin (one of the founding fathers of the United States)
These sentiments hold true for many things in life. However if we are honest I expect we would all concede there’s been many times when we haven’t found (or perhaps more honestly “made”) the time to prepare properly.
WHY BOTHER WITH PREPARATION?
Often preparation can seem dull, boring and all too time consuming. Perhaps not even worth the effort for the better result. How many of us when in DIY mode have bought sugar soap with great intentions of washing the walls down before filling, then sanding, then dusting them, only to end up steaming straight into the tub of emulsion paint in a vain attempt to get it all over and done with as quickly as possible? And the result is simply not as good as it could have been if we had taken our time.
As with DIY, as a small investment in preparation can reap some big and sometimes unexpected benefits when you shave.
Back in our more hirsute days (when we just stopping swinging around in trees), to help protect us from the elements mother nature ensured we kept our hair nicely waterproofed with sebum. Unfortunately evolution is yet to catch up with us, so we still have waterproof stubble.
Now you probably know that wet stubble is much easier for a razor to cut, but to get the best shave you need to spend a little more time preparing your stubble than just giving it a quick splash of warm water.
To allow water to soak into the bristles (making them so much easier to cut) you need to remove the waterproof coating (the previously mentioned sebum) from your beard first. Any wash-type product such as face wash, shower gel, even a shave gel, shampoo or soap (does anyone still use soap?) will do this, but to speed up the water absorption into your bristles it’s best to use a scrub.
A scrub will the open the cuticles on the bristle which lets the water in to the hair shaft much faster. A scrub will also clear away a lot of the old dry skin and dirt from the skin; this means there’s a lot less to clog up the razor. So the blades will sit closer to the surface of the skin cutting the hair shaft as short as possible.
Applying a scrub in a circular motion across the entire beard will also lift the bristles up and away from the skin, which again helps ensure a closer shave with less missed hairs and reduced need for repeated strokes. It also helps stop ingrown hairs and clears out any blocked pores.
A face wash will help prepare your stubble, however for the best results we recommend a scrub formulated for daily use.
This simple and effective pre-shave preparation routine should not take more than a minute, however it will repay you in spades as…
- Your razor will feel like a hot knife through butter on your stubble.
- You’ll not get unpleasant tug or pull.
- You’ll get a closer shave and one with less passes (repeat strokes).
- Your blades will last longer (softer bristles wear them out slower than hard bristles).
- Much lower chance of ingrown hairs.
- Your skin will look brighter
The longer your stubble, the bigger the potential benefit, so for less regular shavers a good pre-shave scrub is a must.
Simply put, decent pre shave preparation will get you a closer and more comfortable shave, for not a lot of extra effort.
Since the banking crisis of 2008 a lot has changed about the way we shop and how we perceive value. As a result we’ve arguably all become much more savvy / smart shoppers, always looking for the best value for money (VFM), which to most of us this is a blend of quality, service and price.
Most of us have also learnt (often the hard way) that price alone is not always the best indicator of value. Just because something is expensive it doesn’t always mean that the quality matches the price tag and, of course, cheap can sometimes, be just that, cheap!
Here at King of Shaves we know we’re not the cheapest products you can buy however we are confident we rank right up there in terms of value for money.
Less can be more
Whilst using too big a blob of product is great for manufacturers and brands in terms of product consumption, it is actually wasteful and that’s not so good for the consumer’s purse or for the environment.
How much of any product you choose to use is entirely up to you, but often we find people tend to use more than they need and that sometimes using too much product can reduce the quality of the experience, as well as impacting on VFM. For example our Shaving Oils definitely fall in the category of “less is more”!
Why do we love tubes?
Regardless of how much you choose to use each time, we think it’s important to ensure you can use every last drop of product and that the packaging allows you to do this whilst not costing the earth (in all its meanings).
That’s why King of Shaves love the simplicity of tubes. Due to their minimal weight and use of materials they are about as good as it gets for shaving gels and creams – a lot better than cans that’s for sure! Plus let’s not forget that gravity is free, so standing tubes on their caps means the product has the best chance of being at the right end of the pack… so where you need it.
Even with the free benefit of gravity, a small amount of product can end-up sticking to the inside of the tube (though we tend to overfill to offset this). A simple centrifuge would sort that out though most of us don’t have one of those lying around at home! You could create a DIY version by sticking the tube into a carrier bag and spinning it rapidly around above your head (it does actually work)…
Watch our video and use all your product
However, we think the best solution is to watch our short top tip ‘life hack’ video and learn how by simply taking the top off a tube you can ensure you don’t waste a drop of product and thus you get the very best value for money.
Years ago when I was a student a fellow house-mate first showed me this simple trick on a toothpaste tube and I’ve been doing it ever since. Today some of my friends laugh and say it’s just being tight, however to me it’s actually (like a thrifty approach to many things) more about being smart!
Pennies and pounds and all that.
Tell us about your ‘life hacks’
Shaving removes more than hair… When you shave, as well as removing stubble, the razor blades also remove some thin layers of old and dead skin from what is called the stratum corneum, which is the top part of skin you can see.
This is not a particularly bad thing as our skin is designed to continually shed itself to reveal newer skin underneath, so in time it recovers it’s thickness (although this process slows down as we age).
However, the multiple layers of the stratum corneum are there to provide a protective barrier for the skin against UV rays from the sun, toxins, pollutants and bacteria, as well as helping the skin retain moisture so it stays soft and flexible, not dry and flaky.
When the thickness of the stratum corneum is reduced, its efficacy as a protective barrier is also temporarily reduced, making the skin much more vulnerable to UV damage, pollutants and bacteria and less able to retain moisture.
Moisturise to help your skin recover
By using a moisturiser or balm with an SPF after you have shaved, you provide the extra protection your skin is missing whilst it naturally starts its recovery process. The SPF provides the UV protection and the moisturiser or balm provides a temporary occlusive (impenetrable) layer on the skin that helps the skin retain its moisture (so helping prevent it from becoming dry, flaky or itchy) and it also acts as an important barrier against bacteria and pollutants.
Also applying a moisturiser or balm post shave is the best way to ensure the actives in the formulation can penetrate the skin, as the removal of the old and dead skin allows these active ingredients to penetrate the dermis (deeper in the skin under the stratum corneum) where they can add the most value.
See clearly – how window washing has influenced your shave routine*
I have to confess I have a strange fascination watching a professional window cleaner tackle large glass panes. A sense of calm descends as the dirty glass is methodically covered in soapy water. It is oddly gratifying watching the squeegee cut through the foam transforming the glass from grimy to sparkling clean.
What has washing windows got to do with shaving?
If you are a canned shave foam or gel user, that same sense of satisfaction of cutting through the lofty foam with your razor, has probably shaped your male grooming routine, but not always for the better.
The professional window clear needs to create a lather to clean the dirt from perfectly smooth surface of windows. When using shaving gel, we would argue a lot of (hot) air or large bubbles is the last thing you need when dragging a razor across a bumpy landscape such as the stubble on your face (or other body parts!)
Being able to keep track of which areas the razor has covered plays a huge part as to why some men prefer a foamy lather when shaving. Like watching the professional window cleaner slice through the soapy lather with the squeegee, we admit, it is satisfying to see the razor blade cut through foam. We understand long standing shaving habits can be difficult to break.
What does Shave Gel do?
All the extra bubbles and foam that a lofty shaving cream lather creates is simply money down the drain. A frothy habit should not stop you from getting a better, smoother shave so that’s why we created our range of low foam Shave Gels. Did you know the bit of you shaving cream that is actually doing all the work is the ultra-thin layer of product between the shaving blade and skin? So save the bubbles for your face wash and, just like driving a car, make sure you can see where you are going when you shave.
How does Shave Gel work?
Our Shave Gels create a thin lubricating layer between your razor blade and your skin. This helps the razor blade glide over your face allowing it to cut your stubble to the best of its ability whilst helping to protect your skin from unwanted rash and irritation. And unlike traditional soap based shave foams, King of Shaves Shave Gels are all moisturising so they won’t leave your skin feeling dry and tight afterwards.
When to use Shave Gel?
Our Shave Gels are the perfect hybrid of ‘seeing clearly’ while enhancing razor glide for a smooth comfortable shave without the need for excessive froth and nonsense. For time-pressed folk or those allergic to bathroom clutter, our low foam range of Shave Gels also double up as a face wash or shampoo for full beard care too.
We think it’s time to ditch the hot air, stop pouring money down the drain and focus on what makes for the best wet shave – that thin layer of product between razor blade and skin. With four different formulas to address all skin conditions, including moisturising Shave Cream, Sensitive Shave Gel, Cooling Shave Gel and Antibacterial Shave Gel, we are sure you will love our Shave Gel range.
Do your skin and wallet a favour, explore our range of low foam Shave Gels to see how much of a difference they can make to your shave.