Being clean-shaven could save your life
Beards are fashionable, but the clean-shaven look never goes out of style. If you’re a fan of staying smooth, this guide to wet shaving will help you achieve a super-close, irritation-free shave.
These shaving tips come from the highest authority: our barbers. You can take advantage of their professional insight to get the most from your wet shave at home, whether you use a straight (cutthroat) razor or a safety razor.
If You ’d Rather We Did It
Since the dawn of time, man has been waging war on his facial hair. Shells, sharpened rocks, bales of highly trained leatherback turtles - all have served valiantly in the battle against the face forest. Whatever weapon he chooses, a man spends on average four months of his life shaving. We’re exhausted just thinking about it.
We understand that from time to time it’s nice to let someone else do the work. So, if you’re looking for a wet shave in London; if you’d like to treat yourself and experience one of the capital’s most luxurious wet shaves first-hand, get in touch and we’ll book you in.
How Being Clean-Shaven Could Save Your Life
Beards have long been associated with maturity and manliness. It’s ironic, therefore, that the professions where men are most likely to encounter danger are also the ones where being clean-shaven is often a requirement. Firemen, policemen and soldiers: all are expected to turn up for work stubble free.
An important reason for this, aside from tradition and the need to present a smart appearance, is that facial hair can prevent emergency oxygens masks from sealing properly. In some jobs beards mean death.
Also, if you have a beard and you work in catering you might have to wear a beard net, which is a fate worse than death. If you’re strapping on diaphanous head lingerie just to make sandwiches, it’s time to reach for the razor.
But we digress.
Guide to Wet Shaving
Shaving is much like making love: it’s better if you take your time, and it can be dangerous in the dark. Gentlemen, it’s time to lather up.
Stage One: Pre Shave
Shaving just after a shower, or even in the shower, is best. The steam will help to soften your stubble and give your skin more elasticity, which makes it easier to stretch into place. In the shop we use hot towels, which do the same thing.
Start your shave with a clean face. Use a facial wash followed by an exfoliating scrub, applied using the fingertips in a gentle, circular motion. We use Baxter of California; they make top-drawer products.
You only need to exfoliate the forehead and nose area. The razor will remove the dead skin from the rest of your face. Exfoliating where you shave just increases the chance of irritation.
Next, apply a small amount of pre-shave cream to smooth out your stubble and allow the razor to glide over your face. Proraso pre-shave cream is made with eucalyptus and menthol oils, which give it an invigorating aroma.
Stage Two: The Shave
Traditional shaving brushes are made from badger hair. It’s soft, durable, and retains water well. If you don’t have a brush you can use your hands, but you won’t get such a good lather.
If you’re using a brush, soak it in water then shake to remove the excess. Place a dollop of shaving cream in a bowl (we use Proraso shave cream, which is available in different formulas for varying skin types) and mix lightly with your brush. Not too much though, you want to create the lather on your face, not in the bowl.
Apply the cream to your face in a circular motion to create the lather (which should have a meringue-like consistency) and lift the stubble away from your face. This makes it easier to cut the hair first time and avoid repeat passes that can irritate the skin.
Shave in the direction your hair grows. Shaving in the opposite direction will pull rather than slice the hair and cause bleeding. It’s a good idea to inspect your face before you shave to see how the direction of hair growth changes on different parts of your beard area.
Shaving is a two-handed job. Use one hand to pull the skin tight, while the other hand grips the razor and passes it gently over the area of taut skin. Don’t push harder to get the the razor closer, you might cut yourself. Instead, tighten the skin and change the angle of approach so you can cut close with ease.
Stage Three: Post Shave
Wipe your face clean and soothe the skin with a cold flannel. This will reduce redness, close your pores, and help stem the blood flow from any nicks. Not that you should have any, of course.
If you have cut yourself, use an alum block or Proraso healing gel. Finally, a post-shave balm applied gently and sparingly will further cool and soothe the skin. Apply the post-shave balm after the cold flannel to avoid any irritation or stinging.
Done. You look as fresh as a winter’s morning. Meanwhile some bearded chap is picking mindlessly at the old cornflakes trapped in his tangled chin wig.
A Luxury Wet Shave For a Special Occasion in London
It’s no longer common for men to visit the barber several times a week for a shave. But, for a treat, a gift, or to prepare for a special occasional—like your wedding—it’s an experience that’s hard to beat.
When you’re in the chair at Huckle, with your eyes closed and whisky warming your belly, listening to something you’d love to Shazam (if only you could get to your phone), nothing really matters.
Huckle the Barber provides high-quality grooming services, including haircuts and wet shaves, for discerning London gents. Visit us in Shoreditch or Bloomsbury. Book your appointment online here.