Pre & Post-Shave Guidance. By Nick Sorrell.

There are a few stages to a successful and enjoyable wet shave, apart from the shave itself, and we'll discuss them here.  The first of the stages is also the first you should consider when you shave, the preparation stage.

There are many different ways in which you can prepare your skin and whiskers, but ultimately they all do the same thing, provide hydration to both.  Many people when they started wet shaving (probably with a multi blade cartridge) splashed a little water on their face before applying their canned goo.  Others perhaps did nothing before applying the gel or foam.  This was their first mistake on the path to a bad shave.  If you properly hydrate both your skin and whiskers, your shave will be much better, and your face will thank you for it. 

Some people find that a nice hot shower suffices, allowing plenty of the hot water to flow over the face, perhaps massaging their face as the water goes.  Others find that a traditional hot towel does the trick, and let’s face it, it does.  A steaming hot towel, draped or held over the bearded area allows moisture in the form of steam vapour and heat to penetrate the beard growth and soften both it and the skin in readiness for the shave.  It doesn't get much more decadent than this, especially if the towel is impregnated with exquisite scented oil such as lemon.

There are two other ways at the very least that you can prepare your beard.  One way is to apply some of the same lather you will use for your shave, and allow it to sit and do its thing on your whiskers for a few minutes, perhaps whilst reading the paper, having a wash or indeed just about anything you're willing to do whilst appearing to have a white, creamy beard.  Simply rinse this lather off prior to applying fresh lather for your shave.  The second additional way we'll discuss here today is a pre shave product.  Oils and balms are available for this very task, and each provide moisture from their core ingredients.  You simply take a small amount of the product, and massage it into the beard and skin, ensuring you thoroughly cover and manipulate every square inch of where you'll shave.  You can use these on their own, or in conjunction with other hydration methods (something I do on occasion) to good effect.

You're now ready for your shave, and you've treated your face to a super close, smooth shave, and are ready to conquer the world looking fresh, but wait!  You really ought to finish your shave in exquisite style and give your skin some more love.  The simple act of scraping your skin with a surgically sharp blade can leave it feeling less than stellar, and you can help restore its protective qualities by imbuing it with some quality post shave process and products. 

The first stage is to ensure all traces of the soaps used during the shave are removed.  You can splash the face with water and rub gently all over to help remove the soaps, and this tried and tested method works perfectly well.  Another method is to have a face towel soaked in cold water (wrung out so as not to drip), and apply it to your face to help cool and soothe.  Wipe gently after a short while and you're ready for the final step, post shave products.  In short, these products provide much needed moisture to the skin.  You can use balms or creams, but the application is simple.  Apply a small amount to your fingers, and massage gently into the shaved skin. Nourishing oils help restore moisture to the uppermost layers of skin that have been soaped and scraped with a blade, leaving them feeling soft, smooth and ultimately nourished, ready to face the day and all that it brings.

So, if you've not followed a good preparation and finishing system before now, you will soon learn the benefits of doing so, and feel much better for it.  For those already reaping the rewards of such a system, you can tell by the smile on their face that they have enjoyed a pampering process second to none.