Getting a close shave

01st February, 2001

before you start

Wakey Wakey!

If you shave in the mornings, wait at least 20-30 minutes after you wake up, as when you first get up your skin will be all puffy. When this puffiness reduces, your stubble will become easier to get at!

Scrub Up!

Wash your face with a face wash or gentle scrub such as Lift Off Face Wash by Lab Series or Polo Sport Scrub by Ralph Lauren. A Scrub helps remove dead skin, which can clog your razor as well as helping to lift any ingrowing hairs.

Open them pores

Wet your face with warm water. This opens up the skins pores which makes your hairs stand out. Alternatively shove a hot wet flannel on your skin for a bit.


Choose your lubrication

There are many different types of Shaving preparation.. Oils, Creams, Foams, Gels, Soaps.. and lots of different brands.. Gillette, King of Shaves, Anthony Logistics, Lab Series, Wilkinson Sword, Somersets, Clinique Skin Supplies, Palmolive, and more.

So which one will be best for you? The only way to find out is by trying them. This can be costly, but you can keep costs down by pinching your mate's stuff! (or try for samples of King of Shave products)


Below are two possible methods you may not have tried: Soap and Oil

If you use a shaving soap...

Lather up the wet soap with your Shaving Brush (Geo F Trumper's are recommended). Apply the foam to your face in a circular motion, beginning in the chin area. The brushing action helps lift the hairs ready for the shave.

If you use a shaving oil...

Apply a few drops of shaving oil and massage it in to your beard area. Make sure that the beard area is wet and warm. Keep the face wet whilst shaving. Shaving oils is good because you can see where you are shaving as you aren't covered in foam. Ideal if you want to sculpt your beard area with a fancy look.

If you use another shaving preparation...

Make sure that you massage the product in to your skin for some time as this helps prepare the hair for your impending shave.

the shave


Shave with the grain

If you rub your hand on your stubbly face, you will find that in one direction it feels rough and the hairs cause friction. The other direction is "The Grain", and is the direction of your hairs growth.

Shaving against the grain causes damage at the root of the hair, and your stubble will grow back even more tough.

It may take some time to get a closer shave from shaving with the grain, if you've been shaving against the grain for sometime. Persevere.

Lift and Dunk

When shaving make sure you lift the blade after each stroke, this will reduce the chance of cuts and nicks.

Regularly rinse the razor in hot water. A clogged blade will reduce the performance.

Don't press too hard either, If you are pressing too hard, it may mean a change of blade is needed. Remember most blades will need changing every 4-7 days.

Shave Methodically

Don't just shave anywhere. Have some sort of order. This ensures that you don't miss parts.

Starting off on the cheeks is best, as it gives your shaving preparation a chance to soften some of the tougher areas (eg the chin)


Rinse your face with warm water (Not boiling hot). Then pat your face with a dry towel (Don't rub vigorously)

Shaving Tips from Basenotes' visitors.

Regular visitor, John Slinkard, tells us: "I find that performing the shave at the tail end of my morning shower is a fantastic time saver. After all, 5-10 more minutes of sack time is like gold at five in the morning. You've allowed time to lose the puffiness and to let your pores open. A good fog proof morror with a nice flexible neck is always a plus for navigation. I have a good sized shower organizer that allows me to store everything I need within easy reach. Ready for battle !!"

after the shave


Clean out your blade now. A dirty blade is no good to anyone. Don't dry the blade on a towel as this can blunt the blade. Allow the razor to dry naturally.

Oh, and if you've cut yourself shaving, don't stick little bits of toilet paper on your face, as bleeding can restart when you remove them. Instead, invest in a Styptic Pencil which you can just dab on the affected area to help stop blood flow. (Styptic Pencils can be purchased from Boots The Chemist in the UK and various places online)


If you have used a shaving oil, then you may not need to use any post-shave products. If however, your skin feels dry or red, you may wish to use an aftershave balm or gel. If your skin is dry generally (Not just the shaving area) You may wish to use a moisturiser too.


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About the author: Grant Osborne

Grant Osborne is the founder and editor of Basenotes. Grant has two children, and a dependence on tea, haribo and bacon.


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