The Proper Way to Pamper Your Face Pre-shave

Have you ever felt the burn after shaving with a razor? Not the good kind that comes from a many eau de toilette, but that painful sting that lasts all day and into the next. Often, your face hurts because of steps you missed before your first razor stroke.

Without the right preparation, your pores become exposed and your risk of irritation increases. “But I don’t have the time for a true pre-shave routine,” you say. But the thing is you do — if you follow our advice.

Pre-shave Tip No. 1: Make your bathroom shave-ready.
A hot shower — and the steam from it — opens up your pores and softens your skin like nothing that fits in a medicine cabinet. So turn on the water, turn off the fan and let that room get foggy. Shave either right after a good shower — unless you’re using an electric shaver. Why? The skin tends to be slightly swollen after washing, so you’ll get a closer electric shave if you shave before showering.

Pre-shave Tip No. 2: Keep your razor sharp.
Start by cleaning and drying the razor thoroughly after every use. Also, strope it on an old pair of jeans. What is stroping? Have you ever seen a barber in an old movie working his straight razor back and forth on a leather strap? That is stroping. It is the act of polishing blades to take out microscopic nicks and burrs that make a blade dull.

Pre-shave Tip No. 3: Use a pre-shave oil.
Before lathering up with shaving cream and after washing your face, apply a thin layer of pre-shave oil. When your skin is lathered, the oil will act as an added layer of lubricant between your face and that sharp metal blade in your hand. It will allow the blade to slide easier and moisturize your skin at the same time.

Choose one made with a thin consistency. Thicker oils tend to clog the razor. Plus, it can be difficult to rinse from your skin and may even clog your pores.

Only use a small amount — about the size of a marble — and apply the same way you would shaving cream. The goal is to get very thin coverage across your entire shaving area. Allow the oil to set on your skin for at least a minute, during which time you can wash the remaining oil off your hands. Apply your soap or cream lather to your face and proceed to shave as normal.

Pre-shave Tip No. 4: Use the right shaving cream.
Shaving foams don’t work well with pre-shave oils. So forget the Barbasol. Shave gels are much smoother for lathering your skin, especially if you add a little water. Smoother still is a good soap, like one from Kiehl’s or The Art of Shaving, which has great badger brushes for getting it on in a hurry and lifting up that beard some more.

That’s it — quick and simple. Happy shaving.

By Jake Ward for Style + Tech For Men

Jake Ward is a Chicago-based
freelance stylist and fashion blogger. Professionally, he matches many
things for celebrities who shall remain nameless. He owns more than 75
pairs of socks.