In Search Of The Perfect Shave

If your boiler broke down you would phone for a plumber and if you were ill you would consult a doctor. So if you’re after a super-smooth shave, it pays to call in the experts.

We’ve gathered twenty of them – from leading barbers to top dermatologists – each with a pearl of wisdom to help you achieve real results with your razor. Twenty experts. Twenty tips. One aim: the ultimate, irritation-free shave.

1. Allow Your Skin To Settle

“Skin tends to be puffy first thing in the morning so if you want less nicks and cuts give it at least ten minutes to settle before you start shaving and you’ll have a better surface to work with.”
Jason Shankey, Belfast barber, hairdresser and male grooming expert.

2. Cool Things Down A Little

“To prepare skin before shaving cleanse skin thoroughly with a face wash and warm water – avoid using hot water as this can over-dry skin, leading to irritation. It can even cause tiny blood vessels near the skin’s surface to break.”
Dr. David Orentreich, Clinique’s guiding dermatologist.

  • Clinique Liquid Face Wash Regular Strength 150ml
  • Clinique Liquid Face Wash Extra Strength 150ml
  • Clinique Face Scrub
3. Give Yourself A Break

“Try taking at least one day off a week from shaving – it really helps skin if you give it a rest and I find that when you shave next, you tend to get a super close and smoother finish.”
Richard Sawyer, Education Director & Global Grooming & Lifestyle Expert, Lab Series Skincare For Men.

4. Brush Up On Your Lathering

“A shaving brush is a sound investment when it to comes to shaving. Not only are they the best way to create a rich, creamy lather, they also help lift hairs in readiness for shaving and exfoliate skin, ridding it of razor-blocking dead skin cells.”
Master barber Robert Johnston of The Gentleman’s Shop, Hungerford.

  • Eshave Fine Badger Shaving Brush Blue
  • Super Badger Shaving Brush With Simulated Ivory Case
  • Best Badger Shaving Brush S1 – Ivory
  • Baxter Of California Pure Badger Hair Travel Aluminium Shave Brush
  • Shaving Brush
  • H8 Best Badger Hair Shaving Brush
5. Make ‘Slow And Short’ Your Shaving Mantra

“Men who suffer with razor burn tend to be the ones who shave at 100mph and who use long, sweeping strokes so slow things down and shave using short stokes, ideally around 2cm in length.”
Mark Sproston (aka The Shave Doctor).

6. Go Around In Circles

“When applying shaving gel or cream apply with your fingertips using a circular motion.

Beard hair grows in several different directions and by spreading the lather in circles there’s less risk of missing an area. In addition, this encourages the beard to spring out from the skin in preparation for the shave.”
Tony Glenville, author of Top To Toe: The Modern Man’s Guide To Grooming.

7. Press Don’t Push

“Men tend to think that if they press harder, they’ll get a closer shave but that’s not so.

Modern razors are designed to work with relatively little pressure so if you want to reduce irritation don’t push – instead apply just enough pressure to keep the blade in contact with the skin and let the blades do all the work for you.”
Dr Nigel Kermode, Director of Global Blades and Razors Research and Development at Gillette.

8. Double Up

“For a super-smooth, close, clean shave apply a little shaving oil under your shaving foam, cream or gel.”
Noella Gabriel, Director of Development for Elemis.

9. Leave The Lip Until Last

“The hair on the top lip should be removed last; it’s thicker than the other parts of the beard and the longer time the shaving soap has to soften the hairs the better.”
Nicholas Clayton, author of A Butler’s Guide to Gentleman’s Grooming.

10. Give Your Face Some Flannel

“If you want a more comfortable shave do it in a hot bath or shower – the steam will help open up the hair follicles and soften the hair. Alternatively, a hot flannel will have a similar effect.”
Sarah Louise O’Looney, beauty therapist and author of Fresh, Clean Men: Advice for Men and Beauty Therapists.

11. Go With The Flow

“Always shave with the grain. If your hair grows sideways in places, you should still shave ‘with’ it by gliding the blade parallel. Never go against the grain with a razor, as this leads to irritation and can cause follicle damage.”
Matthew Jessop, Head Barber, Liberty Branch of Murdock.

12. Switch To Oils If You’re Sensitive

“If you suffer from easily irritated, sensitive skin it may be worth checking the shaving medium you use as many are strongly alkaline in PH, which in itself can cause sensitivity.

To minimise problems try a shaving oil, which I find much kinder for sensitive skins.”
Sally Penford, education manager, International Dermal Institute.

  • American Crew Lubricating Shave Oil 50ml
  • Ren Tamanu High Glide Shaving Oil 50ml
  • Lab Series Skincare For Men Smooth Shave Oil 30ml
  • King Of Shaves Alphaoil Shave Oil 15ml
  • Eshave Cucumber Pre Shave Oil 59ml
  • Clarinsmen Shave Ease 15ml
13. Try The Evening Shift

“If you suffer from itchy, red skin after shaving why not shave before you go to bed, and give your face 8-10 hours of rest? Sure, you’ll have a bit of growth by the following afternoon, but repeat this for a few days and your face should have settled down.

This is especially good for guys who wear stiff collared shirts to work as they can often irritate freshly-shaven skin.”
Will King, Founder of King of Shaves.

  • King Of Shaves Shaving Gel Mentholated 200ml
  • King Of Shaves Supercharged Black Pepper Shave Gel 150ml
  • King Of Shaves Azor 5 Razor
14. Say ‘Aloe’

“Due to frequent shaving, most men have facial skin that is more sensitive and dry so an application of Aloe Vera gel helps to calm and hydrate the skin and reduces irritation.”
Nataliya Robinson, skin therapist.

  • Clinique M Shave Aloe Gel
  • Phb Skin Restore Gel With Organic Aloe Vera
  • Ole Henriksen All Purpose Aloe Vera Gel 227g
15. Be Aware Of Your Blades

“Always remember that the brand of the blade you use is far less important than the state it is in. Never use a blunt blade as it is distressing to the skin, causes redness and irritation and won’t shave skin evenly.

The moment you feel your blade is not performing properly, replace it. As a rough guide, if you shave every day you should replace the blade once every one to two weeks, depending on the toughness of your stubble.”
Olivier Bonnefoy, founder of Mayfair barbershop Gentlemen’s Tonic.

16. Conceal Cuts

“A concealer is perfect for quickly camouflaging shaving nicks or razor burn.”
Tom Ford, immaculately-groomed fashion designer.

  • Recipe For Men – Concealer 0.1 Light 2.5ml
  • Clinique Anti-blemish Clearing Concealer – Shade 2 10ml
  • Menaji Camo Camouflage Stick – Medium
17. Skip The Aftershave

“The high alcohol content of aftershaves dries out your skin, increases the risk of irritation after your shave and depletes the skin’s natural defensive barrier, accelerating the skin ageing process.

Instead, apply an aftershave balm or moisturiser that will soothe skin and restore the barrier.”
Melogy barber Carmelo Guastella.

  • Clinique Happy For Men Aftershave Balm 100ml
  • Ren Multi Tasking After Shave Balm 50ml
  • Nivea For Men Energy After Shave Cooling Balm 100ml
18. Put Things On Ice

“Skin needs particular care and attention after shaving. The application of an anti-inflammatory balm is always advisable but if you have an area of intense irritation, try rubbing it gently with an ice cube.”
Gian Antonio Pisterzi, barber from Acqua di Parma Milan.

19. Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise

“Skin might look smooth but in reality it’s full of tiny ridges. These become especially pronounced if the skin is dry and can cause problems for the razor, leading to irritation. By moisturising twice daily you help reduce these ridges and improve razor glide.”
Dr Kristina Vanoosthuyze, principal scientist at Gillette’s Innovation Centre in Reading.

  • Men-u Matt Moisturiser 100ml
  • Original Moisturiser Bulldog Natural Skincare
  • Lab Series Daily Moisture Defence Lotion Spf15 100ml
  • Daily Moisture Boost Elemis
  • Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturiser 97ml
  • Murad Man Face Defense Spf 15 50ml
20. Have Lessons

“Most men have never been taught how to shave. When electric shavers were introduced in the sixties fathers stopped teaching their sons how to shave and less and less men went to barbers. But men clearly do need to learn to shave as I see so many red and irritated necks!

At The Refinery we have a shaving treatment called the Principles of Shaving, which teaches you how to avoid razor nicks/rashes and achieve the perfect clean shave.”
Deborah Gayle, General Manager of male grooming emporium The Refinery.

The Refinery, London

Final Word

So there you have it, twenty quick and easy to implement tips from industry experts that will help take your current shaving regime to the next level.

Of course, here at FashionBeans we are all about sharing knowledge, so we would love to hear your top shaving tips in the comments section below…