The clean-shaven look can pose challenges: nicks and cuts, shaving rash, the ever-present threat of ingrown hairs. Yet – done properly – a close shave doesn’t have to aggravate your skin. The reward? A clean-cut look you can take anywhere.
What does clean-shaven mean?
Before we start, the goal. A clean shave means no beard, and no stubble: a smooth, close shave that lets your good looks do the talking. Ready? Here’s how to have a clean shave in minutes.
How to get a clean shave in 5 steps
1. Be prepared for a clean shave
Make sure everything you need is on hand the night before, so you can escape the bathroom sooner. Charge your shaver if needed, and make certain that your shaving cream (if going for a wet shave), aftershave and moisturizer are all within reach.
2. Be decisive: Wet or dry?
Now it’s up to you to decide; do you want a wet or a dry shave? With a shaver, dry shaving is more skin-friendly, and less likely to generate nicks and cuts. Wet shaving is refreshing and smooth, as long as you remember the shaving foam. Make your mind up. Don’t hang around in the bathroom for ages, staring at your own reflection, contemplating the meaning of life. Wet or Dry. Flip a coin.
3. Be cool
Wash and rinse your face so that it’s really clean before you reach for your shaver. You don’t want a layer of dirt and sweat lubricating your skin’s pores. But don’t have a hot shower first, otherwise your skin will be hot, puffy, sweating and impossible to shave. Either way, make sure your skin is dry before moving on to the next step.
First, trim any long facial hairs with a trimmer. For a wet clean shave (including in the shower), smooth on some shaving foam or gel. Now you’re ready for action. Using circular movements, start shaving. Go with the grain on your first pass (that means shaving in the direction your facial hair is growing in) then go against the grain afterwards for a closer shave. If your skin is particularly sensitive, stay with the grain.
Remember: Gently pull your skin tight with your free hand to make shaving easier for the shaver blades, but don't overstretch it. You don't need a lot of pressure for a close shave, so try not to press the shaver too hard against your skin. Every 10 to 15 seconds, rinse off the shaver head, even if you're doing a dry shave – this helps clean off dead skin, hair and dirt that can get in the way.
5. Be good
Now for the post-shave recovery. Splash your face with warm water, gently pat it dry and apply some aftershave or moisturizer as needed. Rinse off the wet shaver head, and leave it to air dry before putting on the shaver cap later.
That’s it. Follow these five steps, and you can step out of the house with the cleanest shave there is. And on days when the routine doesn’t appeal, you can always go for the perfect five o’clock shadow. Find out how to master the stubble here.
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