We are avid fans of Michael Ham, the author of Leisureguy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving, and one of the methods he advocates for finishing up your shave is the polishing pass. The idea is that once you’re done with your last pass (ATG), there’s one more step you can throw in to get rid of every last trace of stubble.
The polishing pass can be done with water, but you’ll get better, smoother results using shave oil or pre-shave oil. Keep in mind not to do the polishing pass over any irritated areas, and most certainly not over razor bumps.
How to do the oil pass:
During your shave, let your shave oil sit in warm water so it’s nice and pleasant when you apply it later.
After your shave, coat your wet beard area with a thin layer of shave oil (like Brooklyn Grooming Commando Shaving Oil). Using your non-dominant hand, feel your face for remaining stubble. Begin a process called blade buffing: do short ATG strokes with light pressure, without lifting the blade as you move it back and forth.
Repeat this process anywhere you feel rough spots.
When you’re finished, simply rinse your face and dry as usual, following up with an aftershave to seal in the moisture for a nice post-shave conditioner.
A note on the types of oil you can use:
Any shave oil or pre-shave oil will do for a polishing pass. While marketed for use before a shave, pre-shave oils can be used post-shave. They also tend to be lightweight and contain fatty acids that protect your skin’s lipid barrier.
If your pores clog easily or you are prone to acne, look for non-comedogenic oils like argan oil, shea butter, sunflower oil, and castor oil.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, if your skin is dry or sensitive you may want to consider mineral oil, which is an odorless, ultra-effective moisturizer that doesn’t cause allergic reactions . Johnson’s Baby Oil is a good choice for a gentle oil to use during the oil pass.
SHOP: 1. Taylor of Old Bond Street Pre-Shave Oil, 2. Jack Black Epic Moisture MP10 Nourishing Oil, 3. St. James of London Pre-Shave Oil, 4. The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil, 5. Brooklyn Grooming Commando Classic Shave Oil.