Should You Shave Before or After You Shower?

Should You Shave Before or After You Shower?

When’s the last time you took a step back and looked at when you shave? It’s easy to fall into a routine of shaving at a specific time every day, especially when you have a packed schedule. But just because your shaving ritual fits neatly between a quick shower and morning coffee doesn’t mean it’s the best time for you to shave.

While shaving post-shower has been touted to deliver the most efficient, enjoyable shave, Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV). Check the shaving forums and you’ll see just as many men exalting a post-shower shave as loathing it, with the latter claiming it sensitizes their skin.

If you find yourself stuck in a shaving rut and experience redness and irritation post shave, reevaluate your timing and take an honest look at what works and what doesn’t. A few changes can turn a monotonous shave into an enlightening one.

Here are the benefits and drawbacks of shaving after you shower and shaving before you shower.

Shaving after you shower

The ideal (i.e. most painless) shave involves removing everything that gets in the way of a clean, slick razor glide. Thus, many men shave after they shower, when their skin is soft and pores are open.

When your hair follicles are dry, they have the cutting density of copper wire, so you should never go at them before first reducing the cutting strength by wetting your beard. Steam from the shower softens hair, making it easier to cut with fewer passes. And an easier cut means less tugging and pulling your skin. Meanwhile, the steam opens pores, allowing you to get in closer to the follicle. Think about it: the tighter the pore, the harder it is to rip hair out of it.

Then there is the bacteria factor: shaving after you shower ensures you’ve let hot water wash away traces of pollutants, dirt, and grime so they can’t be caught in your razor and spread around your face.  This bacteria can easily seep into microtears in your face, causing irritation and razor burn.

Shaving before you shower

While shaving after your shower has a hefty list of benefits, some men say doing so actually causes more irritation and makes their skin sensitive. Indeed, depending on how you like your shower, there is some truth in the matter. If you prefer hot showers, the water may over plump your skin, predisposing you to weepers and nicks. Super hot water actually dries out your skin by removing skin’s natural oils, leaving you with a dry feeling when you shave afterwards.

While the solution is to switch to warm water and perhaps apply pre-shave oil to remedy the dryness, it may not remedy the situation for everyone.

Also, not all of us have time to devote to a luxurious shaving ritual after we shower. Shaving before you shower saves time and the effort of extra clean up at the end.

should you shave before or after your shower?

So which is better?

Although the hair-softening, pore-opening steam of a warm shower is fabulous prep for your shave, your skin has its own needs. Try both methods to see which one gives you less irritation and fewer nicks. You may have been successfully shaving after your shower until now, but as your skin changes (due to age or varying climates) you may find that shaving before your shower works better.

Or pick the routine that suits your daily demands.

If you’re simply short on time and can’t afford to progress slowly through the shaving ritual, save time by shaving before you shower – but with one caveat: complete a hot towel treatment before you shave.

A good alternative: A hot towel treatment

A classic barbershop tool, a hot towel treatment is the mid ground between shaving before you shower and shaving after you shower. If you’re planning to shave before you shower, this treatment will warm and soften skin and hair. While a hot towel isn’t as effective at softening hair as a shower, it does make whiskers swell up. A hot towel won’t remove environmental pollutants and grime.

How to do a hot towel treatment:

  1. Wash your face.
  2. Soak a washcloth in warm water and hold it up to your face for at least 3 minutes, the amount of time it takes to significantly reduce cutting resistance.
  3. If you don’t have a towel on hand, you can also wash your face with warm water for a few minutes before applying shaving cream.
  4. Shave your face.

Tips:

-For extra softening, use moisturizing conditioner on your beard in the shower. Look for one with softening properties, like Dreadnought Concentrated Conditioner.

-Test out your pre-shave shower method: use conditioner before you shave for a week, and then no conditioner for a week. Repeat.

-Beginners can benefit for a post-shower shave in the evening, when they can take their time to perfect their method. 

-Option: exfoliate in the shower to achieve a closer shave. Exfoliation removes dead skin and debris that would otherwise get in the way of a clean shave. However, if you are a novice do not exfoliate until your skin acclimates to daily shaving. If you do exfoliate, do so on the days you’re not shaving.

How to Produce Superlather

superlather

Superlather is an oft-discussed topic in the wet shaving community. Some see it as a waste of time, while others can’t sing enough praises about its lovely whipped consistency and easy customization. In the end, all of us desire lather that provides us with enough cushion, glide, and slickness for minimal irritation, cuts, and nicks. Superlather is one route to consider.

Today, we look at why you should consider adding superlather to your shaving routine.

What is superlather?

Superlather is the technique of combining shaving soap and shaving cream to produce lather. In doing so, you combine the smoothing qualities of shaving soap with the easy-to-lather, slick cushion of shaving cream. The result is a dense, creamy lather similar in consistency to whipped cream that is more beneficial than using soap or cream alone.

What is the point of creating superlather?

There are a few good reasons to give superlather a go:

  1. You own a wonderfully scented soap but its lather leaves much to be desired.

Let’s say you’re taken with Geo. F. Trumper Hard Shaving Soap in Almond, but it won’t give you a lick of lather. Combine that soap with an unscented shaving cream like Truefitt & Hill Ultimate Comfort Shaving Cream and you will have salvaged a soap that might otherwise just sit and collect dust.

  1. You have a soap lacking in one performance area and want to combine it with a complementary product that makes up for this weakness.

For instance, your Acca Kappa LiboCedro Shaving Soap Bowl may offer fantastic glide and lather stability, but you’d like more cushion. Add a small drop of Taylor of Old Bond Street Luxury Shaving Cream Bowl in Sandalwood for a creamy cushion.

  1. You’d like to experiment with scent combinations.

Wet shaving is a pleasure and a hobby. As such, many of us own more soaps and shaving creams than we’d like to admit. One way to get around to using your entire collection is mixing and matching scent combinations. The experimentation process is an adventure, and you end up with a customized scent!

  1. You have hard water.

If you have hard water where you live, lathering with a soap can be near impossible. The high mineral content in hard water reacts with soap, producing insufficient lather. Superlather mitigates this with the addition of shaving cream, which already contains water and is therefore not dependent on water hardness for a good lather.

That being said, we still highly recommend investing in a water softener or purchasing distilled water for shaving purposes. You simply will not get your best shave using hard water. Learn more about how hard water affects shaving here.

Superlather process

To create superlather:

  1. While you’re showering, soak your brush in water.
  2. Place an almond-sized dollop of shaving cream in your shaving bowl.
  3. Load your brush for 30 seconds on the soap.
  4. Build your lather by working the soap and the cream together in the bowl. Swirl the brush using circular motions while monitoring the lather’s consistency. If it’s becoming pasty or dry, add a few drops of water.
  5. You’ll know you’re done when lather starts resembling whipped cream.

Sharpologist: 10 Commandments of Wet Shaving

Think about when you first started wet shaving. You had to figure out which type of blade suited your skin and beard best, how to hold the razor so as to not apply too much pressure, and countless other details that, when mastered, produced the kind of shave that reminded you why you left your cartridge. While there is much helpful information online, it can be a lot to sort through and absorb when you’re just getting started.

Sometimes it’s more effective to have an easy-to-reference guide that gets to the point, especially if you’re just about to embark on a shave. That’s why we wanted to share Sharpologist’s “10 Commandments of Wet Shaving.” For those new to wet shaving, take these tips in stride to better your shave. For veterans, let these commandments remind you of proper form.

And keep in mind that as with any wet shaving advice, YMMV (your mileage may vary). The last commandment reprimands alcohol-based aftershaves, but if your D.R. Harris Aftershave Splash is the only product that’ll reduce redness and acne post-shave, keep at it.

Enjoy!

Via Sharpologist:

  1. Thou Shalt Prepare Thyself Properly

Thoroughly anoint thyself with a gentle facial cleanser and warm water, for cleanliness is next to shaveliness.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Use As Few Blades As Necessary

For more shall tempt the demons of irritation.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Use A Sharp Blade

Those same demons of irritation shalt seek another way to tempt those who are overly parsimonious.

 

  1. Remember To Honor Thy Grain

Knoweth the directions thy stubble grow in.  For knowing thyself is the key to happiness.  But neither shall thou be a slave to it’s mercy, by wielding the correct tool and the correct ways.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Reduce Thy Stubble

For the attempt to eliminate it completely and forever shall surely fail.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Not Overly Stretch Thy Skin

Flattening thy skin shall be rewarded; dramatic stretching is a sign of the disbeliever.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Use The Lightest Possible Touch

For pressure begets depression, which in-turn begets another temptation of the demons of irritation.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Take Thy Strokes Modestly

Remember to honor thy shave by taking short strokes, for long strokes shall forsaken it.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Take Thy Time

For impatience will surely tempt thee to take the Lord’s name in vain.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Not Use Alcohol In Thou’s After Shave Preparation

For such a shaving mélange will do thou no good in the fullness of time.

6 Best Shaving Cream Scents for Fall

Scent is indelibly tied to memory. Perhaps, come autumn, a whiff of tobacco smoke reminds you of your granddad smoking his cigar pipe in his library, or the scent of sandalwood takes you back to crisp autumn hikes with friends during your youth. As the weather cools down and we try our best to get warm, we gravitate towards these familiar smells, and many of us switch our cologne from the light, zesty scents of spring and summer to something headier. It’s also possible to capture scent memories – while making your wet shaving ritual feel ever so seasonal – with a fall shaving cream.

The following six shaving creams feature fragrance accords of the darker, richer variety. Think smoky vetiver, earthy patchouli, and hints of leather and aromatic spices. Give them a try along with warm lather from a shaving scuttle for a comforting fall shave.

Simpsons Shaving Cream – Lavender and Vetivert

If fall conjures up scents of smoky firewood, look for vetiver or vertivert (the essential oil of the vetiver plant) in your shaving cream. Simpsons Shaving Cream in Lavender and Vetivert has an earthy base punctuated with woody, smoky top notes and floral, minty undertones.

The glycerin-based formula contains aloe for an irritation-free shave.

SHOP: Simpsons Shaving Cream – Lavender and Vetivert

Kent Luxury Shaving Soap

Kent Luxury Shave Soap features a beautiful fougère fragrance with a base of heady, rich patchouli lifted by extracts of pine, clove, and lavender. The soap’s fragrance finishes with lasting base notes of nutmeg, cedarwood, vanilla, musk, and sandalwood.

Made from natural lanolin sourced from English sheep wool, this shaving soap is decadently creamy, providing your skin with the extra cushion and moisture it needs as the temperatures and humidity dip.

SHOP: Kent Luxury Shaving Soap

Taylor of Old Bond Street Luxury Shaving Cream Bowl – Sandalwood

Reviewers have called Taylor of Old Bond Street Luxury Shaving Cream Bowl in Sandalwood a “hyper-masculine scent that’s highly addictive.” A year-round bestseller, this shaving cream is particularly beguiling in the fall, boasting a deep fougère fragrance with top notes of lavender, rosemary, liquid amber, and geranium, opening to a heart of fern and orange blossom.

SHOP: Taylor of Old Bond Street Luxury Shaving Cream Bowl – Sandalwood

Castle Forbes Essential Oil Shaving Cream – Cedarwood and Sandalwood

A sophisticated woody fragrance grounded in cedarwood and sandalwood essential oils, Castle Forbes Essential Oil Shaving Cream is distinctly masculine. Thankfully, the scent is quite light so it won’t conflict with any aftershave cologne you apply afterwards.

An ultra-moisturizing formulation of coconut oil and glycerin provides thick, creamy lather for maximum lubrication, and it’s gentle on all skin types.

SHOP: Castle Forbes Essential Oil Shaving Cream

Truefitt and Hill Shaving Cream – Grafton

The gold standard autumnal fragrance, Truefitt & Hill Grafton was formulated in 1983 at the suggestion of one of HMS Grafton’s officers, who while being attended to by a Truefitt’s barber took a liking to the aroma and suggested it be named after the gracious line of HMS battleships.

A classic masculine fougère with a green herbaceous opening, Grafton has a heart of dry, spicy floral resting on a base of rich, woody amber and leather.

Grafton Shaving Cream captures this warm, aromatic scent while soothing your skin with glycerin and coconut oil.

SHOP: Truefitt & Hill Grafton Shaving Cream

RazoRock Zi’ Peppino Shaving Soap

RazoRock Zi’ Peppino Shaving Soap is rife with the scent woody, fresh tobacco flower, topped with a hint of spice. A lightweight fall fragrance, this shaving soap is perfect for gentlemen who don’t like fall fragrances that are too heady. The soap’s consistency lies somewhere in between a shaving cream and shaving soap, so you’ll easy produce mountains of lather. A bonus? The formula is vegan friendly.

SHOP: RazoRock Zi’ Peppino Shaving Soap

%d bloggers like this: