How to Exfoliate Your Face For the Cleanest and Closest Shave

How to Exfoliate Your Face For the Cleanest and Closest Shave

When you head to the bathroom to shave your face, oftentimes the only thought on your mind is removing extra hair. However, there is an important step that you should consider before lathering up your shaving cream. It’s called exfoliation. When you exfoliate, you penetrate pores deeply to remove any outstanding dirt or grease, providing the cleanest shave and healthiest skin.

While this may still be an unfamiliar step to add to your routine, learning how to exfoliate does not have to be hard. Here at Royal Shave, we researched and detailed the best products and techniques to exfoliate your face.

Why should I exfoliate my face?

Exfoliation is important for both men and women who are seeking skin with a healthy glow. Whether it is makeup or a beard on top, you want your face to act as the perfect base.

Most exfoliants come in the form of a scrub with beads or pumice to gently scratch away the top layer of skin. In doing so, you remove buildup of dead skin skills that clog pores and causes skin imperfections. In addition, this process also helps unearth ingrown hairs trapped under the skin.

Therefore, when you exfoliate you leave your skin smoother, softer and more conducive to additional treatments you put on your face.

Why is this important before shaving?

Royal Shave explains how to exfoliate

Photo via Instagram / @royalshave

Exfoliating is especially important before shaving because dead skin cells, oil and other debris can easily clog razors, making them less effective during the process. This can lead to the development of acne and razor burn and cause beard patchiness.

In addition to giving you an uneven shave, this is also bad news for your razor because it will decrease its longevity, dulling blades quicker.

Which exfoliation products work best?

When it comes to choosing products, you should first consider which facial scrub to add to your collection. Depending on your skin type, choose a product that will gently exfoliate without damaging your skin. Next, investing in a brush to apply your shaving cream is useful because it acts as an additional exfoliant.

Choosing an Exfoliator

If you have normal or oily skin, try an exfoliator that utilizes glycolic acid, which works to dissolve the top layer of the skin. This will leave your skin feeling fresher and looking brighter because it encourages cell repair to decrease scarring, discoloration and other complexion imperfections. Billy Jealous Assassin Deep Exfoliating Scrub is the strongest of the brand’s three scrubs. It deeply penetrates and cleans skin impurities, making further treatments more effective.

On the other hand, if you have sensitive or dry skin, glycolic acid may be too strong. Instead, try a gentler option like a product with hydroxy acids. Triumph & Disaster Rock & Roll Suicide Face Scrub is an all natural exfoliator with a woody fragrance. Its blend of volcanic ash and green clay works well to remove sebum from the skin, which causes blackheads.

Choosing a brush

Next, it is important to consider how you will be applying your shaving cream. While your hands are one option, adding a brush to your routine will help evenly distribute the product and provide additional exfoliation. This is because a brush can move product into your skin better than your fingers and dislodge any leftover impurities.

The Simpsons Chubby Best Badger Brush is a great option for lathering and spreading shaving cream with ease. Made from dense badger fur, the brush’s bristles glide across the skin, gently removing anything your exfoliating scrub may have missed.

How do I exfoliate my face?

Royal Shave explains how to exfoliate

Photo via Instagram / @shavingmostho

Now that you have all the information and products ready, it is finally time to exfoliate your face and get to shaving. Following these steps will lead you to the smoothest shave and healthiest skin possible.

  1. Start by opening your pores. This can be achieved through taking a hot shower, washing your face with hot water or using a steamed towel.
  2. Next, wash your face normally with the facial cleanser in your routine.
  3. Use your fingers to apply your exfoliator, rubbing it into your skin in circular motions. Dirt and dead skin should begin to lift away.
  4. Wash the paste away with lukewarm water.

If you are only looking to exfoliate your face, you can stop after this step. To finish this process, you should rinse your face off with cold water to close your pores and apply a light moisturizer to repair any sensitivity caused by scrubbing.

However, if you are combining this process with your shaving routine, continue on with the following steps to maximize exfoliation.

  1. Use your badger brush to lather shaving cream in a bowl.
  2. Apply the shaving cream with your brush in circular motions, pressing firmly against the skin to remove any additional irritants.
  3. Continue on with your shaving routine.

After completing all the steps, your face will be brighter, smoother and you will notice a big improvement in your shaving results.

Royal Shave explains how to exfoliate

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.

%d bloggers like this: