While your beard once seemed like a good idea when the leaves were falling and 70% of your wardrobe consisted of long-sleeved plaid shirts, we’re willing to bet it’s feeling a little more stuffy now. When it’s hot and humid outside, the last thing you want is an extra layer of insulation. So around this time of year, many men make the decision to do away with their winter coats.
But before you touch that razor, there are a few considerations you should take into account. Since you spent at least couple of months growing that thing, unfortunately you can’t just shave everything off and expect your face to look exactly as it did pre-beard.
To ensure a seamless transition into a smooth, clean-shaven summer, read on for tips on how to shave your beard off with minimal discomfort, with a few portions abridged from Mike Gilman, founder of Groominglounge.com, via Men’s Journal.
What to expect: Differently colored skin under the beard
Should you get a fair amount of sun exposure pre-shave, there’s a chance that once your beard comes off, the skin underneath will look ghostly pale in comparison. The only short-term solution may be cosmetics – Gilman recommends borrowing your wife’s tinted moisturizer for a day to blend the two skin zones together.
If you’d rather not go near the vanity, we suggest you suck it up for a day or two – the lighter skin will pick up pigment once you spend some time in the sun.
What to expect: Having to trim before you shave
You shouldn’t take off your beard in one go. In fact, if your beard is longer than half an inch, trying to do so could give you lots of nicks and cuts, because the razor will fill up with long hair and end up pulling on your skin and hair. To make things easier, first whittle your beard down with scissors or a trimmer. This will make your razor far more effective, and save you some collateral damage.
What to expect: Prep work for the smoothest shave possible
The best time to shave is right after the shower, when the natural steam will open up your pores and make your hair softer. Always shave with the grain, and use a razor that won’t tug on skin – we recommend the Merkur 34C HD Chrome Plated Safety Razor or the Dovo Best Quality, Half Hollow Carbon Steel, 5/8”, both of which are top-rated razors on RoyalShave.
Gilman says to “choose a quality shaving oil to ensure a smoother razor glide and less friction.” Our recommendation? Proraso Pre-Shave Cream in Menthol and Eucalyptus never fails to soften your beard, and can actually be used after your shave as a moisturizer.
What to expect: Dry skin after your beard comes off
For a while, the skin that was under your beard will be drier than the rest of your face. So the first couple of post-beard shaves can be tricky. To minimize irritation and inflammation once you put razor to face, use a thick, lather-rich shaving cream (like Taylor of Old Bond Street Luxury Shaving Cream Bowl) and finish with a hydrating post-shave product (like Piccadilly Shaving Co. Sandalwood Aftershave Cream).
Feel free to overcompensate with post-shave creams and lotions, since your dehydrated skin will drink them right up. Try to avoid aftershaves with alcohol as they’ll sting and dry out your skin even further.
And if you’re one to think ahead, when fall rolls around in a few months, apply beard oil to your beard daily. Beard oil is your most effective tool for moisturizing your beard and the skin underneath, so your entire facial hair region will be in good shape. Try Grave Before Shave Beard Oil, which moisturizes and prevents dandruff.
What to expect: Unwillingness to part with the beard
If you’re attached to your beard, there’s no need to completely do away with it. Gilman suggests going to a barber for a comely trim, so you can have your beard without breaking into a sweat constantly.