From Bathroom to Barbershop: Four Professional Barber Tips to Try at Home

From Bathroom to Barbershop: Four Professional Barber Tips to Try at Home

Hot Towels

Arguably one of the best parts of visiting a barber is the hot towel service. Nothing is more luxurious or satisfying for the start of your prep routine like a nice hot towel. Recreating a hot towel service at home is simple- all you need is a towel and a bowl of hot water or towel warmer.

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Photo via Instagram/ @akinbarber

Start by grabbing a small towel. To get a relaxing experience place 2-3 drops of an essential oil like lavender, eucalyptus, or sandalwood on the towel at this step. Thoroughly wet the towel with water and ring out the excess with your hands. Next, fold the towel in half and roll it up like a sushi roll. Place the damp towel in a towel warmer or warm water A microwave can be used to warm the towel, too. We recommend about 30 sec. Always use caution and test the hot towel on the inner part of your forearm before placing the towel on your face or neck.

Once the towel reaches your desired level of warmth, apply the towel to your face and hold it there until it starts to cool. If you’ve applied essential oils, take some deep breaths and relax, oils like lavender are relaxing while sandalwood is a memory booster. Once the towel cools down, set it aside to use again at the end of your shave.

For more information on hot towels, head over to How to DIY a Barbershop Hot Towel Treatment at Home.

Dry Your Hair Like a Pro

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One of the biggest hair health mistakes most people make is the way they dry their hair. Most shampoo commercials would have you believe that the best way to dry your hair is to vigorously rub your head with a towel. Vigorously rubbing hair while wet can roughen the cuticle of hair, causing frizz. This can lead to permanent damage, like split ends or breakage  

To dry your hair like a professional, start by taking handful sized sections of hair with your towel and gently squeezing the water out. Repeat small section by section until you’ve dried your entire head. At this point your hair is about 50-75% dry, which is the perfect time to add styling product.

Maintaining Your Neck Line

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Nothing makes a haircut look more unkempt than a messy neckline. After a visit to the barber, your neckline will be clean with no hairs along your neck. However, maintaining a clean neckline between visits to the barber chair is a an extra step you can take keep looking sharp.

The most important thing to remember when you are maintaining your own neckline is to make sure you don’t cut into the hair line. The hair line is the line that separates your hair from your neck. Avoid the hair line and only cut the hairs that appear below the hairline on your neck.

Prior to shaving you will need a few supplies- a hot towel, shaving cream, and a sharp razor. Start by applying a hot towel to your neck. After the towel cools, remove it and apply a shave cream like Geo F. Trumper Soft Shaving Cream. Now you are all set to shave your hairline. Just remember to shave with the grain.

Shave Like a Master Barber

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Getting a professional shave is a wonderful and luxurious experience. Master barbers spend years perfecting their craft, and their life is dedicated to the art of men’s grooming. Even if your barbering skills are not at a professional level you can incorporate professional techniques into your own shave routine.

The art of shaving takes precision, so make sure you have enough time set aside to be precise. Start with prepping the hair and skin with a pre-shave oil like Truefitt and Hill Ultimate Comfort Pre-Shave Oil. Pre-shave oil softens the hair and allows a smooth surface for your shave cream.

When it is time to apply a shave cream use a brush. Shaving brushes lift the hairs away from your face which allows for a closer shave and prevents ingrown hairs. When you have finished your shave, take the hot towel you had used prior and apply the now cold towel to your face. This will close your pores and soothe your skin, reducing redness, post shave irritation, and acne. Finish up your shave with a splash of aftershave for disinfection and a light moisturizer to keep your skin smooth and you’re ready for your day.

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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.

Best of the Web: September 2015

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Happy Labor Day weekend! Sit back, put your feet up, and dig into the top stories for the first weekend of September. From what might be Canada’s first bearded prime minister in over 100 years to the gorgeous new Bugatti, we’ve got you covered.

Read on for September’s Best of the Web!

  1. The seven best shaving tips for men. If it’s ever been a debate whether to shave with or against the grain, see Tip #4 – even the FDA recommends shaving with the grain! (Crave Online)
  2. Bearded Canadian NDP leader Thomas Mulcair might be making history if he becomes Prime Minister – he’ll be the first bearded Prime Minister in over 100 years. Digital Journal had some fun with this by Photoshopping his beard off for comparison. What do you think – better bearded or without? And does having a beard make you regard him differently? (Digital Journal)
  3. We’re excited for the fall movie season. Here are the 11 best movies coming in September. (Esquire)
  4. The new Bugatti Chiron, with a price tag of $2.5 million, has some impressive specs: 1,480 horsepower and 1,106 lb.-ft. of torque, with a top speed of 288 MPH. Because the Veyron wasn’t fast or expensive enough. (Esquire)
  5. Got a long commute or just want to learn something new in your spare time? See the Art of Manliness’ 24 podcast recommendations. (The Art of Manliness)
  6. Partaking in this season’s Chelsea boot trend? GQ has a buyer’s guide so you look sleek. (GQ)
  7. A handy breakdown of butterfly razors vs. two-piece razors vs. three-piece razors. (Grooming Artist)

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Shaving Myths Debunked: Does Wet Shaving Cost More Than Cartridge Razor Shaving?

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There is a lot of confusion out there regarding shaving. Every man shaves differently. Some of us use shaving soap, some prefer shaving creams, and some don’t use anything at all (though we don’t recommend the latter). There are also several types of razors – disposable, cartridge, double-edged, straight.

The sheer magnitude of options has given way to popular assumptions and myths. Since we’re here to help you achieve the most satisfying shave possible, we’re starting a series called “Shaving Myths Debunked,” in which we uncover the truth behind everything you’ve heard.

First in the series is a myth we encounter on a very frequent basis – that wet shaving costs more than cartridge razor shaving.


Myth: Wet shaving costs more than shaving with cartridge razors.

Busted: Quite the contrary – wet shaving is far more economical.

Let’s break this down: as of this blog post publication, a 4-Pack of Gillette Fusion Proglide cartridges costs $17.79 on Amazon, or $4.45 per cartridge. Meanwhile, a 5-Pack of double-edged blades from esteemed wet shaving brand Derby costs $1.75, or 35 cents per blade (blade prices vary and decrease if bought in bulk). A blade lasts about a week. Replacing the Derby blades weekly would come out to $18.20 per year.

While Gillette claims its cartridges last for 5 weeks, if you’ve ever shaved with one of these razors, you know comfort levels usually dip around week 2. Replacing a Proglide cartridge every two weeks for a year would cost $115.70, or nearly 6.5 times the cost of using the Lord Precision blades. Even if you replaced your razor cartridge monthly and braved the burn, you would be paying $53.40 per year, which is still about 3 times the cost of the double-edged blades.

Something else to consider:

Double-edged razors are built to last a lifetime – you can find 80-year-old, fully functioning double-edged razors out there.

Because they are so well made, double-edged razors and straight razors are far more eco-friendly than disposable razors or cartridge razors. Just think about how many razors/cartridges you’ll be throwing away in a lifetime (left to accumulate in a landfill) vs. replacing a straight razor or double-edged razor a few times at most.

In the end, you have to make a choice between quantity and quality.

GOT A QUESTION ABOUT SHAVING?

Whether you’re hirsute or clean shaven, we’re here to answer all your grooming questions! Leave your question in the comments below and we will consider it for a future post.

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