Subtle Shave tips:
I felt like compiling a list of the more subtle lessons that I have been learning with regards to straight razor shaving. If nothing else, I look forward to referring back to much of this information for my own benefit at a later date. I hope it can be helpful to a few others as well.
1) Hand Sanitizer- Besides the obvious application for clean hands, hand sanitizer is essential for eliminating the irritation of your guests face. The alcohol in the sanitizer will help to break-down YOUR natural skin oils that, when forced into a guest’s pores when applying product to their face, can be a significant source of irritation. I apply and re-apply 6-12 times during a shave.
2) New Blades- Depending completely on the type of handle and blades you are using, don’t be stingy with your blades. As it stands right now, I am using the Dovo Shavette and derby blades. I have made a goal to use at least 4 (often times 6) fresh blades on each shave. This has really helped me to recognize the characteristic and feel of the blade and the sensation (good or bad) that it is creating for my guest. Sometimes, a blade just doesn’t feel right even if it’s brand new. Especially in sensitive areas like the mustache, throw it out. For a few extra pennies, get a new blade and keep the standard high.
3) The Trinity of a good shave- I have really started to believe that once you have your skills down, as long as the guest’s face is CLEAN, WARM and LUBRICATED, you can do almost anything you need to do to the skin without destroying it. If any one of these factors begins lacking, address it. Throw on as many hot towels as it takes or re-apply shave lather as often as is needed. I may use around 6-10 towels on a shave and I re-apply product around 5 times to the various areas I shave as I come to them.
4) Toners- Astringents are the standard I know, but they are often harsh and aggressive. Immediately following a shave, the face should be regarded almost as an open wound (of course this is a bit dramatic). It must be healed, soothed and protected. A TONER, especially an alcohol free one, is the first thing that should be used post-shave to restore pH balance and prepare the skin to receive moisture from a balm or lotion.
Obviously, there is much more to an incredible shave, but these are just a few thoughts that have been with me recently.
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