Wednesday, September 14, 2005

All this talk about razors . . .

. . . leads me to provide you with my recipe for the perfect shave.  Here goes:

  • Use a scrub on days when you do not shave.  I only shave every other day and sometimes do not shave at all on weekends.  Do not get any kind of scrub in your eyes — it hurts like hell.  Be sure to use a facial wash before you scrub — follow instructions below.  Also, soak your skin with warm water, apply the scrub with warm water, and rinse with cold water to close your pores  Recommended product: The Art of Shaving Facial Scrub
  • Use a facial wash.  You need to use a wash before you scrub and before you shave.  Soak your skin with warm water, apply the wash with warm water, and rinse with warm water.  Recommended product: The Art of Shaving Facial Wash.
  • Use an oil after washing, but before applying shaving cream.  Why?  Because it is direct lubrication for your skin and softens the hairs.  Recommended product: The Art of Shaving Unscented Pre-Shave Oil.
  • Get a brush and cream that’s made for a brush.  Trust me on this one — if you’ve never tried a brush, it is worth the investment.  Soak the brush in hot water and gently dip it into the tub of brush cream.  A little bit of cream goes a long way.  Apply to your face with circular motions.  I start on my neck and work upwards to allow my neck to have the cream on it longer than the rest of my face.  Recommended products: The Art of Shaving Classic Badger Brush (hey, there’s lots of places that sell brushes, but you need to make sure it’s badger that is used for the hair — you can certainly find more expensive brushes) and The Art of Shaving Unscented Shaving Cream.
  • Use an alum block after you shave.  Wash all of the excess shaving cream off your face with cool water and apply the block over all over your shaved skin before drying your face.  If you’ve never tried this, trust me, it just works.  Recommended product: The Art of Shaving Alum Block (lots of places carry Alum blocks and they last a long time; just be sure to let them dry before you put them back in the plastic case).
  • Apply toner after the alum block.  Just splash it on your face after you’ve dried the water from the alum block.  Recommended product: Kiehl’s Clandula Alcohol-Free Toner (bet you thought it was going to be another The Art of Shaving product, didn’t you?)
  • Apply moisturizer.  Make sure it has a SPF of at least 15.  I do all of the rest of the things I have to do to get ready and then apply moisturizer last; essentially another 5–10 minutes.  Recommended product: Aramis Lab Series for Men Total Face Therapy SPF 15 (there are lots of moisturizers out there — you need to find the one that’s right for your skin).
  • Use a good razor that works for your skin.  I use a Mach 3 Turbo because of the coating on the blades.  Whatever you use, try never to shave against the grain.

A couple of other thoughts:

  • When I travel, I still use Kiehl’s Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream because I do not travel with a brush.
  • I use the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado every day.
  • Anything that makes your skin break out you are allergic to and should stop using.  If you use higher-end products like those described above, you can get most of them at Nordstrom where they will accept a product for return if you get an allergic reaction.
  • Nordstrom is one of the few places you can find Kiehl’s besides the Kiehl’s website.
  • I get significantly longer life out of higher end products than I do out of supermarket products.  For example, I have an alum block that is 2.5 year old, shaving cream with the brush lasts me about 4–5 months, etc.

Everything above is my recipe for the perfect shave.  Your mileage may vary.  Note that although it may seem like it, none of the companies listed here have paid me any sort of promotional dollars to plug their products; I just like the products listed here and if I find something better, I’ll switch. 

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