A Beginner's Guide To Wet Shaving
Many are drawn to the act of wet-shaving, and for very good reason.
As one of the oldest recognized versions of hair removal, the traditional straight razor wet shave is rooted in our history—but its age and staying power have made it a mainstay in the grooming routines of men across the world.
In terms of effectiveness, the wet shave is a winning choice for men's grooming, made all the better by the striking appearance of the act and the classic nature of the ritual. Despite how it may look to those unacquainted with wet shaving, the wet shave is actually much less challenging than one would originally expect.
While our barbers at Truefitt & Hill locales across the world are happy to perform a signature wet shave on you, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to perform a traditional wet shave on yourself using our techniques.
Whether you're looking to begin a grooming regimen with panache, or merely add yet another considerable skill to your repertoire, here's how to perform a wet shave using either a classic straight razor or modernized safety razor.
1. The soak
To soften the hair and skin and hydrate it correctly for the razor, you must wet it with warm water. Begin by applying a warm towel, and avoid scrubbing or exfoliating too vigorously ahead of time to prevent any irritation before using a straight razor.
For a thorough cleansing ahead of the razor, we recommend using a gentle soap on your face and neck— a fine choice is Truefitt & Hill's Daily Facial Cleanser, which is formulated to be non-irritating and ideal for sensitive skin.
2. The pre-shave prep
Beyond wetting the skin, preparation of the skin ahead of your wet shave is essential for success. This stage is important for further hydrating and plumping skin to ensure a smooth, easy canvas for the razor.
Some men find applying a pre-shave oil or lotion to be helpful in creating a sufficiently conditioned starting point for their shave. Truefitt & Hill's own Pre-Shave Oil is a shaving favourite for its moisturizing and skin-healing abilities—effective for softening the skin as well as the hair ahead of removal. Unlike many oils that are too thick, the consistency of our Pre-Shave Oil will not clog your razor—essential for maintaining a close shave.
3. The shaving cream
While many men instinctually reach for aerosol cans of shaving cream, a shaving cream bowl is a superior choice for it's lathering properties. A rich lather is essential in preparing a cushioning barrier between razor and skin, allowing for a smoother, closer shave that won't catch and subsequently lead to cuts. Truefitt & Hill's Shaving Cream Bowls are especially good choices in this scenario, as they contain glycerin which makes for a more generous lather than alternatives.
Whether you choose a mug, or traditional bowl, you can use a shaving brush to administer your chosen shaving cream to your face. This not only creates great lather, but it lifts the hairs of the face to provide a close shave.
4. The shave
An important piece of shaving wisdom to remember is that a sharp razor is safer than a dull razor, as you don't have to press nearly as firmly to receive a close shave. Truefitt & Hill's razor offerings are numerous, and include safety options like Fusion, Mach III, and Double Edged—all of which have removable cartridges for periodic replacement. Truefitt & Hill also offers finely crafted Dovo straight razors and sharpening strops to match—essentials for those looking to maintain a precise blade on a straight shave.
Be gentle as you become more accustomed to your razor's weight and sharpness. When shaving, even though your first inclination for a close shave might be to go against the grain, this can lead to irritation and razor burn— it's best to go with the grain of your hair for a more comfortable shave. Try your best to minimize the number of passes the razor needs over each part of the skin, as repeated passes can lead to razor burn and irritation. Allow for slight overlap between passes, and if you miss a spot, you can always re-lather and re-shave as needed toward the end.
5. The aftermath
Your grooming ritual shouldn't end with the razor. Once you finish your shave, complete your regimen with a cool rinse to clean off any excess cream, and then a soothing aftershave. Truefitt & Hill's Aftershave Balms contain lanolin and aloe vera, leaving behind a light scent—a grand way to finish your shaving regime
There you have it—an introduction to the classic wet shave. Whether it's a closer shave, an enviable skill or a return to historic grooming tradition that you crave, you're sure to find it within this ritual.