A cut above the rest: How to perfect the traditional wet shave at home
Gentlemen, 2018 is officially the year of the wet shave, so make sure you get it right with Tempus' expert guide
The delicate art of traditional facial hair removal is having a moment this year, after enjoying a boom in popularity as men look to spending more time and money on improving the quality and experience of their morning shave. But if you’re used to putting your beard in the hands of your trusted barber or perhaps your own electrical shaver, just how can you perfect the wet shave at home? Getting it right is actually a lot easier than you think; when it comes to getting the best looking beard using a straight razor at home, the finest results stem from three golden rules: preparation, products and patience. Follow our step-by-step guide and you'll be perfectly groomed (with minimal cuts!) in no time.>>>
The first mistake many men make is to shave before they hit the shower, but warm water actually acts as the perfect skin softener which will hugely reduce your chance of razor burn or shaving rash. Warming the skin and moistening stubborn stubble will soften facial hair and is the reason barbers use hot towels on their clients ahead of a shave. You can recreate that professional barbershop experience at home by mirroring this act - simply wet a clean flannel in hot water and leave it to sit on your cheeks for a few minutes, or hit the shower before you shave.
It’s worth investing in a pre-shave oil which will help to further soften hair. We spoke to master barber Luigi Caterino, Head Trainer for The Bluebeards Revenge grooming brand, to grill him on his top wet shave tips. He advised: “Massage the oil into the skin before the effects of your warm shower or hot towel treatment wear off and your pores start to close back up.” Try Tom Ford Shave Oil which helps protect skin during shaving and soothes the look of irritation.
The last stage of preparation is to lather your favourite shaving cream. “A real shaving cream means your razor will glide across your face with much less resistance. Combine a shaving cream with a shaving brush to help further exfoliate the skin, remove nasty impurities and lift facial hair ready for your razor,” says Luigi. Try Floris Briarwood & Gold Plate 3 Piece Shaving Set, £492.
Luigi says: “Patience is the key to a blemish-free shave. It’s a meticulous process and should not be rushed, especially when using a straight razor.” To perfrom the wet shave you’ll need to invest in an effective straight razor like The Bluebeards Revenge Sabre cut-throat razor, £249.99. Take your straight razor and hold it in your dominant hand, the other hand is used to stretch your skin. Your thumb should be on the underside of the shank, against the shoulder. Your index, middle and ring fingers should be on the opposite side (top) of the shank. The handle should be between your ring and little finger, with the little finder resting on the tang. Some men prefer to have the ring finger on the tang also, but this is a matter of choice. Make sure you are shaving at a 30-degree angle to the skin. Shave with the grain, in short strokes, applying gentle pressure to avoid cuts.
Caring for your skin immediately after you've shaved is just as important as the preparation in achieving a nick free, well groomed result, especially when if you have sensitive skin. Find a post-shave balm like Chanel Bleu de Chanel After shave balm and moisturise it into your skin for a cooling sensation that will leave you feeling refreshed all day long. If you’re prone to cutting yourself, Luigi suggests you invest in an alum block: “An alum block is a great way to help seal the inevitable cuts and nicks that come with regular shaving. Simply wet the block and glide it over cuts. It’ll sting a little, but is a much better alternative to white tissue paper.”