Technique: Beard Prep

My shaving technique is the combination of several ideas and steps that I’ve gleaned from various websites and videos. Today I’ll share my beard prep steps.

One of the important aspects of wet shaving with a double edge razor is making sure your whiskers are ready to be cut. You don’t just go at them. They’ve got to be prepped. Made ready. They need to be gently brought to that state where they wait with eager anticipation for your blade to lop them off. Here are my steps.

  1. A hot shower. In addition to the primary benefit of cleaning your body and making you smell better, a hot shower is an opportunity to wash your face with soap and hot water. The hot water opens your pores and washing your face softens your whiskers, making them pliable and compliant in the cutting process.
  2. Don’t dry your face. When you dry off after your shower, don’t dry your face. Let the whiskers stay wet which keeps them soft and reduces irritation from rubbing your face with your towel.
  3. Re-wet your face with hot water. After the shower, the next step of prepping for the shave is filling up a small bowl (or shaving mug) with hot water and dropping in my brush. While it gets nice and saturated, I splash hot water from the tap on my face and neck while I let the sink fill with hot water.
  4. The right amount of water and soap. A good lather is worth its own post but a simple approach is that if your brush has been soaking, pull it out of the water, let the water drip off, and then give it three taps or flicks. That should leave just about the right amount of water on the brush to give you a good lather.
  5. Lather away. Don’t skimp. You don’t have to make a Santa Clause beard with your lather, but it shouldn’t be a dry, light layer either. Massage and work the lather in brisk circular motions. Flatten the brush and swirl away. The brush helps exfoliate your skin, raise the whiskers and leaves them standing at attention, ready to yield to your blade.

Someone reading these steps might conclude that it’s almost too much. Each detail is taken too seriously. But remember, a good shave is something to be savored and relished, something that takes time and can’t be rushed. Your face will thank you!

-MTB

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