Advanced wet shaving techniques, tricks & tips

August 5, 2014 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Double Edge Shaving, Shaving Tips · Comment 
iStock 000034895654Small Advanced wet shaving techniques, tricks & tips

Using advanced shaving techniques can improve the quality of the overall shave

So you have begun shaving like a man taking down that Bluebeard stubble with a double edge, single edge, or straight razor, but still have some of that pesky stubble hanging around. Or perhaps you have been doing traditional shaving for a while, but are looking to take things to the next level? Today we will look at a handful of techniques that will help you get an even closer shave and take your shaving to the next level.

Skin stretching

First off, a simple and practical practice is skin stretching. You will see this most often practiced by straight razor shavers and barbers. Taking the fingers of your opposite hand, pull gently the skin above the area you are shaving. This creates a more flat surface for the razor to glide over creating a smoother and closer shave.

J-hooking

The J-hook sounds just like it is executed. You could also call it the pivot stroke. Draw the razor down and then swing it very lightly in a j shaped motion. This stroke is helpful for shaving off those little remaining hairs, especially in places where the hair changes direction of growth or in swirls. The stroke can be reversed to an upside down j for the same effect.

Blade buffing

Blade buffing is a very simple technique but a very effective one. Taking the razor, and with an extremely light hand, shave over the spot quickly and repeatedly. Preferably lifting the razor between each stroke. This helps eliminate those last little patches of roughness.

Gillette Slide

The last and most complicated of the techniques is called the “Gillette Slide”. It is named such for the technique comes from printed instructions included with Gillette razors manufactured around the middle of the past century. To perform the slide pull down the razor and forward at the same time. Be most careful to pull down as you pull across, otherwise you will slice a line on your face, an unpleasant experience to be sure. The Slide creates the same effect as a slant razor both slicing and cutting at the same time. This increases the efficiency of the stroke especially among varying hair growth patterns. In order for me to achieve a close shave on my neck around the Adam’s Apple, this is the stroke I use.

So now that you are shaving like a boss, you can take your shave to the next level with these techniques. Whether you use the j-hook, buffing, or slide, just remember keep a light hand and Smooth Shaving!

> Simple shaving techniques & tips

Ask Aaron Q/A: The Feather AS-D1 vs The Feather AS-D2

July 21, 2014 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Safety Razors · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: The Feather AS D1 vs The Feather AS D2

Aaron is asked a question about the differences between the Feather AS-D1 and AS-D2

Scott Allread, from the UK, asks:

“What is the difference between the Feather AS-D1 and AS-D2?”

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Feather AS-D2 Double-Edge Razor (Stainless Steel)

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Allread,

After doing some research here is what I was able to find on the variances between the AS-D1 and AS-D2. The D1 is the first model of the Feather to come out. It is regarded as an extremely mild shaving razor, with some complaints of it being too mild and some people having a hard time shaving with it, where as others rave about it. So, there seems to be some variances there. However, the fact remains that the D1 is a very gentle razor. The D2 is the second incarnation of the Feather All Stainless, with most folks agreeing that it shaves much better than the D1, not being as mild. There are also some slight physical differences in the handle and in the base. Thanks for the great question!

Smooth shaving!
Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: My shaving cream & soap dries out before I finish shaving

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: My shaving cream & soap dries out before I finish shaving

Aaron is asked a question about how to prevent shaving soap or shave cream from drying out before the shave is completed

Paul Martin, from the UK, asks:

“Been double edge shaving for a couple of months now. Still working on my technique and finding the best shaving products to suit my skin type. A problem I have most days is that my shaving soap or shave cream is drying out too much before I finish each pass? This is giving me some problems on the neck and lip which I shave last. Any ideas?”

shaving cream face Ask Aaron Q/A: My shaving cream & soap dries out before I finish shaving

Shaving cream can dry out before the second pass

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Martin,

First off, welcome to the world of wet shaving! I would make sure you are adding enough water when building your lather, a dry lather will obviously dry out faster than a properly hydrated one, and give problems in those areas.

You can always re-lather those areas before shaving them, to make sure the lather is the best it can be to protect your face.

Also, if you have a fan in the bathroom you might want to try turning it off while you shave, the extra wind will dry out your lather. Hope this helps, and let me know if you still are having trouble and we’ll go from there!

Keep it smooth!

Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: The best ways to lather Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap

July 17, 2014 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Shaving Creams, Shaving Tips · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: The best ways to lather Mitchells Wool Fat Shaving Soap

Aaron is asked a question about the best ways to lather Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap

Luke Cressey, from the UK, asks:

“Hello, could you please give any tips on how to use Mitchell’s wool fat hear some people find it difficult to use and any tips on someone new to using shaving soap. Thank you for your time and help.”

6fe614296493def2bcef67580a9cf26c 300x300 Ask Aaron Q/A: The best ways to lather Mitchells Wool Fat Shaving Soap

Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap and Ceramic Bowl (120g)

AARON SAYS

“Mr Cressey,

Yes! Mitchell’s does have the reputation of being a little difficult to lather. For MWF it helps to soak the puck in water while you shower to help soften the soap (roughly 5 minutes or so).

Soak your brush and shake it out well before lathering, the drier bristles will help pick up a bit more soap. Load the brush well with soap, swirling on top of the puck for a good 15-30 seconds.

Try loading the brush upside down as well: hold the soap above the brush and load with the bristles up.

Loading upside down helps to feed soap into the middle of the brush where the lather making magic happens.

For these tips and some great visuals, check out my friend Mantic59′s video on this exact subject. http://youtu.be/_MGLi_m9n_s?list=UUH95TR4r8JNRgLG1T1FVXhg

Happy Shaving!

Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: Beard shaping – Mach 3 Razor vs Double Edge Safety Razor

June 25, 2014 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Double Edge Shaving, Shaving Tips · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: Beard shaping   Mach 3 Razor vs Double Edge Safety Razor

Aaron is asked a question about the best ways to shape a beard using a double edge safety razor

Saby Sambhi, from the UK, asks:

“Hey Aaron, I have recently graduated to a DE safety razor from a Gillette Mach 3. I have a Merkur 34c razor, Edwin Jagger super badger hair brush and Taylor of Old Bond street almond shaving cream.

So far the shaves have been amazingly close but I am having issues with shaping my beard. The razor works great shaving large areas such as my neck but I can’t see where I am shaving for the intricate areas due to the thickness of the cream and this is leading to shaping mistakes.

Can you please advise the best way to address this? Previously with my Mach3 I was able to to cover the areas requiring detail with a thin layer of soap allowing me to see where I am going and due to the relatively benign nature of the blades this provided adequate protection and lubrication but I feel a DE razor will be too aggressive for this approach?

Any help is greatly appreciated! Many thanks, Saby.”

IMG 2104 edit 300x200 Ask Aaron Q/A: Beard shaping   Mach 3 Razor vs Double Edge Safety Razor

A double edge razor is a great tool for shaping a beard

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Saby,

Actually the same approach you used with the Mach 3 you can apply with the Merkur. What I recommend (and I do myself) is to take your finger and gently wipe away the majority of the lather, leaving behind a thin layer. The thin layer will give you the protection and glide you are looking for and still give you good visibility! Another thought would be to use a shavette such as a Dovo or Bluebeard’s “cut-throat” to do the fine work. Both methods work equally well and should give you the results you are looking for!

Smooth Shaving!
Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: How to prevent razor bumps for men who are African-Caribbean

June 25, 2014 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Razor burn, rash & bumps · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: How to prevent razor bumps for men who are African Caribbean

Aaron is asked a question from an African-Caribbean man on the best ways to combat razor bumps

Osa Omo, from the UK, asks:

“As an African-Caribbean man who suffers from painful razor bumps caused by ingrowing hairs how often should I shave? Every day, every other day, once a week or perhaps once a month?”

razor bumps Ask Aaron Q/A: How to prevent razor bumps for men who are African Caribbean

Razor bumps are very painful

AARON SAYS

“Mr Omo,

I would have you shave as often you feel that your beard needs it. There is not hard and fast rule saying you have to shave every day or every other day. It is up to your face and your judgement on how it feels and when you should shave. I will say that for Afro-Caribbean men especially it helps to shave with a double edge or single edge razor. Shaving at the surface of the skin, as opposed to pulling the hair and releasing it under the skin as cartridge razors do, goes a very long way in preventing ingrown hair. So in final answer it is not how often that matters most, but what tools you use that will help you the most.

Smooth Shaving!
Aaron”

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How to shave properly with a double edge safety razor – Simple shaving techniques & tips

June 13, 2014 · Posted in Double Edge Shaving, Shaving Tips · Comment 
les shaving How to shave properly with a double edge safety razor   Simple shaving techniques & tips

Shaving with a double edge safety razor should be an enjoyable experience

So often the questions that come to us here at The Shaving Shack are from gents, and sometimes ladies, new to the wet shaving experience. They ask for information regarding a more luxurious way to take care of themselves, information on how to start wet shaving, however most often the questions revolve around improving their current shaving regimen. Bits and pieces of information have been shared in our Question and Answer section but we thought a more comprehensive review of technique was in order.

Grain direction

First we address the topic of shaving “with the grain”. Shaving “with the grain” means following the direction of hair growth with your razor. For instance, if the hair on your upper lip grows straight down towards your mouth you would shave towards your mouth from your nose to shave with the grain. The importance of following the direction of hair growth lies in the ease of cutting the hair. It causes less distress to the hair, hair follicle, and skin underneath while also offering the path of least resistance. Following this technique if your skin in prone to breaking out with spots or ingrown hairs is especially helpful.

Passes

Discussion of grain direction leads us into the next technique of reducing the beard by separate “passes”. Often you will see these passes referred to as “with the grain, across the grain, and against the grain.” Following the order of passes serves to reduce the hair in steps to get as close to the surface of the skin as possible. Going with the grain we discussed above. Shaving at a 90 degree angle, or perpendicular to the direction of growth will follow a path across the grain. Shaving in the reverse direction of growth goes against the grain. Often you see debate as to whether this last step is necessary, however most folks will find that shaving against the grain will top off their shave with the smoothest finish. If you find that your skin is sensitive, or you are new to wet shaving, leaving off this last pass until you are comfortable with the technique and blade angle is advisable.

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A safety razor will give you a much close shave than a multi bladed cartridge razor

Blade angle

Speaking of blade angle, what is a good angle to hold one’s razor? The first caveat being if you are using a disposable cartridge razor, the angle of the blades is pre-set and you need not worry about it. However to those shaving with double edge razors such as The Bluebeards Revenge Scimitar, Merkur 37c, or other fine razors this matters a great deal. Too shallow an angle and you are not taking off as much beard as you can, too much and you end up scraping skin instead of cutting hair! Neither outcome is advisable! If measured out properly the angle comes out to somewhere close to 30 degrees. However different razors can have differently shaped heads and this angle can differ. The best way we have found is to hold the razor with the handle sticking out perpendicular to your face, and as you slide the razor gently down your face I sharpen the angle so the blade edge nears the hair. When you feel the blade edge begin to catch and cut the hair you have found the correct angle.

Pressure

Hand in hand with this is pressure. No one likes pressure at work, home, and especially when a razor sharp blade is against your face. Unless perhaps you’re 007! Using as little pressure as possible no matter your choice in the style of razor is best practice. Because of the hinge on most cartridge razors more pressure will be needed than for a double edge razor, however a light hand will still go a long ways. “What kind of pressure is too much or too little?” We hear you ask? Allow the razor to just set on your face with its natural weight and letting gravity draw it in the direction of your pass is the easiest gauge.

chris2 How to shave properly with a double edge safety razor   Simple shaving techniques & tips

These basic techniques will help set your shaving for smooth success!

Another small piece of technical advice that will help you on your journey is to keep you arm straight, locking your wrist, and use the movement of your whole arm to control the razor. This will help you control angle, pressure, and prevent painful gouges. (Ouch!) These basic techniques will help set your shaving for smooth success! And smooth is what we are after, right? Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more in depth looks at wet shaving technique in articles to come.

Ask Aaron Q/A: The best double edge razor blades for sensitive skin

April 2, 2014 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Double Edge Shaving · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: The best double edge razor blades for sensitive skin

Aaron is asked a question about the best double edge razor blades for guys with sensitive skin

Blair Valentine-Purnell, from the UK, asks:

“I recently got a double edge safety razor to help with my ingrowing hair problems and have had quite a bit of success- as long as I don’t leave it too long between shaves- but do suffer from a little bit of skin irritation afterwards. Are there any particular double edge razor blades that are better for sensitive skin?”

f311536a6b564e2c8d111f9e7974c11d Ask Aaron Q/A: The best double edge razor blades for sensitive skin

Lord Super Chrome Double Edged Razor Blades

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Valentine-Purnell,

While not specifically designed for sensitive skin, there are razor blades that would be more suited for a sensitive face. Firstly, I would not recommend Feathers because they are extremely sharp and unforgiving for mistakes.

However, look for blades that have a Teflon coating, this tends to make a smoother shave. (keeping things smooth and sticky-free was what Teflon was designed for after all!). Try the Gillette, Astra, black label Israeli, and Lord super chrome blades.

If you can find them Polsilver blades are very smooth, however they are rumored to be out of production. These have all given me good success and good shaves. It will take some trial and error to find the right one for you.

Happy shaving!

Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: The best sandalwood colognes

April 2, 2014 · Posted in Aftershave, Ask Aaron Q & A · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: The best sandalwood colognes

Aaron is asked a question about the best sandalwood colognes

Paul Johnson, from the UK, asks:

“Which sandalwood cologne is best – GF Trumper, DR Harris or Taylor of Old Bond Street? Also which brand does the best shaving cream and shaving soap? Thirdly, is skin food worth buying? Thank you.”

989c1c43f80adfb4d7033c0d7a4ce789 Ask Aaron Q/A: The best sandalwood colognes

Taylor of Old Bond St Sandalwood Aftershave Cologne (100ml)

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Johnson,

I have to say, the following is my opinion but after trying products from these companies the Trumper Sandalwood is my favorite cologne. Taylor in my opinion has the best shaving cream, and D. R. Harris and GF Trumpers are tied for their soaps.

The Skin Food from Trumpers is top notch and a favorite aftershave of mine. The Sandalwood is excellent and many gents like the Coral as well. In all actuality I don’t think you could go wrong with any of these companies products, but this is how they rank for me.

Cheers and Smooth shaving! Aaron.”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: How to shave around a mole, spot or pimple

March 26, 2014 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Double Edge Shaving, Shaving Tips · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: How to shave around a mole, spot or pimple

Aaron is asked a question about the best ways to shave around a mole, spot or pimple

Paul Ewing, from the UK, asks:

“Using a double edge safety razor, how do you shave over moles without cutting?”

clean shaven man mirror mature 300x282 Ask Aaron Q/A: How to shave around a mole, spot or pimple

A good shaving technique is essential

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Ewing,

The easy answer is: very carefully. However with the different types and shapes of moles it’s not quite that easy. A light hand and careful technique going over the mole should guide you if you can shave over it. If it is substantial enough just shave round it and clipper the hair growing out of it. If the mole bothers you enough they can be removed via your dermatologist but that’s entirely up to you. A good slick lather, a light hand, and good technique should be your solution to handling that pesky mole!

Smooth shaving! Aaron”

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