Have you been interested in using a traditional straight razor and shaving brush, but been slightly intimidated by the seemingly complicated process? Using a shaving brush is actually much easier than it might appear. Yes, your first few tries might be messy (those cuts from your first attempts may become proud battle wounds); however, this shouldn’t deter your from investigating your options when it comes to using an old-school shaving brush. So whether you’re simply just curious as to how shaving brushes work or you’re ready to take the plunge and try it for yourself, here are a few quick tips that will help you get off on the right foot. Although your first few tries may be messy (and even comical), with a little practice and the right brush, you’ll be a pro in no time.
Hot Water Is Your Best Friend
Before you even begin to put the brush to your face, there are a few things you need to do beforehand to prep both the brush and your skin. First, soak the brush in hot (not warm or lukewarm—it must be hot) water for a couple of seconds. The moisture absorbed by the brush is what interacts with your shaving gel to create the perfect lather. Yet before you get to that step, there are still a few more things that you need to do. You’re probably familiar with the practice of barbers soaking their clients’ faces with a hot towel before shaving, right? This step isn’t just a luxury; the reason barbers do this is to open up the pores of the skin, which simultaneously moisturizes the skin and softens bristly facial hair. So before you begin to even use your shaving brush, soak your face with a hot towel. Another option is to shave immediately after showering. Whichever you decide to do, absolutely don’t skip out on this important step.
Drain and Dip the Brush
Next, tilt your brush upside down to allow excess water to drain from the bristles. After you’ve done this, carefully dip just the tip of the brush into a shaving gel that is glycerin-based (this is critical). Gently swirl the brush back and forth until the gel begins to lather; make sure that only the tip of the brush is being covered with the latherl. After you’ve done this, you’re ready to apply the lather to your face. Simply apply the lather by using vertical, up-and-down strokes until your entire beard is covered; avoid rough strokes that can irritate your skin. Shaving brushes that are well made will make this step easy; if you’re using a cheap brush, however, you may encounter difficulties. It’s critical that you make sure that you lather your face evenly; too much lather on one side or too little on one side will result in an uneven shave. Don’t rush this step, especially if it’s your first time. Take a few extra minutes to ensure that the lather is spread evenly across your face. After this, you’re ready to begin shaving.