Killing two birds with one stone isn't always advisable. Driving and filling out March Madness brackets, for instance, aren’t two things you want to do at the same time. Same with cycling and meditating. Or running a 10K while cutting out paper dolls. But we checked, and—assuming Skyfall's Naomie Harris doesn't magically appear to help you out—combining showering and shaving is one scenario where multi-tasking actually works. Here’s the why and how, as explained by master barber Diane Wood Zuccato.
1. Recognize the reasons. “The benefits include continuous hydration, soothing relaxation and a steady stream of water to keep the razor clean and warm,” says Zuccato. What’s more, the hot water will serve to relax your facial muscles and prepare the area to be shaven (assuming you’re not one of those Spartans/masochists who showers in cold water). Plus, shaving in the shower reduces razor burn. “The steam will open your pores and soften skin and hair, which allows for a better, closer shave.” On the back end, it’ll also reduce your cleanup time and please your wife or girlfriend, because you won’t be leaving those little hairs all over the bathroom sink. (This should also please your live-in French maid.)
2. Take your time. Of course, you’re only going to reap the rewards of these benefits if you do it the right way and nail it on every attempt, like some sort of semi-robotic Eastern European ice dancer. So here are a few tips. First, spend a few minutes in the shower doing other things. This is because it takes three to five minutes for stubble to “wet out” properly, making it easier to shave. (We’re sure you can think of something.)
3. Use the right tools. Use a shaving gel that will keep skin properly lubricated and prevent any razor drag by adding an extra protective layer between skin and blade. This allows the razor to glide properly along the skin, removing hair quickly and smoothly without any irritation. Also try a a fog-free mirror to ensure that you can see the area to be shaved. (After a while, you may get so adept at shaving in the shower that you won’t need a mirror and you can just do it by feel… we hear this is how Luke Skywalker shaves.)
4. Prioritize your follicles. Another good tip: When shaving, shave your cheeks first using a downwards motion, neck next and lastly the upper lip and chin. “This order is important as it leaves the toughest whiskers until last, giving those more time to soften,” says Zuccato. And be sure to rinse the razor as needed between strokes.
5. Save your blade. Finally, when you’re finished shaving, shake your razor to get rid of any water trapped between the blades and let it air dry. This is pretty important, says Zuccato, because when water sits on blades between shaves, it causes the oxidation process to begin, and we all know what that does. (In case you don’t know: This leads to corrosion and rusting and razor dullness, which results in blades pulling and tearing hairs instead of cleanly slicing through them.) And by the way, there’s no truth to the rumor that shaking your razor too many times will cause blindness.
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