Fortunately, we’re tight with a top razor-handling expert who shared how to give yourself the best shave of your life. Diane Wood Zuccato is a master barber, former King of Shaves spokesperson and co-owner of D.S.Z. Barbers in Nyack, New York.
She’s also the lady in that photo up there. And here are her five steps to the perfect shave.
1. Do it post-shower
“Shaving is made much easier by giving the area lots of warm water or steam before ,” says Zuccato. So have a bath or and wash your face, as this softens the bristles and opens up the pores, preparing your skin for a closer shave. Or you could always combine the two activities. “Shaving in the shower is also a great technique,” adds Zuccato.
2. Apply a soap-free, alcohol-free shaving product
“Both and can be super drying to the skin,” notes Zuccato. So instead of lathering up with a product packing half the of Old Grand Dad 114, go with a low-foam formula shaving product. Not only will it maintain your skin’s moisture, it’ll also let you see where you’re shaving, which is key for shaping and avoiding problem areas like pimples. Massage the shaving oil or gel into the stubble, and don’t confuse quantity of product for quality. “Lather is irrelevant. Lots of foam does not mean a better shave.”
3. Use a sharp, clean blade.
“A dull blade will provide an uneven shave and can increase chances of ingrown hairs and irritation,” explains Zuccato. When you start feeling what’s known in technical shaving terms as “razor drag” – the blade is not working its way down your face very easily, even when your skin’s as smooth as Billy Dee Williams – it’s time to replace.
4. Shave slowly and use short strokes.
Rather than long swipes, Zuccato recommends smaller strokes, which give you more control and reduce the chances of the blade getting clogged with hair. Also, always shave with the grain. “Shaving against the direction of hair growth is the primary cause of razor burn, redness and rashes,” warns Zuccato. And don’t press too hard, especially around sensitive areas such as the neck. “Let the blade do its job.”
5. Rinse with cold water.
That’s right, cold water. “It helps close the pores,” says Zuccato. Then, avoid the temptation to slap on aftershave right away. Shaving strips the skin of protective tissues and oils, so it’s vulnerable right then. Plus, aftershaves are primarily made from alcohol, which dries out the skin. And it makes you scream like Macauley Culkin. Instead, wait a minute, then use an alcohol-free post-shave product. This will help protect, moisturize and condition the skin, so that you’re looking even more handsome the next time you pick up a razor…and with any luck, a beauty like Zuccato, too.