Everyday in our DC and VA stores, we shave the faces of powerful men – political figures, captains of industry and guys who are just really, really strong. Through these interactions we’ve learned one thing – while men know a lot about government, business and sports – they’re just a little perplexed in regards to shaving basics. That’s where we come in.
Below please find answers to the most commonly posed questions.

Q: Should I shave with or against the grain?

A: The majority of every shave should be done in the direction of hair growth (most commonly downwards, but sometimes diagonally). It is important for a man to diagnose the direction of hair growth prior to blade touchdown – and to take note that hair often grows in different directions in different areas. Occasionally, shaving against the grain is required at the end of a shave to get tuff-to-reach or stubborn spots. Of course… slicing is major snafu.

Q: What should I wash my face with prior to shaving? Is regular soap OK?
A: Before we answer that question, just think of the other stops that bar of soap has been before it hits your face. Once you’ve dry heaved and learned a lesson, we can move on to tell you that a targeted face cleanser or face scrub are the only things that should be used on a face prior to the shave routine. These cleansers are made for faces, while regular bar soaps are super-drying, can cause breakouts and might have just been on your privates.

Q: What should I know about/look for in an aftershave?
A: Most traditional aftershaves have a large volume of alcohol in them. This ain’t good for many reasons, just two of which are: 1) They sting a cleanly shaven face like crazy 2) They’re big-time drying to the skin. A better way to go is a soothing post-shave balm or a gel. These products calm down, soothe and re-moisturize the skin.

Q: Is there a difference between razors?
A: Some people will tell you NO… but here at the Grooming Lounge we know there is a difference. Some of the new multi-blade brands feature technology that cuts hair more easily than before. Additionally, when used properly, these multi-blade razors cut down on necessary re-shaves and the resulting skin irritation. They are definitely the way to go. Double Edge or Safety Razors are another option, but if going this route, it’s important to take some time to learn the ropes.

Q: Do I need a shaving brush and what does it do?
A: You certainly don’t need a shaving brush to get a good shave, but for many men, these hairy suckers are very valuable. You see, shaving brushes help to spread cream or lather evenly, but even more important, their bristles serve a valuable exfoliating function by lifting up tough and ingrown hairs. They also look pretty regal in a bathroom.

Q: The key to getting a great shave is shaving lather… correct?
A: Nonsense. Excess lather is just a waste of money! Why keep piling on foam that will never touch your face? For the best shave, we recommend a shave oil, gel or moisturizing cream (there’s no need to put so much on you look like Santa).

Q: How often should I change my multi-blade razor cartridges? Those suckers are expensive.
A: For best results, cartridges should be swapped out ever 3-4 shaves. That said, it’s beyond important to clean the blade in between each of those first shaves by placing it under hot water and running some liquid soap over the blades.

Q: What causes razor bumps and how can I get rid of them?
A: When hair curls around and re-enters the skin (an ingrown hair), this creates a razor bump. To rid yourself of ingrown hairs and the resulting razor bumps — use an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells or a face scrub to free ingrowns. Also, warming the face thoroughly will make shaving kinder to existing bumps. If all else fails, pluck pesky ingrowns out with a tweezer or start using a targeted ingrown hair solution.

Q: How can I stop razor burn?
A: Try tenderizing the face a bit more prior to shaving — possibly even shave in the shower. You also may be pressing too hard or using a dull blade. Most rashes are clearly the result of too much blade vs. beard friction. Some of that friction can be alleviated by combining a slick shave oil together with a shave cream or gel. Also, fend off redness by generously applying a moisturizing post shave solution.

Q: I cut myself a lot when shaving. How can I stop this?
A: First, take a look at the Grooming Guys’ Guide To Getting “The Greatest Shave Ever.” This outlines a solid morning routine. Little tidbits for avoiding cuts include: 1) Using short strokes and cleaning the blade. 2) Heating and softening the skin more prior to shaving. 3) Using a see-through shaving solution such as an oil or gel, which allow you to see exactly what you are or are not shaving (gotta’ avoid that mole).
Finally, when slip-ups occur, stop the gushing with a moist alum block. It’s going to sting… but a real man can handle that… right?

Q: No matter what I try, I continue to break out. What should I do?
A: A paper bag is a good first step (bada-bing). But seriously, any persistent skin or shaving disorder should be looked at by a reputable doctor. If you don’t want to take that step, select a quality spa in your area and visit a skincare pro for a prescriptive skincare regimen (the problem may not be your shave – but rather your daily skincare steps). If those two things are out of the question, first try to change up your daily at-home skincare routine. See this article for some tips. That’s often the core of the issue.

Q: I’m using shaving oil and sometimes I feel the blade sticking to my skin. What can I do to loosen it up?
A: Shaving oil often needs to be reactivated with a splash of H2O. Also, make sure to rinse out the blade consistently throughout the shave so you’re not shaving hair with hair.  

Q: How long should it take to get a great home shave?
A: It’s hard to say, as some men like to enjoy this most masculine of experiences, while others are shaving against the clock. That said, our Guide To Getting The Greatest Shave Ever” dictates it takes about 10-12 minutes.

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