West Coast Shaving Classic Shave Set Giveaway

by Brett & Kate McKay on December 8, 2008 · 394 comments

in Blog, Featured

The Art of Manliness is a big proponent of the classic wet shave. There’s something almost ritualistic about a traditional shave. Between lathering up with a badger brush and guiding a double-edge safety razor across your face, it’s possible to reach a state of zen. Unfortunately, most men shave with cheapo disposable crap that costs an arm and a leg and gives you a crappy shave. Safety razor shaving, on the other hand, is much cheaper and provides a far superior shave.

So when the fine folks at West Coast Shaving approached us and asked if they could give away a complete classic shaving set to an Art of Manliness reader, we said hell yes.

The Prize

West Coast Shaving is giving away a complete classic shaving set valued at $115. It has everything you need to get started with safety razor shaving:

  • Merkur HD Safety Razor $29
  • eShave Fine Brush $55
  • Taylor of Old Bond Street (winner can choose the fragrance) $14
  • Extended DE Blade Sampler Pack $21.50

How to Enter

So how can you get your hands on this awesomely manly prize? You have 3 ways to enter your name in a random drawing for the shaving set:
  1. Leave a comment under this post sharing your best shaving tip
  2. Sign up for email or RSS updates. A secret code will appear at the bottom of the RSS feed or email update. Email us what the secret code is through our contact form and you’ll be entered.
  3. Share this post with your friends using the “Email this post” to a friend link at the top of the page (You have to use this link or I can’t see if you shared the post). For each friend you email this post to, you’ll receive one entry in the contest. This means the more friends you share it with, the more entries you get. You can only send 10 at a time, but feel free to come back and send some more.

Remember, you can increase your chances of winning by doing all of the above, so get cracking gents. And ladies (we know you’re out there) feel free to enter as well. This is a great chance to score a FREE manly Christmas gift for the man in you’re life.

Deadline to enter is Monday, December 15 at 9PM Central Standard Time. The winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

1 John Herring December 8, 2008 at 10:24 pm

My tip is for getting rid of that month old beard. Use electric clippers, or if you have time a comb and a very sharp scissors, to take the beard down as far as you can, down to shaving length. I do this at night before I go to bed. Put lotion on your face, thickly. Let it soak overnight, and then finish the shave the next morning, with your razor of choice. Ideally, you would use a shave brush and a safety razor. It really makes a difference if you moisturize your face after it has been bearded for awhile.

2 Thomas R. James December 8, 2008 at 10:25 pm

When I shave, I’m sure to keep my styptic pencil handy. Nothing says “unprofessional” like showing up to the 9:15 with your boss like a crusty, half-scabbed gash – or even worse a wad of toilet paper. They’re .97 cents at the Megastore, and one will last you for years. Get it and use it if needed.

3 Jacob Mentzel December 8, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Best shaving tip:

Trying to hack it all of in one stroke is not manly; it’s at best lazy and at worst the kind of overcompensating senseless bravado that will get you killed some day… or at least get you a jacked up face.

4 Nikhil Sonde December 8, 2008 at 10:34 pm

I’ve found that titanium dioxide based styptic pencils irritate skin much less that alum based pencils. They can be harder to find in drug stores but are readily available online.

Also, to follow up on John Herring’s post, if you don’t have time to clip your month old beard before shaving, use much smaller strokes to prevent the razor from getting clogged with long hair.

5 HB December 8, 2008 at 10:35 pm

If you wrap a hot towel around your face for a few minutes before you shave, you’ll soften your beard and open up yours, ensuring an even more comfortable and closer shave.

I heat my towels by microwaving a damp towel (soak the towel in water, then wring out 80-90% of the water) for 30-60 seconds on high.

If you have some lemon or lime juice, splash it onto the tell before microwaving it for a great scent.

6 Jeff Craig December 8, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Always apply the lather hot, but rinse your blades cold. The hot lather will loosen your beard, but keeping the blade cold will prevent expansion of the metal which could heighten the chances of a cut.

7 GM December 8, 2008 at 10:47 pm

I find a hot towel and a nice sharp blade are best. Also do not try to get everything in one pass.

8 n2thevoid66 December 8, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Two words Hot Lather

9 DenB December 8, 2008 at 10:50 pm

Never trust your eyes when shaving. Checking the skin with your hands ensures that you will not prick the lady with that scrub.

10 Martin Smith December 8, 2008 at 10:53 pm


Or at least thats what I decided after a few years with cheap disposables and easily-dulled and expensive electrics. I can get away with a beard, but I still use an electric razor for my neck and cheeks.

11 Andrew December 8, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Its simple, but shave either in the shower or right after you get out, without drying your face in between. Then just pat your face dry, don’t rub.

12 Andrew Barbour December 8, 2008 at 11:04 pm

1. After giving your stubble a good soak with hot water, spread a few drops of grapeseed/olive/canola oil on your face to help lubricate the surface. Also limits the drying effect of your shaving soap somewhat.

2. Shave three times: once with the grain, once across it, and once against it. Neck and mustache areas may only require (or tolerate) two passes.

2.5 (Each pass of the blade is a stutter: a one inch path, followed by backing up by about 2/3 inch, repeat until you’ve mowed your way. Then start again parallel to that path. )

3. Keep a small tupperware container filled with rubbing alcohol to a depth of about 1 inch. Immediately after shaving, dunk the head of your razor in the alcohol and swirl it around for a few seconds. This has two effects: 1) it removes the water from your blade, prolonging its corrosion-free life, and 2) kills any bacteria that may are on the blade, thus reducing irritation from your next shave.

It’s also a good idea to dunk the razor before your shave for the same antiseptic effect, but rinse thoroughly before actually shaving. Otherwise you risk a “Home Alone.”

4. A Tupperware container for your shaving soap is also great idea. Glad (I believe) makes these nice round threaded-lid containers that are about 3 inches deep by 4 inches wide. Perfect size for your soap, and can easily be sealed for travel (with just enough room for your brush inside). You should, of course, keep it open between shaves to let it dry out a bit. You don’t want it all gooey the next time.

13 Zac Waxman December 8, 2008 at 11:11 pm

I’ve learned that to get a really close and smooth shave from a cartridge razor requires a few things:

1)Growth-you want to actually have some hair to shave, not just little stubble. We’re talking about 2 days worth.

2)A clean/new razor

3)a relaxed face-that means relax take a hot shower. This will steam you up and relax and also open the poors. You don’t want to start shaving once you wake up because you’re still too puffy.

4)a good lather-use whatever shaving cream you want, but be sure to lather up and lift all those hairs.

5)shave 3 times-yes that’s right 3 times. First with the grain (down), Second across (side to side) and then finally against the grain (up). This will get you as close you as need to go.

6.)Cold water. Rinse off in cold water to close those pores

7.)Pat dry don’t rub, or best of all just air ddy

14 Jacob December 8, 2008 at 11:27 pm

For those of us with skin that gets irritated easily, shaving with the grain is often enough for most occassions. Though a second pass may cut a bit closer, the difference is not as noticeable as most people think. (obviously depends on how often you shave)

Using some sort of face scrub afterwards is also useful to stop nicks from developing into small zits.

15 Paul Atlan December 8, 2008 at 11:27 pm

I second the
With / Across / Against school , with short repeated strokes and testing with your hand.
Very important:
Take some time testing out different blade types / blade angles before deciding old style wet shave isn’t for you. Do it on a long week end, or some vacation time, if you don’t want your coworkers to think your trying out for a gang that practices scarification ….

16 David December 8, 2008 at 11:45 pm

I also like shaving in the shower, I don’t use a mirror so it is all tactile. I love using shave gel instead of soap or cream, it stays on better in the shower.

17 An December 8, 2008 at 11:57 pm

I shave right after I shower. The warm/hot water from the shower had already loosened up my beard, which i find more convenient than covering my face with a hot towel.

18 Dave December 9, 2008 at 12:10 am

Don’t shave for a couple of days.

Every so often, (about once a month or so) I go for a 2-3 days without shaving. On the day that I finally shave, I feel like a new man. It is a refreshing experience and it is more gratifying to shave a 3 day old nascent beard than it is to shave day old stubble.

19 Louis M December 9, 2008 at 12:36 am

For some reason it seems that I cut myslef less in the neck area (just under the chin) when I refrain from stretching my chin up as I’m naturally inclined to do. For me at least less skin stretching = less irritation.

Choose me, please! That set would make a terrific Christmas gift for my dad, he needs it desperately (though he does not know it yet).

20 Louis M December 9, 2008 at 12:44 am

Oh and also I found it to be easier to control the lathering process when I hold the brush by the bristles instead of the base ( advice from mantic59 himself!). That way you can squeeze out the best lather in the most difficult areas, and prevent yourself from lathering up your nose.

21 Chi December 9, 2008 at 12:59 am

Shaving oil always leaves a nice and smooth finish :) A lot less rough and stubbly :)

22 Lou December 9, 2008 at 1:39 am

I don’t use water when I shave except to clean the razor. I rub the shaving foam directly onto my dry face and then go at it. Another thing I noticed is most people don’t clean their razor in a pool of warm water. Instead they just run it under the tap. Sometimes though that doesn’t get all the hairs out of the blades. I’ve always plugged the drain and rinsed that way, for some reason it seems to clean the blade better. Plus it makes the shaving process feel more like a ritual instead of something I’m trying to get done quickly before class.

23 Mike December 9, 2008 at 1:55 am

Best advice I can give to everyone is to take your time. Shaving is very rejuvenating and should be a relaxing, enjoyable process. We have to go through it enough, might as well have a good time, right?
I tend to be very methodical and take my time. I’ll usually enjoy at least fifteen, sometimes even thirty minutes for the whole process. I’ll be extra, EXTRA careful and every swipe of the razor is always careful and deliberate. This way, I never miss anything and rarely cut myself. Haste makes waste.
If you shave every mourning, I suggest waking up a few minutes earlier to have a relaxing shave. I’ve found this is a great way to focus myself in the mourning. The zen shave.

24 Alexander December 9, 2008 at 2:00 am

I also shave after showering, but i don’t just shave my beard, i also shave my head. And in a few years of doing it i’ve come to the conclusion that:
1. The blade that you are using can make the difference between a clean shave and a bleeding face – yep i said bleeding because it happened to me when i shaved 2 or 3 days after. A sensitive skin and the wrong type of blade can ruin your zen moment. Right now the best blades i have access to are wilkinson blades…but you can use whatever is best for you. GET GOOD BLADES!
2. Use a shaving CREAM. None of that stuff that comes in a can. That stuff has more chemicals that although will help you with your face, on the long run they are not good for your face. Half a year ago i switched to the stuff that comes packed like it’s toothpaste (had a guest that once mistook it for toothpaste). It’s not expensive at all. It was the cheapest one i could find at the time (less than 1$ per piece) compared to the rest of my shaving set…out of which my razor was the most expensive one (8$) at the time. I tried using foam and gel just to feel the difference. They are cold to the touch, but although the blade moves easy on my face, my skin feels threaten by these products…they feel…unfriendly.
3. Temperature is your friend. Make sure you Warm your face well before starting the shave. Use Warm lather. I use hot water with my blade but i will give it a try with cold water. At the end of your shave use lukewarm water to clean your face, then make it Colder to close your pores.
4. I never wipe my face or my head after shaving. I leave them wet. Sometimes i apply a creamy aftershave for my sensitive cream, and sometimes i don’t. In any case i seldom get an irritation nowadays. But when i do use a creamy aftershave i also like to have my head, face and hands wet. I don’t know why but it’s just smoother to apply the aftershave and i don’t have to wipe my hands. I just put the leftover aftershave on any part of my skin and let my skin absorb it.

25 Josh December 9, 2008 at 2:12 am

So my best shave tip (I’ve only been shaving with a safety razor for about 3 months) is to pull your skin a bit tight, that way you avoid the skin moving as much and (for me at least) this results in less nicks and cuts. Also if your beard happens to grow in multiple directions, as mine does, rather than the “down across against method” I often find its more helpful to just go down and then against as it has led to less irritation.

26 Pete Martin December 9, 2008 at 2:20 am

My shaving tip comes from Harlan Ellison, via Neil Gaiman.

“What you do is, you rub your stubble with hair conditioner. Leave it a couple of minutes, then wash it off. Then shave normally. Makes it really easy to shave. No scraping.”

Doing this in a hot shower helps.

27 Jesse Whyte December 9, 2008 at 2:52 am

For those of you with sensitive skin, or are prone to ingrown hair, I like to shave with the grain on my neck and upper lip, and 3 way on my cheeks. This keeps most of my shave very close while minimizing irritation.

28 Vialde December 9, 2008 at 2:57 am

When trimming my beard I always make sure to comb it first. Make trimming easier and much, much neater. Fewer stray whiskers and rough spots

29 Rick December 9, 2008 at 3:28 am

Wow, with all of the comments already posted, the only thing I can say is take your time. Shaving shouldn’t be a “quick fix” ; it’s all right to take a few minutes to get a nice shave. As mentioned already:

• use heat
• wet your face
• lather up
• shave slowly and thoroughly
• use lotion after shaving

30 Ray M. December 9, 2008 at 3:35 am

I shave my face and my head and I get a better shave if it’s been wet for a few minutes before starting to shave.

31 Chet December 9, 2008 at 3:54 am

I fill up my sink with hot water and put my shaving cream mug in the water. This way, when I have to go back and touch up an area, I always have warm lather.

32 Kevin December 9, 2008 at 4:01 am

I’m just a noob at shaving regularly, so I can use all the help I can get – keep the tips comming.

33 SEB December 9, 2008 at 4:08 am

The microwaved hot towel was my tip, but someone else was Johnny-on-the-spot with the response, so I’ll also submit that….

You can heat your canteen cup full of water in the field by placing it on near the back exhaust panel of an M2 Bradley for 30 seconds. Use gloves when handling the canteen cup to prevent burning. Great way to get hot steaming water in the field.

34 Randy December 9, 2008 at 4:12 am

Take your time!

The mornings are always rushed. But, rushing through your shave will mean your shave won’t be even and close AND/OR you will be more likely to cut yourself.

35 Joe December 9, 2008 at 4:18 am

If I could only keep one of my shaving tools, which one would it be? The badger-hair brush. Makes even crappy shaving cream go on better. Also fills young wanna-bes with admiration. :-)

36 Frank d December 9, 2008 at 4:19 am

I second the opinion that waiting a few days helps. I am extremely prone to irritation, so I let it grow two or three days between shaves. Of course if you have thick dark hair like me you perpetually look like a scrub but it’s passable for a day and a half, and it’s better than bleeding everywhere. Shaving right out of the shower helps a ton, too.

37 Michael December 9, 2008 at 4:35 am

Great thread!

My tips are the following:

1. A good badger hair brush is a must – they’re a bit expensive, but well worth it.

2. I use one of those “coffee cup warmers” (the little hot plate type deal that you plug in to keep your coffee warm) and keep my shaving cup with the lather in it on that. Helps to keep the lather warm. When lathering up for pass 2 or 3 (yes, it does take more than one pass for a good shave), the warm lather feels absolutely fantastic on your face.

38 BRZ December 9, 2008 at 4:43 am

Quick and easy:

Before you jump in the shower fill your sink with hot water and put your shaving mug into the water ( the water should not be deep enough to overflow and soak the soap). This accomplishes two things
1. You already have warm water at the sink faucet. This means you don’t have to wait for the hot water to get there when you want to shave.

2. It will keep your shaving lather warm when you whip it up. Warm lather is a much more pleasant experience.

39 Seaton December 9, 2008 at 4:44 am

I’m a fan of cold water for tightening skin and closing pores. But I find the best time for cold water is right before applying shaving cream. Much less irritation for me.

40 Emily December 9, 2008 at 4:52 am

As a little girl I was fascinate by watching my Poppa shave. I would love for my husband to have the very supplies my grandfather used to use. I will pass on his ritual as well as I can remember:

Begin with tools very similar to what you are going to give away. Use the hottest water your face can stand, and look pensive as you take precise and decisive strokes. Also, it’s best if you shave in a white undershirt and finish with a liberal dab of Old Spice. It also helps if you rub your scruffy face on a small child’s belly to make them laugh before you begin. I’m not sure if that impacts the quality of the shave, but it certainly was part of his ritual when me or my cousins were around.

41 mike December 9, 2008 at 4:58 am

I can’t really add much more than what has been already said.

42 Eric Olson December 9, 2008 at 5:05 am

So – I think one of the best things to do up front is to make sure the face and neck have been thoroughly wet down with very warm water to soften the hair. If you have time, a hot towel is awesome to use. Then, as you shave, use your fingers on your free hand to ensure the beard is gone.

As far as against or with the grain, I think it really depends on the individual face. For me I go against the grain and I very rarely get ingrown hairs.

43 Jim Daniels December 9, 2008 at 5:14 am

This may seem a little silly, but I try to get some brain work done while shaving. It has been shown that your brain likes to do new things. So I use my non-dominant hand to mix up the shaving cream, and to apply it to my face. This was difficult at first, but it is much easier now. I’m not brave enough to shave with my non-dominant hand yet. I also stand on one leg so as to increase my balancing ability. This is important as you age, as it helps to protect you from falls.
I know, I said it would sound silly.

44 Greg A. December 9, 2008 at 5:14 am

I definitely have to say the always check with your hand approach is key, Us your hand and run it in all directions it will always feel smooth if you just check it with the grain.

Also, instead of a hot towel I prefer steam. Get the shower real hot and just sit it the steam that it produces for a minute or two, always gets me the best shave.

Also I prefer to go against the grain also, never have in grown hair and is always a bit closer and lasts a bit longer

45 Scott Rudy December 9, 2008 at 5:24 am

Here’s the deal… shaving is not for taking of your beard, it is for defining your beard. Beards are manly, and should be grown at all costs. Therefore, remember that shaving is a way of defining your manhood. Be intentional about every stroke of the razor, otherwise you are carelessly defining you manliness.

46 Paul December 9, 2008 at 5:25 am

Hot water not only helps the lather, but it does a wonderful job soothing razor burn if you get a bit too close with the razor.

47 Louis December 9, 2008 at 5:28 am

Take your time and focus. The only time I ever cut myself is when I was going too fast or thinking about something else. FOCUS!

48 Bob Hodge December 9, 2008 at 5:31 am

Against the grain, but very light touch on the neck, with a little re-lathering and retouching as needed

49 Edwin December 9, 2008 at 5:31 am

If you can, shave in the shower. Clean-up is so much easier and the steam is a natural way to keep the facial pores open. Fogfree mirrors are cheap enough and work well.

50 tw December 9, 2008 at 5:36 am

My best shaving tip is: DON’T! Beards are manly, and think of all the time you’ll save by not shaving every day (other than perhaps a bit of a trim around the edges). Plus, you have extra warmth this time of year which can be very welcome, you don’t buy razor blades nearly so often, and you’re not worrying about bleeding.

51 James Riggs December 9, 2008 at 5:36 am

Take your time! This is a razor and your face/neck we’re talking about here.

I find the Mach3 razors to be reasonably durable and provide a nice close shave when using the With/Across/Against method. I wouldn’t be opposed to trying a safety razor though

52 John C. December 9, 2008 at 5:37 am

Lots of good tips…here’s one I learned back in my military days:

I keep a disposable in the car and at the office for those rare instances where I find a spot that I missed. (Hey when you’re up and shaving at 5am sometimes things are a little foggy!) Often it’s not enough that anyone else will notice, but I can’t stand it when I find a few stray hairs!

53 Lisa December 9, 2008 at 5:38 am

Hi gents, just wanted to say that from a lady’s perspective, watching your guy shave can be a sexy! But not with the cheap plastic throwaway blades. I remember when my husband and I were poor college students dating, once or twice I got to watch him shave before a date, and the careful ritual was such fun to watch, especially when it is being done for you! And a little nice aftershave or cologne is wonderful too, but don’t be heavy handed…we don’t want to know you are coming before we even see you!

54 Michael Summerfield December 9, 2008 at 5:41 am

When i’m not rushed, i shave in the shower, with soap. It always presents a closer shave, and a smoother (less irritable) one as well. The hot water and hot soap work wonders!

55 Jake December 9, 2008 at 5:48 am

The most important thing about a good shave is to take your time. Shaving in a hurry will result in nothing but a nicked up face. Take your time and be deliberate.

56 Greg December 9, 2008 at 6:00 am

My shaving tip echos other tips already offered: TAKE YOUR TIME. Whenever I try to rush a shaving job, I always end up nicking myself. The irony, of course, is I spend more time tending to my wounds than I would have spent if I had just taken my time to begin with.

57 Brad December 9, 2008 at 6:06 am

Two biggest things that helped/still help me:

1. Get a professional shave at least once. Even though it’s your face, they might tell you something you don’t know. For me, they pointed out some of the directional oddities of the way my beard grows. My neck has thanked me ever since.

2. If possible, shower before you shave. The water and steam will make your face happy. Not a news flash, I know, but it makes a huge difference.

58 Justin December 9, 2008 at 6:06 am

My best shaving tip is simple: grow a full beard (and have good enough genetics that you find yourself not needing to edge it).

59 Jason December 9, 2008 at 6:11 am

Tread lightly: The wet-shave really is great, once you get the hang of it. My biggest stumbling block was pressure. The current four- or five-blade razors require you to push firmly against your skin. Do that with a classic razor and you’ll bleed. Instead, use enough force to make contact and that’s it. Do a few passes with a light stroke and you’re set.

Next, if you don’t subscribe to the method of the classic razor, at least get one tub of shaving cream (like Taylor’s of Old Bond St.) and the brush. Prepare it in a warm mug. Much, much better than any more contemporary creams.

Finally, it took me many months to become good at the wet-shave, so be patient. Once you get it though, there’s no going back.

60 Oghma December 9, 2008 at 6:15 am

My secret speaks to what Louis said about focus. Nothing will guarantee a poor shave like not being focused.

I discovered this by consistently trying to rush a shave because I was getting up in the morning with barely enough time to shave, and rushed what should be a careful, peaceful process.

Using a safety razor takes time to do well, and the results, when done right, are outstanding. Rushing the process leads to uneven beard length, nicks, and even the occasional slice.

My tip is to wake up at least an hour before you shave, get some coffee in you, and take your time to set up your shave, and your day, right!

I also recommend using styptic swabs instead of pencils. Pencils tend to melt over time with exposure to water, and they sometimes leave a white powdery residue on your skin.


61 John Urhahn December 9, 2008 at 6:16 am

Lather, apply a hot towel to really work the lather into your face and then re-lather before shaving. This process will truly soften up the beard for a great shave.

62 Gustavo Lacombe December 9, 2008 at 6:19 am

My best tip is for those times when you find yourself without your shaving cream. Use hair conditioner! It provides a nice skin lubrification and is an efficient hair softener by its own nature.

63 Matthew Lawrence December 9, 2008 at 6:20 am

I shave in the shower; the hot water really helps to keep the irritation down. I also use the Gillette Fusion Power razor- that also helps with the comfort level.

64 Mike December 9, 2008 at 6:20 am

The best tip is to shave after a shower. I have not made the full jump to the classic shave as I use “the king of shaves” products. It takes a while for water to get hot, so instead of leaving the faucet run I have a small bucket I fill after I shower (when the water is already hot)

65 Tym Sauter December 9, 2008 at 6:28 am

Not saying that shaving is bad, but as a guy who works in the woods, I really really like keeping my beard all year round. It keeps you warm in the winter and keeps the bugs off in the summer. That’s just my opinion though.

66 Paul December 9, 2008 at 6:30 am

The best tips I have a oldies but goldies.

Shave after you come out of a bath or shower. By this time the hair has been softened and the pores of the skin opened. This will result in a closer, cleaner shave.

Also, when shaving, be sure to pull the skin nice and tight. This prevent skin irritation and redness

67 Ced December 9, 2008 at 6:33 am

MacGyver Tip:
If the wads of toilet paper or styptic pencils are just not doing it for ya anymore, you might want to try ChapStick the next time you nick yourself shaving.
it does actually work pretty well on the smaller cuts, however, you probably do not want to use the lip balm on the bigger cuts and I would recommend staying away from the flavored stuff; it leaves a weird color on your face

68 Benson December 9, 2008 at 6:34 am

Take a shower before you shave. Use good products. Bond and Merkur are great. I also like Baxters of California.

69 Scott Hill December 9, 2008 at 6:35 am

If not using an electric, wash your face before shaving! Warm water works best for relaxing the beard and having clean skin reduces the amount of ingrown hairs post-shaving.

70 Oliver December 9, 2008 at 6:36 am

Blades are cheep. Toss em after a few shaves and start sharp.

71 jjmink December 9, 2008 at 6:39 am

I have two suggestions that have worked for me. First, I use a bit of lotion on my face before I lather up. It seems to protect my skin by smoothing the blade’s contact. Second, after I rinse the blade, I dry it. The blade lasts 3x as long.

72 Ray Crego December 9, 2008 at 6:41 am

My best tip is to use some good balm after you shave, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin (I have a very dry skin condition) . I don’t use any particular brand since I’m still trying them out, but it soothes my skin a lot and moisturizes it a bit, but doesn’t leave me feeling gross and oily since it isn’t as greasy and strong as lotion.

73 Brett December 9, 2008 at 6:43 am

Proraso. Lather this up with a badger brush and you will know what I mean. If you have a hard time finding it, try Bath and Body Works. While waiting on my wife I discovered they rebrand the tubes and sell it for 5 bucks. Guess that’d be tip #2.

74 nathan December 9, 2008 at 6:43 am

I usually shave in the shower, the hot water helps keep the irritation down.

75 Tina-cious.com December 9, 2008 at 6:50 am

My tip: Nair + a razor — but that’s for my legs! :)

My baby would looooove this set though! :D

76 Nick December 9, 2008 at 6:51 am

Like many of the others, I suggest a double or triple shave.

Use an electric trimmer first if you more than a week or two of growth. Then, I like to shave gently with the grain. And Finally, if I’m going for an ultra close shave, I’ll rinse and re-lather for a third shave against the grain. Go slow and don’t worry about getting everything in one pass.

It works so effectively for me, I never have to worry about what to with a cut. I don’t get any.

77 Jay O'Meara December 9, 2008 at 6:51 am

To really make a woman love you… let her watch you shave.

To show her that you love her back… let her help.

78 Dan December 9, 2008 at 6:51 am

I agree with the right after the shower method. After a hot shower, the room is nice and steamy, which keeps my skin supple. Cold rinse is a must, which helps “seal up” nicks.

79 Marc December 9, 2008 at 6:53 am

I have never found a fog free mirror that worked well. Instead I prep my mirror by rubbing shaving cream* into it and then rubbing it off. Shower and then enjoy a clear mirror.

* Cheap shaving cream works best. I know this goes contrary to what is being promoted, but it works.

80 aaron m December 9, 2008 at 6:54 am

It’s amazing how much better a blade works when it’s new. Replenish often!

81 Andy December 9, 2008 at 7:01 am

@Kevin – The only thing I can add to all this is that I’ve found that with a quality safety razor, the weight of the razor does all the work, I just have to guide it in the direction I want to go.

In that regard, I second or hundred or whatever the with/across/against method. It doesn’t take as long as you think, and it’s well worth it.

82 Sean December 9, 2008 at 7:03 am

Shaving should always be the first thing you do out of the shower, aside from doing a cursory “drying yourself off”. Your beard and skin are never more hydrated than when you’re fresh from a hot shower.

Also, try to avoid drying your face off, even if you plan on putting hot water or a hot towel on your face before the shave. The cycle of wetting, then drying, and then wetting again robs your face of the moisture it absorbed during the shower.

And I agree with everyone else: a cold rinse is, in fact, a must.

83 Granata December 9, 2008 at 7:14 am

The Merkur HD is a fine razor. My kids got me one for Father’s day and I really like it.

84 Scott December 9, 2008 at 7:16 am

When I switched to a safety razor from the disposable kind, I cut my face up a little. I learned that shaving isn’t about beard removal, but beard reduction. Hold the razor lightly by the end of the handle, put the top of the razor against your face, then rotate it down until the blade just makes contact with your skin. When you begin shaving, let the weight of the razor do the cutting, not your strength; you won’t cut it all off in one swell foop, but you don’t have to. Going over the area a couple of times lightly is much easier than once and cutting yourself.

85 Jesse December 9, 2008 at 7:18 am

@Kevin – Agreed, this is extremely helpful. Thanks for the post and the comments. I’d love to start shaving with a safety razor.

86 Mark December 9, 2008 at 7:19 am

Hot lather after a shower is old news to most here, but to keep a cool breeze form seeping into the bathroom on a long Saturday shave, I leave the shower running with the cold water off.

It turns the bathroom into a steam-room, and keeps a sudden cool gust from causing my beard to tighten u\p.

87 Rob December 9, 2008 at 7:23 am

My tip is in regards to travel.

1. A DE safety razor is questionable for carry-on in the US, and straights are a definite no-go! Since I don’t want to chance losing it, I use a single-blade disposable razor when traveling by air. My razor of choice for this use is the BIC Metal razor, which can be found in bulk at Amazon. It has a fixed angle head and metal safety bar, and it really operates like a very light DE. Disposable razors are acceptable for carry-on travel.

2. Since the liquid limits are very low, I will either carry a very small tube of latherless shave cream, which can be sometimes hard to find, or a cake of shaving soap. If I bring the shaving soap, I carry my cheapest shaving brush inside a used prescription pill bottle. That way I didn’t have to spend money on an overpriced travel brush, but the head of the brush doesn’t get mangled up in travel.

88 subbuki December 9, 2008 at 7:26 am

well most of what i do is already mentioned.
But one of the biggest differences is the use of a brush and cream (taylors , with a nice scent). It just makes your morning better and you feel pampered which is in itself a good thing

89 Jim December 9, 2008 at 7:32 am

I guess some of it depends on where you live, but since I live in a dry climate, I’m gonna recommend all us desert dwellers use a moisturizer on a daily basis to keep your face hydrated. That being said, I’m just using a name brand lotion with vitamin E, but I wonder if someone has something they really like out there?

90 Frotp December 9, 2008 at 7:33 am

My tip. Get a DE razor. Shaving is no longer a chore.

Also the cost difference means you dont feel bad throwing away old blades.

91 Garan December 9, 2008 at 7:42 am

The best after shaving lotion I’ve tried is from the Art of Shaving. The lemon scented is amazing. It perks up my skin after a good shave.

92 Wes Sumrall December 9, 2008 at 7:45 am

I have Pseudofolliculitis Barbae and man does it suck. So, I can only shave twice a week without needing an IV and butchering my face. This unfortunately doesn’t work for most employers, though. But for those that can get away with it, this is a wonderful option. Allowing the hair to grow a little longer before shaving really helps the process.

93 Edmundo December 9, 2008 at 7:58 am

Shaving after a hot shower works best for me. I am using Nivea products for sensitive skin which I like very much.

94 Tim Prickett December 9, 2008 at 7:58 am

Once you have the lather on, Stop. Brush your teeth. Give the lather a chance to do it’s job, yes, but do something useful and necessary while you wait. Shaving is not so much about taking your time as it is about having a system.

95 johnmc December 9, 2008 at 8:03 am

If you find yourself without your good shaving cream or shaving soap (e.g. on a trip in an unfamiliar city), you can get a decent lather with regular soap and a good brush – much better than picking up an aerosol of goop in the hotel store.

96 Alessandro December 9, 2008 at 8:11 am

Always shave after your shower, by which point your beard should be well-hydrated and your skin moisturized. (If you must shave without showering first, then wash your face in hot water, apply lather, and wait for 3 minutes.) If your skin is a little irritated, you can also apply a pre-shaving lubricant oil that is sold in specialty shops.

You should apply the lather only twice — the first time to shave “with the grain,” and the second time to shave “against the grain.” When shaving, complete each stroke and then rinse the razor free of hair; otherwise, the blade won’t cut effectively and you’ll be “tugging” at the hairs rather than cutting them.

Finally, I end the shave by washing my face in hot water, followed by a cold-water rinse, and then applying a moisturizing aftershave. Specialty shops have nice ones with manly scents.

97 Cameron Stewart December 9, 2008 at 8:12 am

I like to shave after I get out of the shower, that way my beard stubble has been softened up by the steam and hot water by the time I shave.

Also nothing smells like a man more than the smell a good smelling shaving cream leaves behind.

98 Tom J December 9, 2008 at 8:14 am

Best shaving tip … don’t press hard, get the skin taut and then only press hard enough to keep contact as the blade slides.

This makes sure that the hairs are cut, not pulled out, and the blade can only cut hair, not skin.

99 Mike Habeeb December 9, 2008 at 8:15 am

Skip the styptic pencil. I find that a little cold water or a small ice cube will stop the bleeding quite quickly, and believe me, I’ve had some real bleeders.

My second piece of advice would be to drop the safety razor and go for the straight razor. If your afraid of running one of these potential weapons over your face, check out http://www.shavemyface.com for a useful PDF that walks you through all you need to know. The first time I used a straight razor I cut myself seven times, but a couple of weeks later I was shaving nick free with some of the smoothest skin I’ve ever felt.

100 Allen December 9, 2008 at 8:18 am

I use a pre-shave oil.
Art of Shaving as a very good one. But it’s a bit pricey.
American Crew has a good one as well but with sensitive skin the Tea Tree oil is a bit too much for me.

It really helps, along with a badger hair brush and a good cream. By the way Taylor of Old Bond Street Avocado is excellent for a sensitive face! A sharp razor too.

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