It is a truth universally acknowledged that women are in want of men with a close shave. To get that baby soft cheek you have to start with a proper shave.
First, determine the type of beard you have. Do you have fine, straight hair, or thick curly hair?
Most men with thick or curly hair should not shave against the grain. Doing so causes the hairs to be cut below the surface of the skin. When the hair regrows it becomes trapped and instead of growing out, curls back on itself and grows inward. This causes inflamed, red bumps (a condition called pseudofolliculitis barbae), that are further injured the next time you shave.
Men with fine, straight hair can shave against the grain, getting the closest shave possible.
- Wash your face with warm water and soap first. The best time to shave is after you shower; the warm soap and water will soften the hairs, making for a smoother, closer shave.
- Lather with a good thick shaving cream, massaging the hairs in a circular motion. If you have one (or hope to get one for Christmas) a badger shave brush helps to lift the hairs, soften them, and spread the shaving cream evenly. Use a quality shaving cream or gel — I like a Neutrogena Men’s Razor Defense, a gel for people prone to ingrown hairs; or, if all your suits are Armani, then you might prefer these excellent shave creams from John Varvatos or from The Art of Shaving.
- With a clean razor, shave in the direction of the hair growth. Rinse the blade under warm water after each pass because hairs and shaving cream stuck in the blades will prevent the blade from cutting cleanly and can cause nicks. Look carefully at your beard, the hairs often grow in different directions at the sideburns, the middle of the cheeks, the chin and the neck. In some men, the hair on the neck actually grows in the complete opposite direction as on their face!
- If you have thick or curly hair, or if you are prone to razor bumps, then skip this step and go to number 5. If not, then reapply the shaving cream and shave again in the opposite direction. This will give you the closest possible shave but will pose the greatest risk for ingrown hairs.
- Rinse your face vigorously with cool water, carefully removing the residue from the shave cream, then pat dry.
Photo credit: FFC, CircaSassy