Old-school grooming is an art. Gentlemen, here’s the official guide to achieving a super-close shave
Owning the right tools and learning the right technique can turn a morning chore into a pleasant experience. We spoke to Chief Barber at We Need A Hero, Quester Ng, who offered us this step-by-step guide to the perfect wet shave for men.
Name: Quester Ng
Weapons of choice: Scissors, clippers and a whole lot of attitude
Experience: Over 20 years, and previously worked as an Education Trainer in Toni & Guy Taiwan
Rai-son d’ê-tre: “I decided to be a barber because I wanted to give a man his own cave, since barbering is an area of hairdressing that I think is being treated as second class. I want men to stand tall and say they had a haircut from a barber.”
Step 1: Start With Thoroughly Wet Face
Hair that is swollen with water becomes weak and therefore easier to cut. Ideally, shower before shaving to ensure that your facial hair is properly moistened.
Alternatively, splash your face with water and then apply a warm, wet towel to your face for a minute to open the pores. Don’t be lazy and shave a cold, dry face–this is a common cause of razor burn.
Step 2: Apply Quality Shaving Cream Using Shaving Brush
Use a shaving cream that contains moisturisers such as lanolin, coconut oil, jojoba and glycerine. The cream creates a protective layer between your skin and the razor, allowing the blade to glide effortlessly.
Instead of slathering on the shaving cream with your hands, invest in a shaving brush. Not only does a shaving brush exfoliate the skin, it gets rid of debris and oil. Apply the cream with your brush using a circular motion.
Step 3: Use a Clean, Sharp Razor and Proper Technique
If you want the closest shave possible, go to a barber who uses a straight razor; the next best thing is a traditional double-edged razor. As a last resort, go for a cartridge razor. Be sure that the razor is sharp, as you’re not just removing hair but scraping some of the top skin layer too.
During your first shave, do it along the direction of the hair growth. Begin with the sideburns, then the moustache area, leaving the chin area for last. Use slow, gentle strokes, and remember to rinse your blade under hot water frequently between strokes to remove the gunk.
The next shave should be done across the grain. With a sharp blade, you do not need to apply too much pressure. As each person’s facial hair has its own growth direction, be observant as you shave and note the areas where you are prone to sensitivity and nicks.
At this point, professional barbers would usually end off with another shave against the grain, but don’t try this at home unless you’re confident. Shaving is an art that takes time to master.
Before you put the blade away to air-dry, rinse it thoroughly. For best results, ditch the blade once you sense it’s becoming dull.
Step 4: Rinse, Finish with Aftershave
Rinse your face with lots of cool water after the shave to close your pores. Pat dry with a clean towel—don’t rub!
Finally, apply an aftershave lotion that soothes and moisturises the skin at the same time. Choose one that refreshes your skin and is not too greasy.
There you go, being clean-shaven is no longer a mystery! Remember, practice makes perfect.
By Runbin Yew