How-To Tuesday: Four Steps for the Perfect Shave

Proper shaving technique is hard to master. For many young men, learning how to shave is a rite of passage. However, even men advanced in age struggle with shaving. Whether it’s before a job interview, date, or just another day at school/work, most—if not all—men have experienced dreaded cuts, bumps and razor burns from rushed or poor shaving. In honor of No Shave November, apply these simple steps in order to get a proper shave.

Step 1: Choose your razor and shaving cream. I personally recommend Neutrogena Skin-Clearing shave ream, and Gillette Mach 3 Sensitive disposable razor blades. The Neutrogena product softens the skin and reduces irritation more than regular shaving cream. Also, less of the Neutrogena cream is needed to shave than regular shaving cream. Choosing a razor blade that you are comfortable with is perhaps most important. I happened to find the razor blades I prefer when my girlfriend recommended the ones she uses for her legs (no shame—they are extra sensitive). Razor blade preference varies by person and beard type, so the choice is subjective.

Hanna Rifkin/WSN
Hanna Rifkin/WSN

Step 2: Using a washcloth, wash your face with warm water. This will open up your pores and make shaving a lot easier. Even if you are shaving after a shower, do not skip this step—it is important that your skin is soft and moist for the razor to glide easily. While your face is still damp, apply a thin layer of lather. Excess lather will impede the process and increase risk of injury as the razor blade will be working to remove lather as well as shave.

Hannah Rifkin/WSN
Hannah Rifkin/WSN

Step 3: Starting at one side of your face, begin shaving. Use short strokes, and rinse the razor blade after each stroke. The blade will not work as effectively if it is clogged with cream and hairs, increasing the likelihood of injury or razor burn. Go slowly—if you rush and do not clean the blade, it is more likely that you will injure yourself, especially if you have a thick beard.

Hannah Rifkin/WSN
Hannah Rifkin/WSN

Step 4: After you have finished shaving, examine and adjust your sideburns to ensure that they are even. Go in small increments to avoid mistakes. First, choose the height you want your sideburns to be and use that as the reference point for trimming. As with shaving, go slowly. When finished, rinse the razor of cream and hairs so you can reuse it.

Hannah Rifkin/WSN
Hannah Rifkin/WSN

So there you go: four simple steps for shaving effectively and avoiding bumps, burns, cuts and red marks. Remember, not rushing is key. Personally, I shave at night to give my skin time to heal before the next day. Unfortunately, this is not an option for most men, who need a clean, crisp look every day. If this is the case for you, build extra time into your morning routine for shaving, and take the time to admire your smooth, freshly shaved appearance when you are finished.

 Sam Del Rowe is a staff writer. Email him at


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