Hello Ashcraft Bunch readers! My name is Elizabeth, and I lead the product design for Mercer + James, a men's grooming and accessories brand that I started with my hubby a couple years back. We have an online shop at www.mercerandjames.com, which we started from our home in New York and continue to run together, sharing a collection of things we design ourselves and curate from our travels.
When the opportunity to do a guest post on Kenzie's blog arose, I wanted to figure out something to talk about that would be easy and useful for a lot of people. I decided that I'd keep it simple, and give a quick how-to for the perfect shave, focusing on easy tricks to save time and using natural products(both of which are especially important for those with little ones around!).
1. It starts with a nice, hot shower
For people with very hurried mornings, a leisurely hot shower may sound like a big luxury that just takes too much time. If you can make time for it, though, it will increase the quality of your shave and make it longer lasting because it softens the hair and skin, allowing the blade to cut the hair much farther down.
2. Oil up!
Adding in a proper shaving oil is the truly old-school way to shave; it was used long before modern soaps and gels were in use, and helps protect your skin and let the blade do its work effectively. After your hot shower, massage all-natural shaving oil onto your face and continue without yet rinsing. Our classic shaving oil will not only prep the hair and skin and prevent nicks, but since it's made of natural oils and nothing more, it's a safe product to keep around for those with little kids!
3. Use a fresh, sharp blade
This one seems like "yeah, duh" tip, but a lot of people use the same blade for weeks on end. You don't want your face to look like it went through a meat grinder, all in the name of thrift! If you use plastic cartridge blades, you should be switching them weekly at a minimum, and storing them in a stand that allows them to dry fully (helps put off rusting). Constantly switching out these cartridges can become very costly, though, and they simply aren't as effective on those with coarser hair. If you want to save money and still have a perfectly close shave, try switching to a safety razor. The blades last 2-3 times as long if you rinse them properly and allow them to dry, and come in big packs that cost a fraction of the cost of the plastic cartridge razors. Plus, they look nice!
4. Take your time
Shave as you normally do, but try doing it in a quiet room. Turn off the radio, turn off the faucet. Every face is different, so you should try shaving where you can hear the blade working along the surface of your skin. If you listen and pay attention, you'll quickly notice your own skin and hair's quirks - the spots where it changes direction, gets coarser or thicker, or makes the blade catch. Paying a little attention will get a closer shave now, but will also let you learn your skin and get a better, faster shave in the future.
5. Finish well
Finally, it's all about sticking the landing. Rinse your face and pat it dry with a clean towel; don't scrub. Your skin is sensitive, and scrubbing it now could cause ingrown hairs or other irritation. If you happened to nick yourself, or see any other skin redness or bumps, use an alum block on them. Unlike a lot of aftershaves and other products on the market, this is an all-natural mineral that's been in use to avoid skin infection since Biblical times (that's quite a track record). Again, something safe to keep in your house, which won't be damaging if it rubs off on your shirt ... or your family!
I could certainly go on for pages and pages with my favorite products, tips, and tricks for skin care and shaving, but these are truly the basics for getting the perfect shave. Now go forth, and make over your morning!