If, for whatever reason, you’ve decided that after years of being beardy you’re ready to embrace the clean-shaven look again, you’ll be wanting to reach for a razor right about now. But before you do, there are 12 things you should know before you shave your beard.
“It is quite common for clients of mine to tell me about their own experience of trying to simply trim their beard down to be a good length of stubble but instead ending up having to take it all off thanks to something going wrong in the process,” says barber and Braun Grooming Ambassador Dan Gregory.
“You shouldn’t have to go from full beard to beard-free quite so dramatically.”
How to shave a beard
With the facial hair fad rapidly declining, here Gregory offers his safe shaving advice…
1. Prep properly
“It’s important that you lightly exfoliate and moisturise your face regularly before and after the trim. More skin will be on show with a shorter style and you want it to look fresh.”
2. Go slow
“Remember not to rush the process, as this is can lead to a style mishap. If you do intend to make the transition from full beard to clean-shaven.
“I would recommend trimming to a stubble length first and working with that for a few days, before losing all hair. This slower, gentler approach can prevent increased skin sensitivity as well as in-grown hairs.”
3. Lather up
“As tempting as it may be to shave without a cream, gel or foam, this is an important factor. Not only are you protecting your skin and softening your beard, but using a product to create a good lather also ensures a smoother, safer shave.
“I recommend using a shave cream rather than a gel, as it coats the skin with a luxurious lather that locks in the skin’s moisture, whereas a shaving gel can dry off the skin faster than a cream.”
4. Choose your tool
“We are spoilt for choice when it comes to electric shaving tools that cater for all sorts of needs, skin types and styles.
“I love working with the Braun S3 Shave & Style – a 3-in-1 solution for the man who wants to have the freedom of choice between a clean shave and a precise beard style with one device.”
5. Soothe your skin
“Keep your skin smooth and supple by taking care of it after shaving, too. Shaving is a form of exfoliation, heightening sensitivity and the likelihood of irritation.
“With that in mind, avoid any products that may be harsh on the skin and opt for aftershave balms with skin cooling, healing and moisturising ingredients, ideally with an SPF as well.”
How not to shave a beard
We spoke to Artistic Director of The Refinery in Mayfair and UK ambassador for Braun UK, Parsa Rad, for his don’ts of beard-shaving.
1. Shaving before showering
“No matter how you prefer to shave, the best time to do it is straight after showering because the warm water and steam will soften the hairs, making them so much easier to cut and reducing friction and pulling a lot.”
2. Shaving in the shower
“I get so many men telling me they shave in the shower, but my question to them is how can they see what they’re doing properly? How do you know you’re catching every hair and shaving in the right direction if you can’t actually see your face?
“It’s much better to enjoy your shower and once you’re out, pat off the excess water with a towel and then beginning the shaving process. It’s basically an at-home shaving hack instead of the classic barber hot towel technique.”
3. Not using shaving oil
“After your shower and before shaving, I suggest using oil to lubricate the skin and soften the hairs even more than the hot water alone. It’s very ritualistic, too. The Refinery Shave Oil is my all-time favourite product for this and the one thing I tell my clients never to skip. Two or three drops will do, massaged into the area.”
4. Not washing and drying your razors
“When I go to a friend’s house and I see his shaver lying on the side of the bath or sink, I can’t help but move it for him! If it gets damp, the blades are going to go blunt. Wash it properly after every use and keep it somewhere dry.
“At home, when I don’t have 30 minutes to spend on my ritual, I personally use the Braun Series 9 electric shaver (available on Amazon). Some Braun shavers come with a Clean & Renew station too – which will take the cleaning job out of your hands!”
5. Shaving in the wrong direction
“People always ask me whether they should shave with or against the grain. The truth is that there’s no right or wrong – you should try both on different parts of your face to find out what is most effective for you without irritating your skin.
“Going against the grain shaves more closely, but the closer the shave the more likely hairs are to grow in. On most men, shaving against the grain on the cheek area is normally fine, but doing this on the sensitive neck can often cause razor burn and irritation.”
6. Using too much pressure
“With an electric shaver you have to go against the grain, but it’s much gentler than a razor. Just remember not to put too much pressure on and to go in small strokes methodically across the face, being extra careful to capture all the hairs that grow in different directions around the nose, lips and Adam’s apple.”
7. Skipping the aftercare
“First things first after shaving: splash the face with cold water, which will refresh and soothe the skin. Then, apply a cooling and gentle aftershave balm or moisturiser to finish the job – something that is suited to your skin type.
“Unless you simply love it for the old-school ritual of it, don’t be tempted to splash on an alcohol-based aftershave. Putting high levels of alcohol on the facial skin is never a good idea, but on freshly-shaved skin this is even more true!
“Also, don’t skip the SPF, no matter what your skin type or tone. Shaving is a really effective exfoliator (great!), which can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight (not great). To protect your skin and help to keep it looking young, broad-spectrum protection is key.”
Blades of glory: 3 super shavers for banishing your beard
Braun Multi Grooming Kit, Amazon
Wahl Aqua Blade Beard and Stubble Trimmer with Wahl Sterling Beard Oil, Amazon
Philips 9000 Series S9711 / 32 Wet & Dry Electric Shaver with Precision Blades, Amazon
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