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The Best Way to Prepare Your Face for a Shave | The Stray Whisker

Posted by Con Kazantzidis on

Time and time again, I'm asked why preparation is so important to your shave.

For many, this may seem obvious or "a given". But the fact of the matter is that preparation is a vital part of the shave that is frequently overlooked. 

A quick shave for many means skipping this all too crucial step.

The notion of scraping a very sharp edge along your skin to remove hair is a hostile one - or at least, it can be. This can be dramatically reduced through...you guessed it, preparation.

One of the most common reasons for a bad shave is insufficient preparation.

Why prepare for a shave?

There are basically three reasons we should prepare for a shave.

1. To remove dirt, grime and natural oils from the skin which hinder the shave.

2. To soften the skin and make it more supple for the blade. Supple skin is far easier to shave than non-cleansed skin.

3. To soften and hydrate the whiskers.


Human hair has the same tensile strength as copper wire of the same diameter.


Preparing for the shave

Water, water and more water!

Hydration is the key to having a comfortable shave.

Step 1. Wash your face thoroughly with a pH neutral face cleanser. Try not to use regular soap as this has a tendency to strip your skin of important oils and leave it dry and itchy.

Step 2. Pat your face dry. Do not rub it with a towel. This may irritate the skin; besides your skin needs to remain fairly hydrated (moist).

Step 3. If you wish, you can use a glycerin based soap to further soften your whiskers and assist in creating a supple surface for the blade.

Step 4. Lather and shave, hydrating the skin between passes.

Step 5. Did I mention the importance of water? Water is your friend!

Over the years, I have found that the steps mentioned above work very well in improving my shave. They are variables that can be fairly easily controlled and add to a comfortable and enjoyable shave.

If you've read this and think it's all a bit too much, the very least you can do is to place a hot (as hot as you can tolerate) wet towel on your face for about 30 seconds.

What’s your pre-shave routine?

I’d love to hear what you do to prepare your skin before a shave. Feel free to leave a comment below.