Beginner’s Guide to a Traditional Wet Shave

Shaving essentials including a safety razor and a Badger hair brush.

You wouldn’t smoke a cigar quickly, so why should you shave any quicker? In an age of “insta” gratification, whether that’s fast food, the world at our finger tips, or a quick wet shave. We should step back, take a breath and indulge in some more ‘me time’. So, open your Xitar cigar humidor, ignite a cigar spill, toast your favourite stogie and enjoy this guide for the perfect wet shave.

The Wash

After aligning your shaving accoutrements upon the bathroom sink and giving your face a once over in the mirror, it’s time for a pre-shave scrub up; the importance of a pre-shave wash is to remove any residue from the face to ensure a clean, hygienic shave.

Prepare your skin by submerging a clean flannel into hot water, the hotter, the better as this will help open your pores and soften those whiskers.

Shaving Cream

We are all used to keeping our favourite cigars hydrated, but what about our faces? It’s all too easy to purchase a quick fix foam or gel to shave which will dry the skin out and leave the face feeling lack lustre.

Choosing the right product will make or break a good shave. Creams are the traditional lubricant for a wet shave and are still used today by barbers the world over to lubricate and nourish the skin and whiskers for a good clean shave; not only that, they leave behind an enviable scent unrivalled by their cheap aerosol counterparts. We stock a wide range of Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving creams here at Havana House which are tried and tested and loved by all.

Once you have your chosen cream, it is time to apply it to the skin using a shaving brush. Nothing beats a genuine badger brush for this job as it provides the most loft when lifting the facial hair, barbarically using the hands to apply cream will often leave the hair matted and stuck down to the skin which can result in the shaving blade skipping or dragging on the hair/skin.

First start by wetting the brush, run the bristles under some warm water to saturate and create a foundation for your shaving cream. Remove any excess water.

Add a little amount of cream directly to the centre of the brush or if you have a shaving scuttle/tin/bowl add the cream to the container and mix to create a rich lather. A quality shaving cream will create copious amounts of lather so don’t add too much.

Lathering Up

Lathering the face will soften and lift whiskers, like toasting a cigar under a spill or Xitar lighter, lathering up is one of the most satisfying and relaxing parts of the shaving ritual, so enjoy. Take in the scent of the shaving cream and enjoy the sensation of the rich foam as it nourishes your face.

Use gentle circular motions working the brush and cream around the beard area. Create more lubrication by adding a bit more water to the brush until the facial area is covered with a substantial base ready for the razor.

The Shave

Now that your face is primed, it’s time for the shave. As a beginner’s guide, we won’t be covering the straight cut razor, but we recommend always using a fresh blade for that unbeatable clean cut. You wouldn’t use a blunt cigar cutter so why use a blunt blade? Take a look at our range of Edwin Jagger shaving sets for some inspiration.

Remember to let the blade do the work, this sounds like a tragedy waiting to happen, but there is very little need for applying a lot of pressure. Shaving commercials aside, short strokes are the way to go, it decreases the risk of cutting yourself and is just the traditional way of getting the job done.

Follow the grain, and remember that it’s important to go with the grain on the first shave. After an initial shave with the grain, re-lather and shave against the grain, this will ensure a skin-tight finish.

Finally, finish the shave up by swilling out the brush and hanging to dry. Rinse the face with plenty of cold water to close the pores and lastly complete with a splash of aftershave to tighten up those pores.

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