9 easy tips to drastically improve your shave

Shaving can be dreadful, painful and not least expensive. But there are ways to make your shave more pleasant. Read along as I present nine tips which will help improve your shave.

1) Never shave on dry skin!

This is rule number one for a reason! Even though electrical razors are popular and easy to use, they will never give you as smooth a shave as a wet shave. To get the best and closest shave, the combination of moistened beard and a sharp knife is better than anything else.


2) Trash your canned shaving foam and get a good soap or cream instead

Shaving foam in a pressurized can is your first enemy in your quest for a good, close shave. That’s bad because pressurized shaving foam is the only thing available in many parts of the world.

So what should you get instead? I recommend you start out with a decent shaving soap or shaving cream. You should be able to get this from your local chemist or barbershop. Shaving soaps and creams come in all price ranges and qualities, but I dare to say that all of them will give you a better shave than the canned foam you’ll get at the supermarket.

To get the most from the shaving soap or cream, you will benefit from a shaving brush to produce the greatest lather. That lead us to tip number three…


3) Get a shaving brush

A shaving brush is used to whip the shaving cream in order to produce a rich and thick lather. It is also used to apply the lather on to your face and into your beard.

The shaving brush must be able to absorb water in order to produce a rich lather. The best shaving brushes are made from badger hair, simple because badger hair can hold large amounts of water and still feel very soft on your skin. The cheaper shaving brushes are made from boar hair, which are less soft – or even from some sort of synthetic material.

Do yourself a favour and get a badger brush to begin with. As a beginner, it doesn’t have to be the most expensive one, just as long as it is made from badger hair.


4) Learn to use a Double Edge or straight razor

Stop buying canned shaving foam and disposable razors. Learn which products to get instead! (Photo submitted by one of our great readers)
Stop buying canned shaving foam and disposable razors. Learn which products to get instead! (Photo submitted by one of our great readers)

Now that we have the cream and the brush in place, we need to look at the razor itself.

Let’s begin by dividing them into three rough categories:

If your current razor fall into the first category, stop! The quality of the blades in these razors can not be compared to any of the other two categories. They are cheap for a reason.

Cartridge razors like the Gillette Fusion, Schich Hydro and King of Shaves Azor series can give you a very good and close shave. The drawback here is the price. The replacement cartridges will cost you much more than the blades you can get for a good Double Edge razor.

The Double Edge razor on the other hand is a tool for life. You can get a large variety of double edge blades at very reasonable prices and most of the blades maintain a very high quality. Double Edge razors come in different designs and vary in aggressiveness and ease of use. For a beginner a mild razor like the Merkur 43C or the Edwin Jagger 89 is highly recommended by many. While it may take a lot of practice to really master the technique, you will probably still experience an improvement from day one.


5) Allow your skin to wake up in the morning

Don’t shave just after you have woken up in the morning. While you sleep your skin expands slightly. Allow your skin at least 10-15 minutes to wake up as well before shaving.
(Added benefit: Your eyes also work better after ten minutes, meaning a reduced risk of cutting yourself)


6) Stop thinking of shaving as a dreadful chore. Make it your hobby

Now, this is not really a tip. Or is it? You will find that once you have your shaving brush and a double edge razor, shaving becomes much more fun and a thing you actually look forward to. You will find a smile on your face as you walk into your bathroom to shave.

At first, I never thought it would happen to me. But don’t be fooled. Once you’re into this – you’re hooked.


7) Don’t shave in the shower

This should be obvious, but I know a lot of you actually do this. Don’t shave in the shower! There are two reasons for that.

First, to get the best shave you should be right in front of your mirror and fully focused on what you’re doing.

Second; Even though you want your beard to be moistened, you don’t want your skin soaked while shaving. As you shower, your skin expands slightly. If you shave at the same time, you will not get as close a shave as you will after the shower.


8) Use a good, non alcoholic aftershave

Once you’re done shaving, you must protect your skin by using a good aftershave. Make sure to get an aftershave without alcohol! ┬áThe alcohol will dry out your skin completely and may result in nasty red spots.


9) Get my newsletter to learn about the latest and best products

Every now and then, I send out my free newsletter with some of the new stuff I test and articles with tips on how to get a better shave. You can subscribe easily by filling in your email in the box on the right – or by clicking here.


Next Post
Wet Shaving

Six Shooter Shaving Brushes


  1. Only two things that I would add to this:

    1. Use a glycerin based pre-shave treatment. A good lather will soften the beard and provide a cushion between your skin and the blade, but a good pre-shave lotion will add lubrication to this, making whatever type of razor you are using glide over your skin. G.F.Trumpers Skin Food is a really good pre-shave, and available in a variety of scents.

    2. Rinse with cold water. You should always prepare for shaving with a hot shower, or hot towel applied to the face to open the pores. Equally, after you have shaved you should rinse with cold water to close them again. For a really smooth finish, follow the cold rinse with a quick rub with an Alum Block then rinse again.

  2. Very, very good article. I just recently wrote about why canned foam is such an awful thing.

    Also, I would definitely add that it is important to choose the right razor blade. Not every blade is for every person. I cut myself a lot with some (that others recommended, for example Derbys weren’t for me), but achieved a very nice shave with others (using Feathers at the moment, love those ninja blades). So it definitely is a hit or miss thing at the beginning, but don’t be afraid to try some stuff out.
    Same goes for shaving cream or soap. Get something with a scent you like, try it out, if the lather it produces doesn’t work for you, try something else. Trying different products is also a lot of fun, and another part of the “getting hooked” process mentioned in the article.

    • Ivan
    • June 27, 2013

    There’s a fold on a man’s neck every now and then… No matter which method or product I use – it always leaves me with an ingrown hair. I am sure there are more people like that. Any thoughts on that?

    • michael
    • June 11, 2014

    In the last few months I have gone back to shaving with a DE razor. I am definitely experiencing a better and closer shave which I like over the triple track blade. My problem however has to do with now experiencing ingrown hairs which take a long long time to even just fade.

    My dermatologist said this was due to the close shaves I am receiving as well as the way the blade cuts the hair at a angle.

    He said I was screwed and to use a rotary shaver and get a crummy shave but reduce the chance of getting the ingrown hair.

    I have two Merkur shavers (slant edge and adjustable) which may be to aggressive shaver for my face.
    I would prefer to continue shaving with a DE razor but do not want to deal with the problem ingrown hairs. Can anyone suggest how to prevent getting ingrown hairs?

    • John
    • June 28, 2014

    I shave in the shower. I find the steam helps to soften the bristles. I can understand what you mean but I have a shaving mirror in the shower and I adjust the stream so it’s not on my face. I wash my beard with an exfoliant, either the Gillette or my preferred Men’s Niva. After I rinse it off I lather and shave so my skin is not soaking wet all the time. I’m in the process of looking for a new shaving brush but I don’t know if badger is available here in Australia.

  3. “6) Stop thinking of shaving as a dreadful chore. Make it your hobby”

    Very well put. I highly recommend trying quality products and finding what works best for you. There are numerous websites, forums, and other groups out there to help people find their way.

    • Chris
    • November 13, 2016

    I agree on ditching the shaving cream. I moved to baby oil. Allows me to see what I have shaving and it softens the skin after the shave.

    It also softens the hair. Major plus, if you have thick facial hair.

      • Chris
      • November 13, 2016

      Also, if people are interested. My barber gives excellent straight razor shaves. Shows you how to do it and everything.


  4. My handy tip if you’re styling your beard is to have a back-up “default” beard in case the shave goes wrong. A fair few times I’ve had to default to a stubble-based chin strap which get’s the job done when trying something different and getting it horribly wrong…

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