A Close Shave

Last week I talked briefly about men’s grooming—a subject that is near and dear to my heart. As a follow-up to my Father’s Day grooming-product recommendations, I’d like to go over some tips to keep you or the men in your life looking their best year-round.

Most men consider shaving their form of skin care, but they tend to ignore the parts of their faces that don’t grow hair. A few words about that: Men tend to have thicker, more oily skin than women (thanks to larger, more numerous sebaceous glands than women). They also tend to get more blocked pores and blackheads, especially around the nose. I recommend a scrub at least once a week, concentrated in areas where they don’t shave, such as the nose and forehead. (It’s best to keep the product in the shower, so it’s easy to remember to use it.)

The first and most important step is to prepare the beard and skin. One of the best ways to do this is to use a preshave oil. What a preshave oil does is form a protective barrier to improve the way a razor glides over the skin. It will also soften the beard and make it easier (and thus, less irritating) to shave. This is extra important for guys with sensitive skin.

Shaving works best in the shower when the skin is wet. A shaving cream applied with a shaving brush creates a rich, thick lather which helps to lift the beard away from the skin. It also provides moisture for a smooth, comfortable shave.

A sharp razor is of utmost importance. I have been recommending the Gillette Fusion ProGlide razor. It has thinner, finer blades which cut close, comfortably. I also like that the handle is reusable—just the blade gets replaced. When shaving keep the blade clean, and rinse often. Apply gentle pressure, and shave in the direction that the beard grows.

Apply a moisturizer after shaving to soothe the skin. Choose one according to the right skin type. Avoid aftershave, which typically contains alcohol and irritates skin, but also causes ingrown hairs.

A couple of other tips: I always carry an alum pen in my kit. It’s a natural mineral that stops the bleeding from a shaving nick and is far more attractive than toilet paper.

Finally, every man needs a great pair of tweezers. The Cro-Magnon look has long been out of style, and with a good pair of Tweezerman tweezers, your man will look evolved.

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