Good grooming: Shaving

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"Shaving? I don’t need no shaving lesson! My dad taught me how with the blunt side of a Bic and a load of imperial lather when I was eight years old!

It shows. Go and look in the mirror. You probably haven’t shaved in at least a couple of days. If you have shaved within the last 24 hours, I guarantee that you’re still experiencing razor burn as a result of your crappy disposable blade and cheap shaving foam.

"But it’s not my fault I tell ya, it’s not my fault!"

There, there. I know, I know. Poor teaching and a market cynically aimed at the "no time" generation means that the first products you’ll go for are Gillette’s vibro razor (why does a razor need batteries?) and Sainbury’s own brand shave foam. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Keep Reading after the jump for all the right, right, rights of shaving like a real man.

First off – Shower before you shave. I can’t stress this enough. The water saturates the hairs and raises them from the skin, meaning that the blade has closer contact with the base of the hair ensuring a closer shave. If you use hair conditioner, rub a bit into your stubble, leave on for a few minutes then rinse. It softens the hairs which makes less work for the razor and negates the need for an expensive pre-shave oil.

Time for a recommended product. I’ve always used King of Shaves shaving gel which contains natural ingredients that protect the skin while shaving. It’s also made without artificial surfactants like sodium laureth sulphate which most other brands contain. Considering that SLS is used as an industrial oil remover, can you imagine what it does to your skin?

Depending on your ethics, this next bit will either make you feel like a bastard or a real man. The best way to apply a shaving gel or cream is with a badger hair brush, made from real badgers. Honestly. The brushing action gives an evenly spread lather which in turn gives a more consistent shave. Make sure you’re using hot water when lathering up. Cold water just won’t work.

Right, now for the big event. Use a real razor. With real blades. I’ve already recommended the Merkur Razor, but there are plenty of others. Shave along the grain, not against it. If you’ve followed the steps above, you should get a really close shave. Shaving against the grain promotes ingrown hairs and razor burn.

You’ve shaved. Your chin is smoother than Duncan Goodhew’s head, and your sideburns are at an army regulation length. But your regimen still isn’t finished. Dry your face by patting it with a clean towel. As well as stubble, you’ve also removed a good couple of layers of skin. Rubbing it with the same towel you’ve used to dry your crotch isn’t a good idea.

Now use a good post-shave cream, such as Elemis post-shave recovery mask (£25.99). This will help your boat race recover from its ordeal. You’re done. So you’re late for work. But at least you’re not bleeding all over your collar or look like your face has just been napalmed then extinguished with a pitch fork.