The Art of Shaving

Sandra Appiah May 09, 2011

By Bamidele Dipo-Ajayi

Shaving is the removal of hair with the use of a razor or a bladed implement to slice it down to the level of skin. It’s a practice common to men to remove facial hair and by women to remove leg and underarm hair.

This practice dates back to prehistoric times where men used archaic instruments like sharpened stones and burning twigs to remove hair. In the last three centuries, beards have been groomed, trimmed or completely shaved off depending on the zeitgeist of the era.

For the Egyptians, aristocratic men not only shaved their faces but also their heads and bodies; it was seen as more fashionable and also as a defense mechanism in battles. For the Greeks and Romans, beards initially represented wisdom, maturity and manhood but later became the mark of slaves, servants and barbarians as barber shops became the norm in society.

The perfect shave, one that’s baby smooth, is what all men strive for every morning when they raise their razors to their chins. Instead, what they get sometimes are nicks and cuts, irritation, redness and razor burns.

The reason it is so difficult to achieve this small feat is because shaving has become a lost art. The days of using a straight razor have been replaced by these modern times of disposable razors. There are two shaving methods: wet and dry shaving.

Wet shaving, simply put, is when you keep the area being shaved wet before and during the entire shave. It is the best type of shaving for better looking skin and a more effective shave. For wet shaving, you will need a glycerin-based shaving cream, a badger brush, a razor and plenty of hot water. As for dry shaving, you only need an electric razor. We can revive this lost art of wet shaving by following these simple steps:

  • Take a shower before you shave; it helps to soften the hair follicles making it easier to shave. However, if you are not able to take a shower, wash your face with hot, not scalding water. Fill your sink with hot water and splash some on your face. Hot water helps to open up the pores, relax your facial muscles and soften your whiskers for more effective cutting. The key to a great wet shave is to make sure that the area being shaved is wet!
  • Use the badger brush to apply the shaving cream in an up and down motion onto your face and neck until it forms a thick, opaque layer of lather. The brush is great to use because it absorbs the water and helps to coat the cream onto every hair, allowing for a closer and easier shave.
  • Use the razor to shave along the grain, that is in the same direction your hair grows. Rinse the razor often. For men of color, the best type of razor to use is a double-edge safety razor instead of the multi-blade cartridge razor. It helps to prevent ‘shave burns’ or razor burns, known medically as pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB). It is an inflammatory skin condition that can result from the re-entry of curved beard hairs into the skin after shaving. Gillette makes adjustable DE razors.
  • Once you are done, rinse your face with some cold water which will help to close the pores. Rinse your badger brush and store upright to dry so that the bristles will dry undamaged.
  • Pat, not rub your face dry, with a clean towel and follow with a non-alcohol based aftershave and some moisturizer.

Follow these simple steps and you will be well on your way to great skin. Good bye to nicks, cuts, razor burns, redness and irritation, hello baby smooth skin.


Last Edited by: Updated: September 12, 2018


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