News Advisor Grooming tips: how to get the perfect shave
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Grooming tips: how to get the perfect shave

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Hair removal can be a pesky, and very expensive, business.

Ask the big manufacturers, like we did, and they’ll give you a long and wondrous list of ways to get the most from your 17-bladed, military-grade piece of shaving hardware, which we’ll share with you later.

But first, we should tell you there is another, far more antiquated technique.

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A long time ago, when men slicked back their hair with Brylcreem, cars guzzled oil fields worth of petrol, and Hollywood stars all died of lung cancer, real men and women used far deadlier-looking methods to kill off their unwanted follicles.

“You won’t get a better shave from a vibrating six-bladed razor than you will from a properly keen double-edged razor or straight razor,” says Darcy Wilson, owner of Occams.

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All the cool kids are using double-edged or straight razors. Photo: Shutterstock

What Mr Wilson is referring to are the old-fashioned, switchblade-style knives (straight razors), and the heavy-duty metal contraptions into which you fit actual, individual razor blades (double-edged razors).

Judging from what’s available online, kitting yourself out with a razor, a pack of blades (for the double-edgers), a shaving brush and soap could cost you as little as $120 in your first year, and even less after that if you manage to keep the razor and brush.

But hey, old-style is intimidating, and potentially dangerous if you nick yourself.

If you prefer a safety razor from one of the big brands, the best option is to buy in bulk. For example, online website Amazon’s top-rated razor, the Schick Hydro 5 Blade, can be bought at $449 for 168 blades, not including the cost of the razor itself, which works out at $2.67 each.

There are also subscription services like Dollar Shave Club, which offers the convenience of a monthly mail out. The cheapest multi-sex option from the Club will cost $84 a year for 48 blades, plus the freebie, which works out at $1.75 each.

Electric shavers are an option, but expect to be disappointed. They may save you money on shaving cream, but are pretty terrible at actually removing hair.

“If you don’t need a close shave, yes. Quick and convenient, but they don’t do a terribly good job,” Mr Wilson says.

Steps to a great shave

1. The first step is to prep

Steam softens the hair and prevents ingrown hairs, so it might be a good idea to shave right after a shower, says fourth-generation barber Steve Salecich, who is recommended by Gillette.

“Taking the time to prepare properly will help in relaxing and softening the bristle to make it easier for the blade to run over the surface of your skin and those sensitive terrains of the face,” Mr Salecich says.

2. Lather up

Then, use a soap or shaving cream with plenty of cushion, glide and that forms a lasting lather. As you would expect, the big brands recommend their own shaving creams, but Occams’ Mr Wilson says you need to be careful.

“The most common irritant in shaving creams and soaps by far is the fragrance,” he says. “If good technique is not helping, try a different brand of cream or soap, maybe one that’s mildly scented or unscented.”

3. Focus on technique

The key, for both men and women, is to go against the growth, with a steady, even pressure, according to Schick.

“It’s important to shave slowly and gently. Let the razor blade do the work,” says Schick spokeswoman Rachel Pullicino.

Ideally, keep it to a single stroke, as hacking away with multiple strokes may cause irritation.

And if you’re using a replaceable razor, try the handy hint in the video below to make it last longer.

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