Frequently Asked Questions
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Knowing the direction your face hairs grow in is the most important first step in achieving a close and comfortable shave. Shaving with, across and against the grain refers to shaving with, across and opposite to the direction of hair growth. Mark Of A Gentleman has developed a simple way to map your face that will provide an invaluable reference for achieving the perfect shave. Click Here to download the Face Map and get to know your face.
1 Prepare - To soften the beard & protect the skin. 2 Lather Up! - For a close & comfortable shave. 3 Shave - With a good handle & proper technique. 4 Moisturize - To soothe, refresh & regenerate the skin.
When it comes to choosing wet shaving equipment none offer more variety and choice then brushes. Brushes come is all shapes and sizes and with several different types of hair. The brush has two main parts, the handle and the brush hair. The handle can be made of many different materials from Ivory, Crystal, Metals, Precious Metals, Wood, Bone and Synthetic materials. The handle material and design is chosen for comfort and aesthetics. Today the most popular choice is synthetic materials like plastics and nylons since they offer a long durable handle that can be shaped and coloured in many ways to suite every taste. The hair of the brush is what gives it its performance characteristics. Hair ranges from natural animal to synthetic with the most common hair types being Bore, Badger and Synthetic. Of these, Badger Hair is the most common and also the most desirable. Badger hair offers a good balance of water retention and lather ability.
Badger Hair is often broken down into three grades, Pure, Super and Silver Tip. Pure Badger is the most common badger hair and comes from the underbelly of the badger and covers approximately 60 % of the badger. It has a darker colour then the other grades and is firmer to the touch. It is favoured by traditionalists looking to exfoliate the skin prior to shaving. Super Badger hair is softer and lighter in colour than pure badger. This hair is chosen by the more discerning wet shaver for its softness on the skin and water retention qualities. A unique dark band capped by light, almost white tips makes this hair very recognizable in its appearance. Silver Tip hair is the finest Badger hair available in the manufacture of shaving brushes and it originates from the neck of the animal. Its limited availability gives the badger hair special status amongst the shaving fraternity. It is fluffy in appearance and very soft to the touch. It also provides exceptional water retention to form a rich warm lather quickly and hold it for duration of the shave.
It is always recommended to follow the manufactures instruction on brush care where and when available. In general a brush will last for a long time of cared for as follows. After each shave, rinse the brush well under running water until all remaining soap is removed. Gently squeeze the brush to remove water and shake lightly to get rid of the remaining water. Be careful not to be too rough with the brush as it may loosen the bristles over time. The most important note is to NEVER store a damp brush in an enclosed cupboard, shelf or bag. This will ruin the brush.
Pre-Shave Oil and gels offer another layer of protection for the skin and help the razor blade glide over the skin without catching on it. This will minimize razor burn and help avoid nicks. This is an essential step in achieving a perfect shave.
When applying a pre shave treatment it is important to follow a few simple steps. First prepare your face for shaving by heating it with a hot towel or shaving just after taking a shower. Apply a small amount of oil or gel to your hand and spread out. It is important not to rub it into your hand as this will leave less oil to apply to the face. Apply oil or gel to shaving area to provide even coverage. Once the oil is applied you can apply shaving cream or soap as you normally would and enjoy the experience.
Both provide a rich thick lather and a comfortable shave. Soap is a hard bar style soap that is used with a shaving brush to whip up a lather in a shaving mug or bowl. Shaving Cream is traditionally softer and is usually applied to the tip of a moistened shaving brush and brought to a lather on the face or in a mug or bowl. Some Creams that come in a tube or are a very soft consistency do not require a brush and can also be used by rubbing with your hands and applying to the face. This may not work with all shaving creams but may be more convenient for travel. Shaving Soaps offer a more traditional shaving experience for those who prefer this and have the time and Creams offer a richer thicker lather in less time. Both will provide good lubrication and moisture.
Choosing a razor is very much a personal thing. There are many options between cartridge, double edge safety and straight razors and there is no right or wrong choice, just the choice that best suits you. Most traditional wet shaving enthusiasts have several razors in their arsenal and may switch as required for travel, time, desired closeness etc. It is important to remember that what one person will say is the best they have ever tried, may not be the best for you. Chose a razor for what format appeals to you and try several if you can. I would also recommend to do as much research as you can and talk to your friend that enjoy wet shaving to see what advice they can offer.
It is important to always rinse your razor under hot water during shaving and after shaving. Keeping the blade area clean and preventing clogging will lead to a closer and more comfortable shave. It is also recommended to do a thorough razor cleaning every few months. This can be done by following the manufacturer's instructions and cleaning all moving parts with a small brush (an old tooth brush works best. Please remember that the razor is a precision instrument and when treated properly will give you years of enjoyment and comfort.
Razor Burn is a rash that appears several minutes after shaving and can be caused by several factors including starting without proper lubrication and using a poor shaving soap or cream. Some soaps and creams contain chemicals and numbing agents that are harsh and don't provide the needed protection for a comfortable shave. Applying too much pressure when shaving or using a dull blade may also lead to razor burn. Also remember to start out shaving with the grain first then re-lather and shave across the grain. Do not try to shave against the grain until you are comfortable going with and across the grain. Shaving across the grain on sensitive skin is a common cause of razor burn. Remember, always start with a good pre-shave treatment, keep the area lubricated well during shaving and re-lather before changing direction.
Nicks and cuts often occur as a result of the blade slipping perpendicular to the shaving direction or using a razor that can't properly follow the contours of the face. Nick can also result from shaving over bumps on the skin. The most effective way to treat nicks and cuts is using an Alum Block or Styptic Pencil. Wet the Styptic Pencil or Alum Block and rub directly onto cut until bleeding stops. Also, avoid using an after shave with alcohol or harsh chemicals.
An Alum Block is used as an astringent to close the pores and tighten the skin after shaving. The Alum Block is run under cold water and then rubbed on the skin. It will also close any small nicks that occurred during shaving. The Styptic Pencil is used only on small areas to seal nick and cuts after shaving. Wet the end of the pencil and apply directly to the cut until the bleeding stops.
Ingrown Hair is caused when the hair follicle is cut so close that it falls beneath the skin and grows under the skin. It is also caused by hair that has been sharpened by the razor and re-enters the skin through another hair follicle opening. The best way to avoid ingrown hair is to shave with the grain in sensitive areas until the ingrown hairs are eliminated. Also avoid shaving too close and sharpening the end of the hair follicle.