Shaving tips

shaving tips header

Nothing beats the silky smooth feeling that comes after a fresh close shave. But we know that getting there isn’t always plain sailing. From nicks and cuts to razor burn, most of us are all too familiar with the consequences of a dodgy shave.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. With a bit of education, it’s easy to save yourself from these common shaving faux pas. Whether it’s your face, head or body, once you’ve nailed the technique, shaving really is a breeze. Here we share our essential shaving tips, for smooth results without any stress.

Shaving tip #1: Change your blades regularly

We know we bang on about it a lot, but we really can’t stress enough the importance of keeping your blades fresh. No matter how well you do everything else, shaving with an old razor blade just isn’t going to cut it, quite literally.

A good way of thinking about it is to imagine trying to chop a tomato with a blunt knife…

Instead of a clean cut, you usually end up ripping the skin and making a mess.

Well, it’s a similar principle with shaving. When you use a blunt razor, the hair follicles are tugged and torn in all sorts of manners, which is a sure fire way to post-shave irritation.

As a rule of thumb, razor blades should stay sharp for around 5-7 shaves. A few factors come into play here, like the thickness of your hair, and the size of the area you’re shaving. Depending on how frequently you shave, a weekly or fortnightly blade change should do the trick.

But sharpness isn’t the only reason you should be changing your blades regularly. Razors are a prime chill spot for bacteria, particularly in the damp abode of your bathroom.

So even if you aren’t shaving that often, we wouldn’t recommend hanging on to a used razor blade cartridge for any longer than a month.

Tip:  As tempting as it is to leave your razor on the shower floor or the side of the sink, if you want to really maximise the lifespan of your blade cartridges, it’s best to avoid keeping it somewhere it’s going to get wet. Give your blades a quick dry with a towel after you’ve finished shaving, and pop it somewhere dry, like the bathroom cabinet.

Shaving tip #2: Use the right tool for the task

There isn’t really a “one size fits all” option when it comes to razors, which is why we have the option of 3 or 5 blades with our osku razor cartridges.

osku | 3 blade

3 blades minimise irritation and allow for greater precision.

osku | 5 blade

5 blades maximise the shaving surface for our closest cut.

osku | 5 blade + trimmer

5 blades with precision trimmer for hard to navigate areas.

Multi-blade razors work by using a “lift-and-cut” system. This means that the hairs are lifted by the first blade, and then cut by the next, with the process being repeated by the following blades. The advantage of using more blades is that a closer cut can be achieved using minimal passes.

Whilst technically a 5 blade cartridge should provide a closer result, it isn’t always the best option. If you have particularly sensitive skin, acne, or you’re shaving a delicate area (like your downstairs regions) then you may find the 3 blade cartridge to be a better choice; you’ll still get a close result, but with less risk of irritation.

We typically recommend the 3 blade cartridge for body shaving. The smaller head tends to make it easier to navigate around difficult areas (like the underarm crevice), but again, this is all down to personal preference.

Shaving tip #3: Get steamy

Steam is your friend when it comes to shaving. No matter the body part, one of the most beneficial shaving tips we can give is to take a hot shower or bath beforehand.

You may have heard before that steam “opens” the pores (the little holes in the skins outer layer). Well, this isn’t exactly true…

Pores don’t open and shut like doors, and they don’t particularly change in size either…

Here’s the real story; when the pores come into contact with heat and steam, any dirt and oil trapped inside is softened so it’s easier to remove. When the skin is clean it gives the razor a much smoother surface to glide across, which is exactly what you need for a drama-free shave.

Steam also helps significantly in softening the skin and the hairs, creating a far less demanding task for the razor.

If it’s your face that you’re shaving, another option here is to give yourself a classic hot towel treatment. You’ve probably seen this before, it’s a traditional shaving preparation technique that has been used in barber shops for centuries.

You’ll just need to soak a clean towel or flannel in hot water, or you can heat it up in the microwave (either way, please be careful not to burn yourself!). Once it’s nice and hot, just pop it on your face, sit back and relax for a few minutes whilst it works its magic.

If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can add a few drops of essential oils into the water. This is totally optional though (essentially it just makes it smell nice), the heat and steam from the towel are doing all the work.

Shaving tip #4: Exfoliate

If you’ve yet to discover the merits of exfoliating before a shave, then you really are missing out on a trick.

When it comes to achieving a smooth shave, the aim of the game is to avoid any friction between your skin and the razor. 

Exfoliating also helps to lift the hairs away from your skin, so there’s less chance of tugging during the shave, or experiencing any ingrown hairs later down the line.

If it’s your face you’re shaving, a quick scrub with a gentle exfoliating wash (like kóri) will eliminate any dirt and dead skin cells, giving you a smooth clean surface to work with.

You’ll want to avoid anything that’s too harsh on the skin. Our kóri exfoliating face wash has been specially designed to be gentle enough for everyday use; it’s packed with lots of skin-friendly natural ingredients, making it ideal for all skin types.

If you’re doing some body-scaping, you can go for a slightly grittier exfoliant. We’re a huge fan of coffee body scrubs; they buff away dead skin cells leaving you with radiant and glowing skin. Plus they also fight the appearance of cellulite.

Our skrub body polish is available in three varieties, Original Coffee, Coffee and Coconut, and Coffee and Strawberry. Each one has it’s own benefits using nature’s finest exfoliators to give you a clear slate for shaving.

kóri | Exfoliating face wash

With Orange and Eucalyptus for a refreshing hit.

skrub | Body polish

With Robusta Coffee to stimulate circulation and firm the skin

Apply a small amount (around a 20p size for your face, 50p for legs/body) of product to the skin using gentle circular motions. Go easy on the scrubbing, and be sure to properly rinse all the exfoliating particles – you don’t want any strays getting stuck in your razor!

Shaving tip #5: Never underestimate the power of lubrication

As far as shaving tips go, a subject that is often overlooked is the importance of getting your lubrication right.

Unsurprisingly, skin doesn’t tend to be too keen on sharp razor blades, so keeping it protected should be top priority. Ideally, you want a product that does a great job of softening the hairs and lubricating the skin, without drying it out.

Canned shave foams have always been a popular choice, but we aren’t so keen here at grüum HQ. Sure, they’re kind of entertaining to use, and all that foam might look like it’s giving you lots of protection, but don’t be fooled…

The “foaminess” of these kinds of products is usually a result of some pretty questionable chemicals, which certainly don’t do the skin any favours. If you use canned shave foam and find that you often suffer from dryness and irritation, then you might be surprised to hear that the can could be to blame.

We opt for a clear gel (danne) here at grüum, which is handy if you like to see where you’re shaving. The gentle formulation gives you loads of protection without being too harsh on the skin.

danne | shave gel

With soothing Aloe Vera and antibacterial Witch Hazel.

Make sure you apply a decent layer of product, and for best results, leave it to sink in for a few minutes before you begin your shave. This way the hairs will get super soft, making them much easier to cut.

Shaving tip #6: Go easy on the pressure

So many people make the mistake of applying too much pressure whilst shaving, and it certainly doesn’t do you any favours.

It’s a frequent misbelief that pressing down harder will give you a closer result, when in fact, this does a lot more harm than good.

Although you can’t see it happening, shaving also removes the very top layer of skin along with the hairs. When too much pressure is applied, too much skin is removed.

shaving tips

This doesn’t particularly go down well with the skin, often displaying its disapproval by becoming red and inflamed – one of the biggest complications of shaving.

It’s also important to keep in mind that razor blades work best when they are cutting across a flat surface. Pressing down hard creates little caverns in the skin, making it rather difficult to achieve a smooth glide.

Providing that you’re using a good quality razor with sharp blades, you should find that you get far better results using gentle passes of the razor.

It’s all about letting the razor do the work. Our oska razor handle is around 20% heavier than most other brands, which helps reduce the amount of pressure you’re exerting on the skin.

Shaving tip #7: Know your grain

Amongst all the shaving tips flying around the internet, “the grain” tends to be a popular topic of conversation.

Don’t worry if you’re staring at this with a blank face. “The grain” simply refers to the direction in which the hair naturally grows. Shaving in the same direction as the hair growth is going “with the grain” with the opposite being “against the grain”. Nice and simple.

To figure out your grain, gently run your hands across your skin in a few different directions (this works best on stubble that has been growing for a couple of days). You’re looking for the way that feels the smoothest.

shaving tips grain

Tip: It’s worth noting that faces don’t tend to follow the same overall grain direction, so be sure to check each section (neck, cheeks, lip, etc) individually.  This is a process called “grain mapping”, and it can make a huge difference to the overall quality of your shave.

When you shave against the grain, the hairs are pulled away from the skin before they are cut. Although this can technically allow a closer shave, for most people, this is far too harsh on the skin, and is a one-way ticket to the land of irritation and razor burn.

Because of this, we’d always recommend shaving with the grain. You should still get a close result, but your skin won’t end up feeling like a tenderised chicken.

Tip: Armpit hair doesn’t really have a grain, so you don’t need to worry about the usual rule here. Make sure the skin is pulled taught, and shave in all directions to achieve the best result.

Shaving tip #8: Rinse your blades regularly

As we mentioned before, friction certainly isn’t your friend when it comes to shaving, and nothing creates unwanted friction quite like a clogged up razor.

shaving tips rinse

Razors generally don’t perform great when they’re full of hair and shave gel. Alongside the issue with general friction, clogged up blades also mean that more passes are needed to achieve a close result. The more passes you make with your razor, the more potential there is to irritate the skin, so you’ll want to keep this to the minimum.

Ideally, you should be rinsing your razor after every couple of strokes. Our osku razor cartridges have a clever design that allows water to flow straight through from front to back, so de-clogging is a doddle.

Don’t neglect the post-shave

So you’re freshly shaved and feeling smooth as a baby’s bum, but it’s important not to dash off just yet!

Think about it… Skin is pretty delicate stuff, and razor blades aren’t so delectate, so it’s understandable to be in need of a little bit of self-love after you’ve finished your shave.

Tip: If it’s your facial fuzz that you’ve just said farewell to, we’d undoubtedly recommend adding a facial tonic/toner into your post-shave routine. Our gösta tonic will kill any lingering bacteria, as well as soothing and repairing the skin. It comes in a handy spray bottle, so it’s a breeze to use. Just spray it on your face before you apply your moisturiser.

gösta | Facial tonic

kåre | Daily moisturiser

kåre daily moisturiser has been formulated from a blend of skin-friendly natural ingredients like chamomile and green tea; designed to provide soothing hydration, whilst also replenishing the skin.

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