“You can tell from looking at them who has been shaving badly for years,” says barber Carmelo Guastella, who runs the Bloomsbury grooming salon Melogy. “Some people’s skin is more delicate than others, but that doesn’t mean it has to be problematic.”
The increasingly cold weather only makes things worse for those whose dry skin makes them prone to razor burn, but taking a few precautions can eliminate problems. In the first place, says Guastella, remember to moisturise the skin before you go to bed, which will make for an easier shave in the morning. In fact, preparation is all-important. “Before you shave, you need to apply warm water to soften the hairs and also shaving oil,” says Guastella. “The oil protects the skin, moisturises it and further softens the hair too.”
When applying shaving cream, a brush is not merely for indulging in a spot of retro whimsy. “It helps lift the hairs and get between the follicles, which gives you a closer, smoother shave,” says Guastella.
Take some time to see the direction – or grain – in which the hair grows. First shave with the grain, before applying more cream and either dragging the razor against the grain (for the closest shave) or across it at a right angle. Which way you go depends on the angle at which the hairs grow – the more upright the hairs, the easier to go directly against the grain.
Lastly, apply some post-shave balm and chuck that used razor away, since blunt old blades with hairs stuck in them are sure signs of a sloppy shaver – though the bumps and blotches that inevitably go with them are more obvious still.
ELEMIS SMOOTH RESULT SHAVE OIL
Shaving oil softens facial hair and protects and moisturises the skin.
MOLTON BROWN BAI JI HYDRATOR
A cooling cream-gel using an oriental orchid root extract and macademia seed oil. £25 www.moltonbrown.co.uk
BAXTER OF CALIFORNIA SUPER CLOSE FORMULA SHAVE CREAM
Minty, mentholy cream using antiseptic oils to diminish burn. £18 www.carterandbond.com
PRORASO PRE AND POST SHAVE CREAM
Classic Italian brand using eucalyptus oil to refresh, moisten and reduce irritation to the skin. £8.95
1. Czech & Speake No 88 shaving set, £295 www.czechandspeake.com
2. Edwin Jagger imitation ivory Chatsworth razor, £45 www.edwinjagger.com
3. Parker Knightsbridge Safety Razor, £32.95 www.carterandbond.com
WET SHAVE | Where to go in London
MELOGY Carmelo Guastella’s salon offers a full wet shave including scented hot towels, moisturising and skin massage, for £24. There’s also a beard design and shave option, a beard trimming service and hair and scalp treatments. 1 Sinclaire House, Hastings St, WC1H 9PZ,
TED BAKER The Cheapside and Holborn branches of the fashion store include Ted’s Grooming Rooms, specialising in Turkish barbering. The “One and Only” wet shave is £18.50 and a beard trim is £8.50. 120 Cheapside, EC2V 6DR,
MURDOCK The cool gents’ grooming business has stores in Shoreditch, Mayfair and at Liberty. A wet shave is £32.50, with a luxury £39.50 version available too. 340 Old Street, EC1V 9DS, www.murdocklodnon.com
NICHOLSON & GRIFFIN The men’s hairdresser has three City branches, though only its Cannon Street branch offers a wet shave, which costs £22. 74 Cannon Street, EC4N 6AE, www.nicholsonandgriffin.com
GEO F. TRUMPER The daddy of London barbering, with venues in Mayfair and St James, charges £38 for a wet shave.
9 Curzon St, SW1Y 6JP, www.trumpers.com