A warm welcome to all who go on ME and MI! My name is Ronald and Misha has asked me to make a surprise guest appearance from time to time to please the "man" crowd. And what's more manlier than our daily ritual of shaving (or undaily ritual for some). The winter season has come and gone, so that winter's beard of your has to go too. For you women out there, stick this article in your man's face and tell him to give it a good read. I know that the last thing you women want is to get pricked by the hairs of your man when kissing him on the cheek because he hates shaving. Well, men, use these tips to take the pain out of shaving and reward yourself with a smooth cheek worthy of a kiss that even Kesha would enjoy.
Step 1: First things first. Shave in a hot shower! Buy yourself an anti-fog shower mirror. Why? The steam from the shower opens up your pores and soften the whiskers. The softer the hair, the easier it is to shave without irritation. Which leads me to my next tip. When shaving in the shower, make it the final thing you do before getting out. You expose your skin longer in the steam, and soften up your whiskers as much as possible.
Step 2: Soften those hairs more! I rub conditioner (yes, hair conditioner) on my face in the areas that I'm shaving. And while I do this, I rub opposite of the grain, pulling the hair upwards with my nails and allowing them to stand, getting rid of any in-grown hair, which is more of a problem for men with the capabilities of growing a beard as thick as Joaquin Phoenix (in his "i-wanna-be-a-rapper" days). Doing this significantly decreases the chance of cutting or nicking your skin, and softens up those whiskers that much more!
Step 3: Gel or Cream? If you haven't noticed a difference between gel and cream, I'll give you a good reason to lean towards gel. While in the shower, gel does not thin as much as cream when exposed to the small amount of inescapable water that hits your face, which will help produce a thicker lather. I use Schick's hydro shaving gel. You want to apply the gel in the same manner as step two, work the hair upwards as you rub it on your face. And work it in vigorously for a good 1-2 minutes, don't just apply it. You want to soften that hair as much as possible (Hmm...are you starting to catch on what the moral of the story is?). Once you think you've soften the hair enough, evenly distribute the gel among your face because now you're ready to start shaving.
A few things to get out of the way before we start shaving. To pull or not to pull? For you young gentlemen out there, pulling your skin is not necessary. Your skin is taut enough to create a smooth surface for the blade. This also prevents in-grown hair because when you pull, you start shaving hairs past the surface of your skin. Unfortunately, if you have the skin of a bloodhound, pulling is a necessity.
The big question: shaving with the grain or against the grain? It all depends if you're more susceptible to ingrown hairs or not, or if you have sensitive skin. As for me, I always shave against the grain. It allows for a closer shave. If you're a "with the grain" kind of guy, try going against the grain but be warned, it takes 4 to 5 days of shaving against the grain for your skin to not irritate. Go to a barbershop that does shaves, they go against the grain because they prep the skin and the hair correctly to soften up the hair to allow for an easy "against the grain" shave.
Step 4: Let's shave. Start at the ends of your jawbone and work upwards toward your cheekbones and then your sideburns. You want to save the beard and the 'stache for last and let the magic of the shaving gel soften those tough areas the most. When shaving the beard, start at the neck and work your way up. When you shave your moustache there is no need to pucker up the upper lip area, so shave the 'stache without the look of a Dr. Suess' Who in Whoville.
Step 5: Now since you're shaving in the shower, turn it to cold, rinse off your face, get out, and you're done! Cold water closes the pores and refreshes the skin. Apply some of your favorite aftershave after drying your face. I prefer using a lotion type aftershave since my skin gets dry from the hot shower.
Find that woman of yours (most likely in the kitchen) and indulge in the vast benefits of a clean, close, shave. If you've got any manly tips on shaving feel free to share! As for "shaving the bush", we'll save that for a rainy day.
Photo Sources from L to R: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6