In order to achieve the closest and most comfortable shave possible it is vital that you prepare your beard effectively. Poor shave preparation is one of the most common reasons for shaving irritation and spending just a few minutes getting ready before shaving can transform your shaving results.
The essential part of any pre shave ritual is hot water. Hot water softens the beard making it easier to cut through and it also cleans the dirt and dead skin that can build up around the beard hairs. Shaving immediately after a hot shower, applying a towel soaked in hot water or simply splashing hot water on to your face for a minute or two are all easy ways to soften the beard. Using a daily exfoliator during this process will further help to clear away any dead skin and allow the hot water to penetrate the beard and skin.
For particularly tough stubble it is recommended that you use a pre shave balm or lotion to accelerate and increase the softening effect on the beard hairs. These are typically applied to the beard area and then left for a minute or two to do their work - this is a good time to get on with something else such as getting your shaving lather ready or brushing your teeth. The pre shave can then be rinsed off or you can apply the shaving lather directly over the top if you prefer.
Pre shave oils can have a softening effect on the beard but they also help to provide additional lubrication and glide to the razor during shaving. These are applied before the shaving lather.
You can never over-prepare your beard for shaving. For new wet shavers we recommend paying particular attention to preparation and doing as much as possible to ensure the best shave. When you are getting great shaves with no irritation you can then start to reduce your preparation if you feel you need to.