How to Make and Use a Hot Towel

Discussion in 'Shave Clinic & Newbie Check-In' started by AverageJoe, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. It seems like we can read piles of posts about every other bit of shaving minutia on this forum, but for all I've heard about using a "hot towel" as part of prep, I don't think I've ever read how you make a towel hot! So my questions are:

    1. Is this just a towel/rag soaked in hot water and wrung out? Or is it dry? Is it microwaved? Roasted on an open fire? What???

    2. How do you incorporate a "hot towel" into your shave?

    3. Does anyone actually do this as part of their daily shave? Just seems like extra laundry (and time) to me!

    4. What's the purpose? Does it really do anything that washing with hot water and lathering with hot lather doesn't do?

  2. Joe,

    Take a washcloth and soak it down with cold water. Wring 85-90% of the water out and microwave it for 20-30 seconds. Pull it out of the microwave and wave a bit to slightly cool it down. The towel is now ready. Place it over your beard and enjoy. When the towel cools, renuke. I like to incorporate the hot towel into my regiment when I use the oil cleansing method. It that case I lay the towel over my whole face. The whole face treatment is also good when you have a sinus headache or head cold. The steam gets the juices moving, so to speak.

  3. A lot of us use a hot towel as part of our routine prep. It is a permanent part of my preparation as I shave before I shower in the mornings. Some folks use hot water out of their tap and some of us nuke a small towel in the microwave. I am nuking hot water to soak my brush in and its a small matter to include a damp towel for 30 seconds.

    I believe you must apply the hot towel for a minimum of 3 minute to get the full benefit of using it to soften the hair follicles. Others here can explain the mechanic's of whats going on with the hair follicle better than me, I know it has improved the quality of my shaves.
  4. Personally I've not used hot towels as part of my routine. I do, however, work out 6 days a week and my gym has a steam room. Shaving after hitting the shower and steam room for about 10 minutes makes a SIGNIFICANT difference in the quality of my shaves. Try the hot towel I'm certain you'll be impressed.
  5. Do you DE shave at the gym? What's a regular "travel kit" for you?
  6. I use a small wash cloth, soaked in hot water from the tap. I apply it to my face before I lather. I hold it there, letting the water drip off my face, for 30 seconds to a minute. Between each of my passes, I re-soak the towel and re-apply to my face to add water and heat. It also gives me some feedback as to areas that are still rough from the previous pass.

    I'm tempted to adjust my water heater just a bit because the hotter the towel is, the better it feels.

  7. I use a hand towel. I fold it into thirds and soak it in hot water. My water from the tap is pretty hot, but not scalding - just hot enough to be uncomfortable on my hands. I just barely turn on the cold tap in the flow to take the temp down just a little so I can handle the towel.

    Next, I squeeze the bulk of the water out of the towel; it's still pretty wet (but not running/dripping).

    I then take some shaving cream (not lather) and "wash" my face with the cream, using a couple light splashes of hot water, until I have a good layer of cream on my face. This takes the place of using lather in Kyle's Prep.

    I then put the towel on my face for 45-60 seconds. After 45 sec or so it begins to cool down too much, so back in the water it goes. I repeat the above about 6 times, then lather up and start shaving.

    I re-soak the towel in between passes as well, but I just use it to wipe off the remaining lather and to add a little more water before I lather for the next pass. I don't let it set on my face like I do for the pre-shave prep.

    I started out shaving after my shower (and, before I started using a brush and good SC/SS, shaving *in* the shower), but using Kyle's Prep has been of tremendous benefit to my shaves.
  8. I agree with The Zook. Get a barber towel and then soak it in hot water for 15 or so seconds, then on the face it goes!
  9. I shave after I shower. To finish my shower I rub Noxzema Deep Cleansing Cream or a Drug Store brand of the same stuff on my face. Next I wet a barber towel with very hot water from the shower. I hold it soaking wet on my face for 1 minute. The resoak with hot water from the shower and hold it on again for 1 minute. By not the beard is prepped. I jump out of the shower, dry quickly, make and apply my lather and shave away.

    I have gone without this prep and found that my shave is not as good and comfortable nor as close. The key to the prep is the heat.

  10. The hot towel treatment doesn't do it for me. The hot water from my tap wasn't hot enough, and the hot water from the electric kettle I bought on the suggestion of one of the tutorials here was too hot. However, that same hot water from the kettle when poured into my stopped up sink and used as a steam treatment works wonders for me. YMMV.
  11. Soak towel in hot water
    Place towel in Ziploc bag
    Microwave for one minute
    Wrap towel around face
  12. Thanks for all the ideas!! However, I currently live at home and if the rest of my family saw me microwaving wet towels, their suspicions of me being a real whacko will have been confirmed in their minds!! I will try this sometime when they're all away sometime though! Thanks.
  13. You can pick up a microwave for free in the classifieds, just hide one in your room :lol:
  14. +1

    I use olive oil instead of lather, but basically that's my routine too.
    I also heat a kettle for my shaving water that gives enough water to keep bowl and towel hot for three passes.

    For those of you living in Southwestern Ontario; check your local Dollarama for a small light terrycloth towel called a "bar mop". They're a buck a pop and make excellent shaving towels.

    best Regards

  15. Here is what I do.

    1. Soak the entire towel in warm water
    2. Fold longways
    3. Wring out the towel on both ends so they will not heat up as much so you can put it around your neck and will not burn the back of your neck.
    4. Microwave on a plate about 2 minutes.
    5. Take a shower and come back to it with pre-shave on. Wrap and tuck around your neck and face. Strop and make lather.
    Shave away.

    Take Care,
  16. This is my first post here but have gotten away from the normal shave gel and razor and have been using shave butters and straight razor since I have been stationed n England in 2000.

    There is a steam towel kit on amazon or ebay for around $80. This kit comes with 6 towels, tongs and the steamer machine.

    Being the frugle guy that I am, I looked around and found a food steamer at for just under $18. Stick with me here. It is the exact same base, but the food steamer comes with two baskets as opposed to the other kit.

    The tongs (oversized tweezers) were $5.05
    A dozen lent free barber towels $11.20 (both off of ebay)

    The whole package was under $35 plus the benefit of a second level in the steamer and 6 more towels.

    What I do is fill the base with water and add EO (my combo is Tea Tree, Euccalyptus, peperment and bulgarian lavender). Put the towels on the first level and my shavemug/bowl on the second level. Then turn the timer on before I get in the shower. The towels are ready when I get out and my mug is warm for a nice warm lather as well.

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