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confused by pre-shave

My shower is my pre-shave. Hot soaking wash towels work too. Splashing water on the stubble.

Try lathering up, then doing something else in the sink like brushing your teeth. Time while whiskers are hydrating.

I tried a few pre-shaves and they didn't do it for me plus one clogged my razor's lather slots. That's when I quit.

+1! Tried a few pre-shaves that provided little or no benefit, so I don’t use these products.

However, many here do find a benefit. Thus, worth a try.
The benefit of a preshave lies in its ability to soften the skin and make it more supple. Preshave takes time to work. I apply a balm before shaving and allow it to soak in for 23.5 hours. Immediately before shaving I wash it off with soap and a hot shower. This works much better than the preshave oils I’ve tried.
I believe a pre shave is to hydrate the skin and whiskers for easier slicing of the whiskers. When you do the first pass and slice the beard is still hydrated making other passes easier to slice through.
I use CeraVe hand bar cleanser for a pre shave & brush wash whole face with a dedicated Yaqi Cashmere knot and then a dollop of clear Aloe Vera gel on the cleaned beard area.
I have been doing this for well over 2 years and it helps I believe and also it does not gum up my shave gear like brushes and razors.

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Have some great shaves!
I think it may help if you have to take a quick shower and don't have time to soak your whiskers. I also think it depends on the quality of your soap/cream. I use the Proraso Green with Proraso, I don't use it with Stirling, Noble Otter, GF Trumper, etc. It may also depend on whether you face lather or use a bowl. I have read enough guys say that it interfers with lathering; that isn't an issue with bowl lathering.
My view on pre-shave is that "pre" doesn't mean "just before". I apply almond oil the night before shaving and it works great, making the skin more hydrated and the beard softer. I use a hot bath and a soaked cloth just before lathering. I leave lather on the face for 2 minutes before starting to shave and this also helps a lot.
This works for me.
I started with Proraso preshave but didn't find a lot of worth to it for me. Currently 9/10 times you'll find me using Cremo daily face wash which is extremely mild to give a quick scrub, moisturize and lift the whiskers a bit. Then rinse off and lather up.
I use Cremo as a cheap pre-shave cream simply to keep my whiskers hydrated after my shower, while I am creating my lather in my shuttle.

It may not be doing anything but now I no longer worry that I am taking too long to create my perfect lather.
I shower before going to bed. In the AM with kids and a dog itching for a walk, I don't have time to shower before the demands begin.

I'm still new to DE shaving at less than 1month in and have been exclusive to TOBS and T&H creams to date. I have been using a pre-shave from the start and I have great results.

I recently took a short trip away from home and did not pack the pre-shave in my travel kit. I did compromise by using a glycerin based face wash, though I noticed a fair bit more irritation without the pre oil. To be fair, you can only have so much expectation lathering in a hotel coffee mug...

I have a few different creams, croaps, and soaps enroute, so I imagine at some point (probably near refill time) I'll be experimenting sans pre-shave. I also expect my bowl lathering to further refine with each passing week as will my blade selection.
Excellent post, thank you. I have secretly been using pre shave before my ATG pass to add comfort, bit since the name suggests before you shave, I've been in the closet about my mis use if it.
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