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How-to: Pre-Shave Prep

This is a fantastic thread! Thank you so much for your post! I will try this as soon as I have the time to! Some new info here that I had been missing out on. Again, thank you! I hope this is what I needed to bring my shaving to the next level.
 
This is a fantastic thread! Thank you so much for your post! I will try this as soon as I have the time to! Some new info here that I had been missing out on. Again, thank you! I hope this is what I needed to bring my shaving to the next level.
How was it?
 
Hi.
Practically speaking, how do you guys do the three minutes with the towel? Do you lean back in a chair like at the barber's, or do you keep it pressed with your hands in front of the mirror?
 
Hi.
Practically speaking, how do you guys do the three minutes with the towel? Do you lean back in a chair like at the barber's, or do you keep it pressed with your hands in front of the mirror?
+1: I'm wondering the same thing. Someone please shed some light.
 
Three minutes with a towel is a lot. Research--much cited in B&B threads--shows that the beard reaches maximum softness with about three minutes of exposure to water, which includes washing and lathering your face. After a shower I--if there's time--do 30-60 seconds with a wash cloth, which I think is more for relaxation and the ritual rather than further beard softening or skin care. When I skip the wash cloth I don't notice any difference in the shave quality. YMMV.
 
Three minutes with a towel is a lot. Research--much cited in B&B threads--shows that the beard reaches maximum softness with about three minutes of exposure to water, which includes washing and lathering your face. After a shower I--if there's time--do 30-60 seconds with a wash cloth, which I think is more for relaxation and the ritual rather than further beard softening or skin care. When I skip the wash cloth I don't notice any difference in the shave quality. YMMV.
These days I just wash my face thoroughly for a couple of minutes. It seems to give the same result as when I did 10 minutes of prep.
I do wonder if all this elaborate prep is papering-over technical issues with the actual shave. Back in the day not many men would do this kind of thing for their daily shave & for decades Gillette's own advice for a good shave was
"after washing, lather for at least 2 minutes"
or alternatively
"wash your face with warm water & soap. Rinse & leave it wet. Lather up, wait a minute (for tough beards an extra minute) then start shaving."
 
I know this was written 12 years ago but I just found it and tried it with my proraso white and boy it sure made a difference. Thank you!
 
Good thread! What hit me the most is not to overlook waiting that looooong 3 minutes for those hairs to soften up prior to the shave.
Yes indeed -- though I usually run about 2.5 minutes. I go into the bedroom and make the bed, and then set out my shoes and clothes for the day, making sure I don't get any cream or soap on them. That fills up a good 2-3 minutes right there.
 
TLDR...
I recently made a slight change to my prep shower ritual.
I used to just stand there with the hand-held shower nozzle at my face, then rub the bath bar soap on it, and wipe it off with a cotton terry face cloth.
Now I make a point of rubbing the bar everywhere I plan to shave, especially on either side of my nose, between my lower lip and chin, and under my jaw below the ears. Let that sit for half a minute, then scrub with the face cloth, and rinse.
Repeat the soap/scrub/rinse.
By this time I can actually hear it squeak when I rub my fingers over my face, even with a day's worth of stubble. If it squeaks everywhere, then I'm ready to lather up and shave.

My theory is that by stripping oils off my skin, it helps in the wetting (and therefore softening) of the beard hairs. Same BBS with fewer touch-up passes in problem areas.

FWIW, my bath bar of choice for this these days is Caprina Fresh Goat's Milk Soap with Shea Butter.

It stays nice and creamy right down to the last sliver.
You can even lather it up for shaving, in a pinch.
 
I tried something from this routine this morning. I face-lathered with my soap, TFS Pinup collection Sera. Then I massaged the stuff into my beard with my fingers. I left it on as I made the bed and took care of other small chores, letting the soap soak into my beard for about 2.5 minutes.

Then I rinsed off completely with refrigerator-cold water, relathered, and immediately shaved. I don't know if the rinse helped, but it certainly didn't hurt. I did a simple 2-pass shave (XTG and then ATG on the cheeks; WTG and XTG on throat) and wound up with, I estimate, 80% of the facial smoothness of a 3-pass job.
 
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