How-to: Pre-Shave Prep

Discussion in 'Shave Clinic & Newbie Check-In' started by Kyle, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. Well, I had just bought something new to try as a pre-shave (the old-fashioned tub of Noxema cream facial cleanser) and was looking forward to trying it, this evening. But now, I believe I'll try this pre-shave routine, instead. It sounds like a sure thing!

    Now, which soap to use? QED Essentials or Mama Bear's?

  2. Kyle

    Kyle Moderator Emeritus

    In one sense it is similar because you are removing dirt and debris from your face with either method. The two main differences are:
    1. Shaving cream/soap is not a specially designed facial cleanser and while it will (due to the nature of soap) remove some of your hair/skin oil, it will not do so to the same degree that a "facial cleanser" will.
    2. The method I have described asks you to lather, massage the lather into the beard, and then hold a moist/wet towel on top of that lather for several minutes as opposed to lathering up your face and immediately rinsing it clean. Additionally, really massaging the lather in and then applying a heat source to the skin stimulates the sweat and oil glands that are located in the follicle. While the cream will have removed some quantity of oil from your face and beard, the nature of the activity you've done will have created more.
    I hope this helps.
  3. Kyle,

    So if I understood correctly, you use the brush to apply the lather onto the shave area, but then use fingers, and not the brush, to massage in the lather in circular motion before applying the warm towel over the lather?

    Everything else sounds good. I've been convinced from the start that the good quality shaving cream has everything needed for a good shave, but you need to give it time to really work on the skin and the hair. One thing to that testament is... I usually apply lather to both sides of my face at once prior to shaving. I shave one side first, while the other soaks in lather. Then, before shaving the other side, I relather it to rewet it, and the shave on the side I do last is always less irritated. With the right blade technique and using this preshave routine, I have a feeling I might expect some improvement!

    Thanks, Kyle, for doing all this research to get to the bottom of the skincare/haircare matter - I enjoyed reading the scientific tidbits.

  4. Kyle

    Kyle Moderator Emeritus

    Correct, though I do a bit of scrubbing with the brush before I move on to the finger massage.
  5. I see. Perhaps for the scrubbing, I should get an Edwin Jagger best badger or a boar brush, eh... My luscious Merkur Silvertip badger brush isn't exactly the scrubbing type... ;-)
  6. Kyle, I just used this method for the first time after reading your post yesterday. WOW! I've been searching for ways to reduce the nicks and irritation on my neck as I get used to using a Slantbar/Feather combination. I know a lot of that is simply getting used to the Slant - it does seem to have a learning curve. But I was getting pretty frustrated and wanted to try anything that might by chance help.

    And this was just the thing. Just what the doctor ordered. Can't say that my shave was irritation-free, but it was the best so far - by a long shot.

    Plus (and this might be even more important), it's such a wonderfully luxurious way to prep. I enjoyed it so much, I'd probably do it even if it made the shaves worse! :biggrin:

    Many thanks. (And yes, I'll vote for your post to be "stickified".)
  7. Oh, my. This really does work well. To start with the end result, my shave tonight was as BBS as I can imagine to be possible. There is next to no irritation. And I feel really great about it!

    I used Mama Bear's new recipe Smokin' soap and had a new Derby in my Merkur Vision. I used a regular hand towel for the heat soak. I finished off with Pinaud Clubman after-shave.

    This is awesome! Thank you, Kyle!

  8. Kyle

    Kyle Moderator Emeritus

    It truly thrills my soul to hear that you guys are benefiting from and enjoying this routine as much as I have.
  9. Kyle,

    One clarification I wanted to make after trying this today semi-successfully is that the lather needs to contain enough water in it for this method to be effective, right? I followed this method this morning, but I think my lather may have been too "dense"... Following your analysis, this is the only reason I can see why my beard didn't get soft and loose enough from this method - the lather didn't supply enough water into the whiskers once the cuticles were compromised.

    If I could only keep my lather consistency right and get the razor angle right to reduce digging, I'm sure I'd be enjoying my shaves by now... *Sigh*.

  10. Here is my problem with last night's great shave. Following this method, I got it so BBS that, while it is almost time to shave again, tonight, I still have only a very small amount of stubble! I'm not sure how I'm going to shave, tonight. :confused:

  11. Oh wow - this method is GREAT, now that I got my lather consistency and my razor tilt right. The chin and under-chin remain somewhat of a challenge, but neck/cheeks/jaw are clean and pain-free!! Wow. I watched in gaping amazement as the razor was gliding over my skin and cutting the whiskers without making a sound. I kept waiting for pain, but it just wasn't there. And that's with me shaving the *next* day, after a fairly irritated shave the day before... I never was able to get a pain-free shave the next day, but with this method and being very careful with my razor tilt, this is a clear possibility!

    Thank you, Kyle... I am now looking forward to improving my technique, as well as trying out new blades from the sample pack that's coming any day now.
  12. Kyle - excellent write-up. I am glad that this was made a sticky, too.

    You can count me in as one of the hair-conditioner-in-the-shower crowd for my prep.

    Up until now. I'm going to try your method with the next shave. It makes sense and I think it sounds very enjoyable to boot.

    Nicely done.
  13. I'll try this out as soon as tomorrow morning. Hey, if it works with the remainder of my Proraso tub, it should work with everything else, right? :smile:
  14. This should be required reading for all newbies!!
  15. At what point do you wash your face? Can you wash your face first, apply lather, masage, apply hot towel, re-apply lather then shave? Also, for the second pass, do you repeat the same process and use the lather, massge, towel method before EACH pass??
  16. Kyle

    Kyle Moderator Emeritus

    In my experience, washing your face before shaving will strip the acid mantle from your face and remove natural oils that aid in lubrication. Ultimately, this can leave your skin much more prone to nicks and razor burn. Certainly your results may vary from mine.

    The actual mechanisms involved with shaving can/does include:
    • Scrubbing a lather-filled brush on your face
    • Massaging the lather into the beard with fingertips
    • Sliding a razor across the surface of the face
    It is my belief that after multiple applications of soap (lather) and after extensive exfoliation from both brush and razor, there is no need to further cleanse the skin. I have experienced greater skin health by skipping any further washing of the face.

    No. I perform the lather/massage/towel before the initial pass only.
  17. I see. Do you wash your face at all? At night or in the morning when you don't shave?

    Also, after leaving the towel on your lathered and massged face for a few minutes, are you using the wet part of the towel only to wipe any remaining lather off? Mine was soaked with lather and using that part to clean off the rest didn't work so well. Thanks.
  18. Kyle

    Kyle Moderator Emeritus

    I typically wash my T-Zone with a quality olive oil soap. Beyond that I will wash my face at night (with the same olive oil soap) and apply a moisturizer of some kind. If I am not going to shave (which is pretty rare) then I will wash my face in the shower and follow up with normal post shave products for skin conditioning purposes.

    To remove the lather, I will flip the towel over and use the clean side. It is not necessary to be spic-and-span clean at this point as you are going to follow up with a fresh application of lather.
  19. Kyle,

    This is amazing. I can't wait to try this for my next shave. You answered questions I didn't even know I had!

  20. Kyle

    Kyle Moderator Emeritus

    Thank you kindly, Matt. Please don't hesitate to ask questions if any of this is unclear.

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