Beards have been trending on the grooming scene for a while now – so much so that more men than ever are getting beard transplants in pursuit of fuller facial fur. However, on the catwalks this season, beards were few and far between. While models’ hairstyles were looser and more shaggy than ever, the fashion world is noticeably beginning to rebel against facial hair (save for the occasional Seventies-syle moustache). In short, this coming season, clean-shaven is the way to go.
However, there’s a right way and a wrong way going from a full beard to beard-free. Shave the whole thing off in one go and you risk things like ingrown hairs – and the last thing you want when you’re getting used to your newly bare face is skin irritation. With that in mind, we sat down Daniel Davies, general manager at Pall Mall Barbers in London, to get his ultimate guide to how to shave your beard off the right way…
How to shave your beard off
Go from beard to stubble first
“The worst thing you can do is go straight from Bear Grylls-y to clean shaven. If you’ve got over four week’s growth, you should do it over time. Use a beard trimmer to trim down to s short stubble, then leave it for a week before going clean shaven.
Prep the skin under your stubble
“It’s important to have good skin, as well as a good shave – exfoliate and moisturise at this stage. Remember, the skin underneath your beard hasn’t experienced the elements in a while, so you’ll be exposing the face at its most sensitive.
“Look for products containing sandalwood and clove. Clove acts as an antiseptic and numbs the skin slightly before you shave, and sandalwood helps stop ingrowing hairs. Luckily, we have an entire line of grooming products containing both.
Don’t rush it
“When you’re ready to shave it all off a week later, the most important thing is to take your time. I like to shave on a Sunday evening, as you’re not rushing for work.
“Also, put a clean, wetted flannel in a zip-lock bag in your fridge at this stage. We’ll get to that later…”
Prep your stubble for shaving
“Before you even reach for your razor, exfoliation is key. Not only does this lift off dead skin, but also helps to lift up the hairs in preparation for shaving.
“Have a hot shower before you shave as this will soften the stubble.
“Apply shaving cream with a brush – these don’t just apply the cream evenly, but they also whip up your facial hair in preparation for shaving. If you’ve done it right, the hair should poke through the lather. This will mean less chance of the razor catching hairs as you shave, so less potential of in-grown hairs.
Go with the grain
“Don’t get too adventurous the first time. A lot of people want to go against the grain to get the closet shave possible first time, but your skin is going to be sensitive, so go with the grain the first few shaves.
“I would suggest a single blade razor if possible. The skin is going to be sensitive underneath, and if you’re taking two strokes with triple-blade razor twice, you’re actually shaving your face six times!
Stretch your skin as you shave
“Whatever area you’re shaving, use your other hand to pull the skin taught – there’s far more potential to knick yourself if there’s not enough tension.”
After the shave
“Most importantly, don’t towel dry your face afterwards. This will cause blood to rush to the skin, causing redness and blood spots. Also, wear a loose shirt as you don’t want anything rubbing against the skin to irritate it.
“Ironically, aftershave is one of the worst things to put on your skin after you’ve shaved as it’s so highly perfumed and alcohol based – both of which have the potential to irritate your skin. Spray that on your body or hair. What’s best is a post-shave cooling lotion to soothe followed by a balm to protect – much like a shampoo and conditioner combination.
“While your face it still damp, put a dab of each lotion on your hands and lightly pat onto the face, one after the other. Don’t rub it in as most guys do, as this, again, will irritate your skin.
Sit back and soothe
“Take the chilled flannel from earlier out of your fridge and put it over your face – the coldness will help to lock in the moisture from the balm and help with its antiseptic values. Sit back and relax for a few minutes, then appreciate your newly shaven face.”