How to shave your face

Step 1: Pre-Shave Preparation

The most important step to improve the quality of your shave is to soften your beard, and make your skin more flexible. If you skin is flexible, then you will reduce the amount of nicks and cuts that can happen during the shaving process.

to do this, apply a lot of heat and moisture to your face first. The easiest way to do this is to have a shower before you shave. After your skin is sufficiently moistened, apply OM 3 in 1 Shave Balm. Massage this into your beard until it is completely absorbed.

It is important to use a pre-shave that does not contain any toxic ingredients like sulfates or dimethicones. These can enter you blood stream and cause problems with your internal system.

Step 2: Use a Quality Shaving Cream

Make sure that your brush is very wet. Shave off the excess, then dip the tips of the brush into a high-quality shaving cream, such as OM Lye-Free Shaving Cream. (Note: It’s always best to use products that are free of lye, because of lye’s basic nature is very harmful to skin. This is why our shaving cream is lye-free.)

Begin lathering the soap directly to your beard. At first, it may seem like nothing is happening; this is due to the abscence of lye. Don’t worry, it’s doing the job. Just add more water to your brush, and continue lathering. Do this until you have developed a creamy, dense lather.

Once that’s all done you’re ready to shave.

Step 3: Shave Away!

The hard work is done. Now, enjoy the feeling of shaving without irritation or nicks. Remember when you are shaving to shave with the grain, so check the direction of your beard grain. This means that along your neck you may have to shave upwards, so keep that in mind.

Again, the benefits of using our OM Lye-Free Shaving Cream will make the shaving experience all the better. That’s because it is made with Willowherb. The Native South Americans used Willowherb to treat acne and irritated skin. As a shaving agent, it’s anti-inflammatory properties are nearly insurpassable.

In other words, nicks should disappear, and you should get a very close shave.

Step 4: Rinse and Hydrate

Now that you are done, your skin should feel…well, it should feel like your skin. But smoother.

Rinse your face with cool water. This will seal your skin. Note how your skin feels. Because of its natural qualities, the OM Way to shave leaves your natural facial oils intact. Your face should feel soft, smooth and hydrated.

Dry yourself down with a clean white towel, and apply OM 3 in 1 Shave Balm one more time or use our OM After Shave Splash — either one will work as an ideal post-shave product. This will add a thin layer of hydrating coolant and prevent breakouts.

Finally, remember not to touch your skin too much. This can activate the sebaceous glands causing excessive oiliness.

BONUS TIP: How to Shave Your Face Like a Man The OM Way…The Travel Edition

That’s right — you can shave like a man the OM Way even when you’re on the road.

Just pick up our travel-szed shave balm or the OM Shaving Jelly as substitutes for the larger items mentioned above so you can keep your skin looking and feeling good whether at home or abroad. You can even pick up our OM Travel Brush so that you can have a high-quality brush wherever your travels take you.

Wet shaving is the best!

Even though this ad is embellished, it does reflect the state of a lot of men’ s wet shaving practices. Over the years, men have been sold the idea that the best shave comes from a can of shaving foam. This was born from advanced chemical science that wanted to steer the shaving market toward a faster and more transportable shaving routine. It was a sign of how quickly our society was moving, and how hurried our lifestyles had become, particularly for the Boomer generation. “Time is money” was the mantra.

Things are changing. Lifestyle has become a priority, and time is not necessarily money anymore.  Men want to do things properly. This is why there is a resurgence in good wet shaving practices.

What is wet shaving exactly?

Wet shaving simply refers to shaving your face with moisture, as opposed to dry shaving, which includes electrical shaving devices as well as shaving with a razor without moisture (AY CARAMBA!). There are a variety of ways to wet shave, but the most effective involves a good shaving cream and a badger shaving brush.

Why?

A shaving cream has a lot more moisturizing ingredients that makes the skin more flexible and the skin softer so that it does not tear or break. The OM shaving cream for example has shea butter and coconut oil which helps to reduce the shearing effect of the razor on skin cells. This prevents razor burn and gives a more comfortable shave.

So what does the shaving brush do?

The shaving brush helps to exfoliate the skin, giving the razor a better ‘look’ at the hair itself. ‘A clean slice’, so to speak. It also lifts the beard off of the face making each hair stand straight up. This is just how cutting dry grass with a lawnmower is much easier than cutting wet grass. It also ‘hyper-moisturizes’ the beard, making it more flexible and softer. A softer beard is easier to shave than a hard beard.

In the end, wet shaving is returning to what our grandfathers used to do. A good shaving cream, and a good brush can make the world of difference to a man’s shaving routine.

Badger Shaving Brush or Boar?

Introduced by the French in the 18th century, shaving brushes have revolutionized the art of shaving. Before they were introduced, men would actually use sea sponges to create that perfect lather. Today, you will find most of the brushes out on the market will either fall under badger, boar, or possibly horse hair, the most common being badger and boar. If you are looking to get into shaving brushes for the first time, a boar bristled brush might be right down your alley. It is coarser than badger as well as stiffer but that only means a cheaper price tag, which is why it is a good idea for your first brush.

It’s important to get a feel for as many different quality brushes as you can, so you can find what works for your skin as well as your pocket. Badger hair brushes are higher quality, with a softer bristle, and a soothing feel against the skin. Badger is a little more advance of the shaving brushes because there are four different types of badger hair; pure, best, super, and silver tip. This ranges from pure being the lower quality, and silver tip being the highest quality you can buy. If you invest in a silver tip shaving brush, you can be safe to say that you won’t have to buy another one for the rest of your shaving days.

These, unlike the friendly badger the hair was taken from, are meant to last. The reason why men have put down the aerosol cans and picked up the brush and cream, is because of the quality of shave you will receive with a wet shave. When using a brush you will notice that it will generate a warm, thick lather as well lift and soften the hair to be ready for shaving. Using a brush will also gently exfoliate the skin and get rid of those dead cells left on your face. You will find all your shaving needs, from introductory brushes starting at $15 all the way up to the highest quality silver tips at $160 at Uomo Modern Barber.

Myths and Facts about shaving

There’s a certain art to shaving.

Whether you use a straight or safety razor, there are a lot of mixed messages out there that can lead to confusion — and some pretty terrible shaving habits as well.

Steven Bailey, classically-trained barber and owner of UOMO Modern Barber, took the time to offer a closer look at common shaving myths and facts. Hopefully his responses will shed some light on some of the best (and worst) shaving practices out there and help you understand a bit more about what goes into the ideal shave.

True or False: You should only shave with the grain when shaving.

False. Shaving is a very personal endeavour. Every man is different. Some beards are harder, some are softer. Some skin types are flexible, others are more brittle. Some men have exposed hair follicles, others have recessed hair follicles. The bottom line is the same hat doesn’t fit everyone.

I have performed over 3000 shaves in my career, and have yet to meet a face that is exactly the same as another. Take it from me: Know your skin and know your beard. You know how it feels, so don’t let anyone tell you that something is impossible. If it feels comfortable and it doesn’t cause any kind of irritation or ingrown hairs, then go for it. If you have soft skin and a hard beard, it would be best to avoid it. You be the judge.

One thing is for certain though, our skin can change over time and with environmental stress. For instance, the same face that would be easy to shave in the summer when the air is hot and humid, would be very different in the mid-winter when the air is dry and cold. My best advice: Shave closer in the summer and less close in winter. Use a good pre-shave and a good badger brush and moisturizing soap and you’ll notice a big difference.

True or False: The amount a shaving agent lathers is key to a great shave.

False. Even though this myth can be answered in so many different ways, it is important to understand that preparation is the key to a good shave. This includes good shaving products.

A pre-shave is the first step. If your skin is dry, I recommend an oil. If it is oily, I recommend a balm like the OM 3in1 shave balm.

Next, choose a soap that has a good lather…but bigger bubbles is not necessarily better. Remember that a lot of shaving soaps use potassium hydroxide (also known as lye). Lye is great for creating a very rich fluffy lather, but it also strips away all the natural oils from your skin. It is more important to choose a soap that is lye-free and that is very moisturizing.

Also, watch out for SLS in shaving soaps…they are even harsher than lye.

True or False: The more you shave, the faster your beard grows.

False. There is no scientific evidence that I am aware of that supports this myth.

True or False: The more blades on a razor, the better the shave.

True. More blades definitely give a better shave. I predict that technology will one day make a blade that consists of 20 micro blades. Gillette has already introduced thinner blades. However, the main thing is that these blades wear down – and this is where the blade companies make their money.

I encourage my clients to emphasize the ‘preparation’ part of shaving…not just the blade. Preparing the skin before you shave with a good pre-shave and a good soap can greatly reduce the wear and tear on your skin and your blades. This will save you money in blade purchases and your skin will be singing a happy tune!

True or False: A hot shave is the closest shave you’ll ever get.

False. This is an interesting myth – and cause for much debate.

Novices to straight razor shaving should understand that the straight razor is a very aggressive form of shaving. There is a reason why they went out of style – they can cause irritation. When I trained with Master Barber Pasquale Giordano from Italy, he gave me by far the closest shave in my life. Ask me if it was the most comfortable and I’ll tell you without blinking: No. It was close…but with my soft skin type and hard beard, it was irritating.

Novices need to understand that the straight razor is not a magic wand that is going to make all of your shaving woes disappear. It is an ancient tool of hair removal that made the most sense until they came out with the safety razor, which revolutionized shaving. When I shave clients I try to get it close, but comfort is more important to me. And, quite frankly, there are some skin types – especially drier skin types – that should be very careful when they shave with a straight razor. It is possible to get a very close shave with straight razor shaving, but closeness should not be the ultimate goal.

True or False: There is no advantage to using any kind of pre-shave products.

False. Pre-shave is more important to some than others.

Drier skin types NEED a pre-shave — hands down. They should use an oil. This will help to plump up the skin cells so that they do not nick as much.

Normal skin types can get a very close shave if they use a balm pre-shave.

Oily skin types often have over-inflated skin cells. This can over-protect the beard, making it hard to shave. Oily skin types definitely need a pre-shave balm that contains eucalyptus and tea-tree oil. These act as astringents that dissolve the oils on the skin, exposing the beard. This makes it easier to shave.

True or False: Your face is pretty resilient. You can use pretty much anything on it after shaving and it will get used to it.

False. Ouch. I remember when I first used my dad’s Old Spice Aftershave. YIKES!

Here it is: NEVER use an alcohol-based aftershave. I dont care what kind of skin you have — it will never be good. The best thing to do is use an aftershave that neutralizes the skin’s pH. The OM Aftershave Splash is ideal for this. All skin types can benefit from this.

The next step for dry skin types is to apply a moisturizing shave balm like the OM Cucumber Lotion. This will add necessary fats back to your skin, making it more moisturized and flexible for the next time you shave.

Oily skin types need to use a shave balm with tea tree oil, which will help to dissolve excessive oil and regulate the pH of the skin. Normal skin types can use either types of aftershave. Just remember that the type of aftershave you will need to use will also depend on the time of year. In the winter, we all need a more moisturizing aftershave. In the summer, we can use something a little lighter.

True or False: There’s no difference between a balm, a gel and a foam when it comes to using them for shaving.

False. There are often times butane and iso-butane gases in aerosol forms of shaving products such as gels and foams. These products can further dry out the skin, leaving it exposed to the elements. A balm from a non-aerosol container is the better option.

True or False: Just like there are different hair types, there are different facial hair types and you need to treat it accordingly.

True. Just like your head, your face is a unique entity. Often they reflect much different qualities to your own hair. It is important to understand those differences and how to shave to them. Softer facial hair needs less preparation than harder facial hair. Some facial hair is curly, others are straight. Curly hair should not be shaved too closely. This can cause ingrown hairs. It is also important to understand that there are differences in hair girth as well. Larger diameter hairs are more difficult to cut than finer hair types.

Once again: Know your face. And if you don`t understand your skin, talk to your local barber about it.

Shaving and barbering workshops in Prince George

It was early Sunday morning when my alarm went off.  I had just finished a good week in the store, and a few hours of extra sleep would have felt really good.

But this was no ordinary Sunday. Today, I was on my way to Prince George to teach progressive barbering techniques.  It is something that I really enjoy doing. It is a change of pace, and a great opportunity to meet other professionals in the BC who are looking for forward-thinking education.

I’ll be honest, I did not know what to expect. It was my first trip to ‘PG’, as it is referred to by the locals.  I have two employees who are from PG, and when I told them that I was teaching up there, they both smiled and said: “why are you going there?”

I was soon to learn that this is how “PG-ians” think of themselves.  They often take themselves way less seriously than us up-tight Victorians do. In fact, it was refreshing to be around people who did not take life as seriously as we sometimes do down here. When I asked my class what people do in PG, they all said: “Red-neck stuff!”

I laughed. What a great attitude to life. There was a lot of laughter and a lot of exchange.

The girls at the Razor’s Edge Salon and Spa were one of the best classes that I ever taught. They were open and generous with their energy. I could tell that they really wanted to learn.  When we started the straight razor shaving class, they were all pretty nervous. One of them almost fainted when I mentioned safety precautions (almost, but not quite), but it may have been the early Sunday morning air, which was normally reserved for sleeping in and ‘party-recovery’  But these fine ladies were dedicated.  By the end of the course, they couldn’t wait to do more shaves! It was a real honor and treat to see them learn so quickly.

By the end of the two day workshop, the girls were revved up and ready to go. I have no doubt that they will be leading the way in Prince George in the years to come. Well done girls!

Shaving Brushes: Part 2

In the world of wet shaving, knowing how to use a shaving brush is very important.

Once you have a brush, you need to use it properly. To start, you will want to ‘pre-moisten’ your brush.  This is very important especially for lower quality brushes, as they tend to be much more brittle. Despite the quality of your brush, soften your brush when you first buy one. To do this, run it under warm water for at least 60 seconds. Do not manipulate it as it can potentially break the bristles. It is better to leave the brush soaking for around 5 minutes. Then, shake off the excess, and hang the brush upside down on a brush holder, or else on its side.

Do not place it right side up. Proper storage of brushes should always be upside down. This will prevent water from collecting at the base of the bristles, which accelerates deterioration of your brush. Remember,  a quality brush made of badger should last several years.

After this, you will only have to soak your brush for several seconds before each shave. Remember to use hot water which will fully expand the bristles.  When bristles are fully expanded, they hold more water and offer a more luxurious lather and shave experience.

In order to properly lather, be sure to use a circular ‘whisking’ strokes against the grain. This will lift your beard off of your face making it more easy to shave.  Once you get the hang of shaving with a brush, your skin will benefit tremendously. Who knows? Maybe shaving will be something men can enjoy again.

Happy shaving!

Shaving Brush: Part1

At Uomo Modern Barber, we  get asked all the time about men’s grooming products.  One big question that arises is: what are the benefits of using a shaving brush for shaving preparation. Here is a quick rundown.

1. A shaving brush exfoliates the skin.

a. Imagine a hair follicle. Around the base of each hair follicle are layers of skin. The outermost layer is often a stratum of dead or nearly dead skin cells. If our goal is to have a close shave, then these layers can get in the way. When we use a brush to lather in swirling motions, this acts to remove and slough off these cells. This makes for a closer, more comfortable shave.

2. A shaving brush raises the hair upright.

a. Have you ever tried to mow a wet lawn? It usually doesn’t turn out very well. Why? Because the blades of grass are lying flat to the ground. It makes it hard for the lawnmower to catch the blades. In contrast,  when you mow a dry lawn, it is much easier. This is because the grass is standing straight up. The same goes for shaving. When we apply a shaving foam or gel with our fingers, the beard is flattened close to the skin making it harder to cut. Using a shaving brush lifts the hairs upright, making them much easier to shave.

3. A shaving brush moisturizes and softens the beard.

a. When coupled with a moisture dense shaving cream, such as the OM lye-free shaving cream, the moisturizing agents are worked into the beard much more effectively. This in turn softens the beard. Boom! Shaving is easier and more comfortable.

4. A shaving brush moisturizes the skin

a. Another benefit is that a good badger brush can help to moisturize the skin when coupled with a pre-shave conditioner. This makes the skin more elastic and flexible. If you can imagine the shingles of a roof. Under dry circumstances, the shingles are brittle and crack. The same goes for your skin. With good shaving preparation, the skin cells are ‘hyper-hydrated’, making shaving much more enjoyable.

5. A shaving brush saves you money

a. When we look at the cost of most shaving brushes, the price range for a good badger brush can start as low as 30$ and go up to 1500$. Now, I am not suggesting you go for the 1500$ brush, unless you are a man of formidable taste. What I am suggesting is that when you purchase a brush, it is an investment in yourself. Most brushes over the 30$ price tag will last at least 10 years. Most last much longer. Some will last a lifetime. Not only will this investment make your shaving ritual more comfortable, but it will also save you money on shaving blade costs. When your beard is properly prepared for shaving, your beard is softer. This causes less damage to your shaving blades. And guess what? Your blades last longer and you spend less on blades over time. It’s that simple.

In the end, it is up to every man to decide what is best for them.  I recommend a good badger shaving brush if you are looking for a better, more comfortable shave.