What Men Don't Know About Shaving
Hot and Cold
Another key to a good shave is keeping the skin hot and moist. A great way to do this, Penstein says, is to shave in the shower or just after you get out. At the barbershop, Kirkpatrick piles on hot, moisturized towels to prep the skin and then again during the shave to keep the hairs soft.
One big advantage Kirkpatrick says the pros have over home shavers is the ability to warm their shaving lather. You can buy kits to do this, but Kirkpatrick says they tend to clog when not used often.
Follow your shave with a cold water rinse. "Cold water reduces inflammation. It's like putting a cold compress onto an injury," Penstein says.
Go With the Grain
Penstein and Benabio both recommend shaving with the grain -- that is, in the direction your hair is growing. Though you may get a closer shave if you go against it, you make razor burn or ingrown hairs more likely.
Softening the hair first, as described above, should allow you a close, comfortable shave in one with-the-grain pass. That's ideal, Penstein says.
"The more time you go over an area, the more irritation you'll get," he says.
If you have thick hair, Benabio says, it's particularly important to go with the grain.
Occasionally, Let Someone Else Do the Work
More men are getting professional shaves, a change from recent decades, Kirkpatrick says.
A typical pro shave, he says, lasts 12 to 25 minutes. All you do is lie back and relax.
"The time depends on how many hot towels you want to use and if you get a facial massage to go with it," Kirkpatrick says. "Once in a while, you need a professional job."