Enjoying the smoothness of a barber-grade wet shave is about more than just your accuracy and patience with a traditional straight razor. In fact, the most important stage of your shave takes place once your razor’s sitting back in its stand. Below, with the help of Enver Yeshilbulut – Britain’s Best Wet Shaving Barber 2019 – we’ve put together our ultimate post-shave routine. With these tips, you’ll elevate your daily shave from a dragging disappointment to a gliding success.
How and why to use an alum block
Once you’ve finished slicing through your stubble, wash your face with clean warm water to remove any excess cream and hair. Next, it’s time to apply an antiseptic to wipe away any bad bacteria that’s still clinging to your skin. This will help to reduce the chances of infection, irritation, spotty outbreaks and even ingrown hairs.
The most common antiseptics used today are alcohol-based aftershaves, but Enver always recommends a more traditional approach: “Alcohol is a great antiseptic, but it’s also very good at drying out the skin and we want to avoid this when we finish shaving. These kinds of aftershave can also cause some irritation to those with sensitive skin. Instead, I’d always suggest using The Bluebeards Revenge Alum Block.”
Unsurprisingly, alum blocks are made from alum; a naturally occurring double sulphate salt. While they might sting a little upon application, they are second-to-none when it comes to cleansing your pores and maintaining vital hydration. They’re also fantastic at sealing off the tiny nicks and cuts that naturally occur during shaving – no more bloody blotches of tissue for you!
To use an alum block, simply run it under cold water before gliding it over your face. “When you find a spot that stings, simply take note,” says Enver. “The chances are you were a little fierce with your razor here so you might need to work a little on your technique next time around.”
How and why to apply a post-shave balm and moisturiser
Once you’ve finished going over your work with your alum block, give your face and neck a good splash with cold water and pat it dry with a soft towel. Notice we said pat, not rub. The difference here is minimal, but it’ll make all the difference.
“You should always finish a shave by applying The Bluebeards Revenge Post-Shave Balm,” believes Enver, “as this product is what separates those that suffer with razor rash from those that look forward to their next shave. Ingredients that should be sought out when choosing a post-shave balm include witch hazel, aloe vera, chamomile and other similar sorts that help to cleanse and soothe the skin.”
With your favourite balm in hand, apply it in evenly in small circular motions to help penetrate your pores. Be sure not to wipe the skin dry with a towel afterwards as well. Instead, let the balm soak into your skin naturally.
The most important thing to remember when caring for your skin post-shave is that it’s an on-going process. “Loads of my customers forget to continue caring for their skin in between shaves,” says Enver. “They watch me apply a post-shave balm and assume they’re good to go for another few days.”
The reality is that all men should be topping their skin up with the nutrients and moisture it needs on a daily basis. To this end, a daily moisturiser is essential and should be applied as often as required.