Every wet shaver knows how important the pre-shave ritual is. If you just decided to give wet shaving a try, then you need to be aware of the proper practices in order to experience the closest and most comfortable shave possible. In this guide we’re going to take a closer look at why it’s a good practice to use shaving cream in the first place, what benefits these products offer and of course, how to use shaving cream.
Before learning more about shaving cream, you need to know that there are 2 ways to go about this part of the pre-shave ritual: shaving cream or shaving soap. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but generally, choosing shaving cream is better because of these reasons:
- It’s easier to use. Probably the strongest reason for going with shaving cream instead of shaving soap, especially if you’re a beginner with wet shaving, is because it’s a lot easier to use. At it’s essence, shaving cream and shaving soap are the same thing. Actually, shaving cream is just soap that has been aerated and emulsified. It’s just comes in a different form, a form that is a lot easier to use by beginners, because some of the work is already done. Making a rich lather from soap is a skill that needs to be learned first.
- It’s a bit safer. Although not by much, shaving creams are on average a bit safer than shaving soaps. That is because creams contain a bit more glycerine than soaps, which makes for an easier glide.
Because we made this comparison with shaving soaps, we think it’s only fair to list some of the advantages of choosing them as well, just so you have the complete picture before making any final decisions.
- They generally last longer. One of the most important reasons, for choosing a shaving soap over a shaving cream, is the longer shelf life. Because of the manufacturing process, most shaving soaps will not only produce more lather, lasting for a greater number of shaves, but will also, on average, remain in a good condition for a lot more time than cream.
- It’s the authentic experience. Many wet shavers who started out with shaving cream shifted to using soap after they got some experience in making rich lather from soap. Ultimately, using soap will offer the most authentic wet shaving experience, contributing to the transformation of shaving from a chore to a ritual. You will need slightly more time to use shaving soap, so if your daily morning routine includes shaving, you will have to adjust accordingly.
What else do you need besides shaving cream?
Before learning the exact steps of how to use shaving cream, there are a couple of additional products you will need in order to experience the best possible shave. We wrote guides on finding the best of each, so click on either product to check out our recommendations:
How to use shaving cream: step-by-step
- Prepare your tools. The first step is getting the tools you will use and the environment (your sink) into the right conditions to start the process. Because the main tool you will be using to make the lather is your brush, you will have to prepare it the right way. The brush needs to be soaked completely before use. You can go about this in different ways, but generally, the easiest way is to plug your sink, fill half of it with warm water and let the brush soak in that water. Of course, this implies a perfectly clean sink. You will need some water to make a rich lather, so don’t worry about too much water getting into your brush. Also make sure you have sharp blades for your razor.
- Prepare your beard. Preparing your your tools is only one aspect. You absolutely have to get your beard in the right condition as well, to increase the quality of the shave. To do this you need to soak your beard in hot water. This is why it’s recommended you shave after taking a hot shower. You can also put a towel soaked in hot water on your face to get similar results. The hairs on your face will be soft and your pores will be wide open, contributing to a closer and smoother shave.
- Lather the cream. After soaking your brush well, the next step is to put some shaving cream on the brush. Get enough cream on it to cover the light bristles, if you use a silver-tip brush, or as a guideline, about half to 3 quarters of an inch. It will depend from one product to another, but generally you will not have to use a lot of cream to produce enough lather. Now, take your bowl and with your brush, start whipping up that cream into a more aerated lather. What you are looking for here is a rich and stiff lather that looks very similar to whipped cream. If you take some of it with your brush and hold it head down, it should stand stiff. Add water as needed to get the desired results.
- Apply the lather onto wet face. Using your brush, apply the lather to your face in circular fashion. Take your time to spread the lather evenly and thoroughly. Make sure to cover the entire area. As a rule of thumb, the better you spread the lather onto all the hairs and pores, the smoother and more comfortable the shave will be.
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