Every second person on the planet has to shave their face, yet countless guys still haven't got it down.
Although it's something men have to do all of their lives, most of them sporadically experience some kind of shaving problems. From cutting oneself to razor burn, missed patches to ingrown hairs, taking out your blade remains tough stuff. So here's how to do it properly.
Wash your face before shaving. Facial cleanser is not girly: there's nothing manly about pimples. When you shave without washing your face, you're compacting gunk back into your pores. Use something really simple like Cetaphil, available from every supermarket and pharmacy.
Men's magazines tell us to shave in hot, humid, steamy rooms. But here's the problem with that - you can't see yourself in a foggy mirror. Most of us don't have fancy anti-fog technology in our bathrooms, nor do we enjoy being in a humid room post-shower. Moreover, some will say it's okay to shave in the shower. Do not do this. Few men possess surgeon-precision hands and eagle eyesight to pull this off without missing patches.
Instead, grab a flannel and run hot water over it. Soak it completely so it's steaming; as hot as you can handle to touch. Then throw it on your face for thirty seconds. It opens the pores, lifts the whiskers, and makes all the difference.
Lather on shave cream or gel, whichever you prefer. If you find that products designed for sensitive skin actually irritate your skin, double-duty your face wash; it's just as good as a shaving gel. Use a badger brush if you have one, and let the cream sit on your skin for 20 seconds to soak into your hair follicles.
Grab your razor, and make sure it's new (i.e. not more than four or five uses old). Those three-blade razors with the tiny aloe strips are non-irritant. Glide from the top of your ear down, shaving not more than four inches at a time. Rinse the blade after each and every stroke. Even the little strokes. Keep with the grain, always.
Go above your lip, around your chin, and down from the other ear. Then under your neck. Slow as you can. If you miss anything (under-chin scars always need a double take), make sure you grab a bit more shaving cream and re-lather. This is extremely important: never glide naked.
Run cold water, and splash over your face (ensuring the whisker residue actually goes down the drain, for courtesy reasons). Grab your flannel and soak it cold, then place it back on your face. This seals your pores shut. Quickly apply moisturiser.
To tackle funny bits like an ingrown hair, wait a few hours for your just-shaved whisker to grow through the skin. Grab a pair of sharp tweezers, and attempt to grab at the stubborn hair and free it - without pulling it out. If you can't get it, wait until the evening and try again, don't dig into your face.
For little cuts, the old school dab of loo paper works pretty well. Just remember to take the pieces off after 15 minutes or so, to ensure you don't walk in to the office looking like you just wrestled the Purex Rolly Dog. And lost.