No disrespect to the old man, but a lot has changed since Pops taught you how to shave with a handful of Barbasol and a Bic disposable. With the latest crop of precision instruments and products—and the proper technique, courtesy of The Art of Shaving’s Thomas Cheung—you can turn the much-hyped “perfect shave” into just another part of your morning routine. Dad would be proud.
Step 1: Time It Right
Shave when your beard is the most hydrated—ideally right after you step out of the shower. “Steam hydrates your beard. When you’re shaving with a razor, you want the growth as soft as possible,” says Cheung. Start by applying a pre-shave solution or scrub—Cheung recommends The Art of Shaving Ocean Kelp Pre-Shave Gel ($25, theartofshaving.com). John Allan’s Slick Water Pre-shave Solution ($30, johnallans.com) is another option we love, with a superslick consistency. If you’re in a rush, the Every Man Jack Signature Mint Face Scrub ($6, everymanjack.com) will wash your face at the same time.
Step 2: Lather Up
Top-notch shaving cream is glycerin based and produces a rich lather. Glycerin “pushes water into the hair, making it swell up and easy to shave,” says Cheung. If you want to shave in the shower, Edge Body Renew Face & Body Shave Cream ($7, edgeshave.com) will cling to your skin while water washes over you. If you attract nicks, Nivea Men’s Sensitive Shaving Cream ($5, drugstore.com) provides soothing moisture without any drying alcohols.