Even if you’ve been at it since puberty, the shaving run-down you picked up from your dad probably didn’t include expert tips on the best tools, how to pick gels versus creams, and when to use (not abuse) aftershave. But now’s your chance to play catch up. Ditch the five o’clock shadow for an opportunity to show off a chiseled jaw, and consider this the rulebook for your smoothest shear yet.
1. The Schedule
As long as you keep skin moisturized, going after stubble on a daily basis is OK. Bonus: Shaving exfoliates skin and actually keeps it looking fresher. With every scrape, you slough off a layer of dead skin cells—the ones that accumulate more quickly with age and cause skin to look sallow. But if skin starts to look red or irritated, set down the razor for a day or two. And if you notice ingrown hairs (what a dermatologist would deem pseudofolliculitis), it means you’re getting too close—shave in the direction that hair grows to avoid further irritation.
2. The Blade
Sure, Daniel Craig deemed the classic straightedge Bond’s choice, but an angled multiple-blade razor boasts a few advantages. An angled blade makes it easier to cover all the curves of your face, and additional blades catch annoyingly tiny hairs. Plus, multi-blade razors are easier to use (read: fewer nicks and cuts). For sensitive skin, try an electric razor. It won’t shave as close, but it’s less irritating to skin.