A daily ritual for many, mastering the art of shaving can seem like a complex task. From razor burn to redness, the struggle to find the right products to address skin concerns can feel like a daunting process. Take a little extra time in your daily grooming regime and discover our top tips for achieving the closest shave possible without the irritation.
Wet shaving vs dry shaving
Wet shaving is the process of shaving using a blade with water and soap, gel or cream to create lather. The advantages of wet shaving include a closer shave and the exfoliation of the blade removing dead skin cells.
Dry shaving uses an electric razor (without water!) and is better for sensitive skin, but also more likely to cause redness and irritation.
Call us old fashioned but, whilst dry shaving is undeniably quicker and easier, there’s something about the ritual of a wet shave that really sets us up for the day, not to mention the closeness and smoothness that results from cultivating your face with a well-honed blade.
Preparation is everything
A smooth shave starts with soft skin.
Take a hot shower with one of ARRAN Sense of Scotland’s invigorating Bath & Shower Gels, ensuring you cleanse and hydrate your face with warm water. The steam from the shower will help to open your pores and soften your facial hair, enabling the razor to glide more easily over your skin and drastically lessening the chance of nicks and cuts.
Alternatively, if you’re pushed for time, simply apply a hot towel to your face for a minute or two. This will have a similar effect, and also adds a little luxury to your daily routine as you experience your own hot towel shave.
To further soften your stubble, use a pre-shave oil or cream to smooth and lubricate and to act as a barrier between your skin and the razor blade. Look for a product containing natural ingredients or use a natural product like coconut oil – simply rub a small amount between your palms and pat on to the area to be shaved.
Shave soaps, gels and creams
After cleansing, the next step comes down to personal preference. Thankfully, achieving the perfect shave has never been easier thanks to ARRAN Sense of Scotland’s collection of Shave Soaps, Gels and Creams. Here we outline the benefits of each for every skin type.
To indulge in the more traditional methods of shaving, step back to basics with the Shave Brush and Shave Stone. A modern twist on a classic grooming kit essential, simply work the brush into the soap to build up a rich lather – paramount for a close shave – then apply to the face using small, circular motions. The boar-hair bristles on the shaving brush are gentle enough for all skin types, yet thick enough to provide a brisk exfoliation before shaving. Modelled on a stone from Whiting Bay the shave stone is a little piece of Arran in your home.
For those with more sensitive skin, apply a Shave Gel with the fingers to work up a rich lather on your face. Allow the gel to sit and soak into the skin for a minute or two to provide further protection and enhanced razor glide. Then, making sure to go with the grain of your hair, lightly glide your razor across your facial hair for a streamlined shave. Whether you choose the crisp, clean scent of Machrie or the spiced, wooded fragrance of Lochranza, ARRAN Sense of Scotland’s Shave Gels contain glycerin, aloe vera and Pro-Vitamin B5, known to enhance skin condition and soothe delicate skin.
For everyday use, opt for the light lather found within ARRAN Sense of Scotland’s Machrie Shave Cream or Lochranza Shave Cream. Not only do both keep facial hairs hydrated which makes them easier to cut, they also create a thin layer of protection between the blade and the skin to avoid redness and irritation. Once applied to skin using the fingertips, ensure to use light strokes in a steady, constant motion with a razor to avoid snagging and irritation. No matter which fragrance you prefer, each of the shave creams are enhanced with tea tree and peppermint essential oils to provide a cooling and refreshing sensation along with the added benefits of moisturisation.
Whether you choose a soap, gel or cream, make sure to apply it generously to the face and throat, fully covering the hair and remember NEVER to shave directly onto dry skin.
The shave: picking the right blade for the job
Some people prefer a traditional straight razor, some swear by disposable blades – again it all comes down to personal choice.
A straight, or cut-throat, razor is the most stylish shaving tool – think traditional barbers and James Bond. This is the razor for those wanting the smoothest possible shave, it is also the one most likely to cut you. You’ll need a leather strop to run the blade up and down against before each shave.
Safety razors come with a built-in protective shield and disposable blades that can be replaced when required. They are the perfect pick for a classic shave with minimal risk of razor burn and cuts. Slightly weighted towards the top, you can let gravity do the work for you.
Cartridge razors are the most common kind of razor as they’re quick, convenient and relatively safe. There’s always a lot of advertising hype around more blades equalling a better shave but be wary of such claims; one good blade is all you need. Shaving cream, hair and skin clogs up all those extra blades and you’ll have to buy new ones every few shaves which can work out more expensive.
Whichever razor you favour, make sure it’s sharp; there’s nothing worse than a dull blade for potentially cutting your skin to ribbons. Let the razor do the work – use light pressure and short strokes – and rinse the razor regularly in warm water. As a general rule, you’ll need to change your razor blade around every 6-7 shaves.
Rinse your face with a quick splash of cold water. Not only will this rejuvenate and refresh your skin, but the cooling temperature will also help to close your pores, which helps to prevent any discomfort. Pat, rather than rub, your face dry with a soft towel to avoid any snagging. Soothe any irritation with ARRAN’s Post Shave Balm in either Lochranza or Machrie – containing actives of Aloe Vera and Vitamin E renowned to nourish and revitalise.
Top tip: don’t leave your razor next to a wet sink. Store it in a cool, dry area to prevent rusting and bacteria.
A splash of your favourite aftershave is the final step in the routine. Not only does it smell amazing, it’s also great for protecting the skin from bacteria, closing pores and reducing itching from irritation and ingrown hairs. Try Lochranza, a deep, distinctly masculine fragrance with a spicy combination of patchouli and anise, or Machrie, a refreshing scent which boasts layers of sea salt and rockrose.
Your face should now be silky-smooth and ready to face the day!
ARRAN Sense of Scotland products are inspired by nature and proudly made on the Isle of Arran. A sprig of gorse, a breath of sea air and a pinch of seasoned wood – untouched, natural elements surround our land and water from our very own freshwater spring finds its way into each and every one of our products.