The Power of Water
Are you overlooking the free and very necessary part of your shaving routine…..?
Article by Rupert Watkins
You know what?? There are bloody loads of shaving products out there for us these days……. I know – not an earthshattering deduction but in the rush to ever more rare oil infused facial masks, shaving creams, face washes, moisturisers – and the rest – are you missing one of the most important ingredients in a chap’s shave?
Even when being given those father / son shaving tips, probably one of the ones you can remember is to shave after a bath or shower. In the bleary eyed rush through the bathroom in the morning it is often forgotten why. Heat in the form of hot water.
The skin is a remarkable organ. However, when shaving the skin needs to relax, the pores open and the bristle soften. So far so logical. In the commuting rush this is often overlooked as we attack our dry and room temperature skin far too rapidly. We’ve all been in saunas or Turkish baths – that soft pink state we walk out in is the ideal state to then take a razor to our visage. Hence, traditional barbers use hot towels to give the face a “miniature” Turkish bath as it were…
Commerce then raises its ugly head. With huge cosmetics firms now heavily invested in the grooming man, they know time and laziness are their friend. There is a flood of advertising for pre shave exfoliators and facial washes to prepare the face. In truth, there is really no man made or natural product that can actually soften facial hair. They can improve the lubrication of the razor across the skin but no more. So that pre-shave exfoliating face wash might not be as useful as you think. Splashing on some luke warm water and then rubbing in a harsh face wash will actually be rather abrasive – not a good start to your shave.
In fact using a scouring face wash – and then – running a rather sharp piece of steel across the chops is probably going to aggravate rather than pleasure the skin. A razor blade doesn’t just cut the bristle, it sloughs away dead skin cells, grit and grime rather effectively too – a point forgotten by many. Hot water – free and plentiful – is the name of the game. Opening the pores and softening the beard, it worth taking the extra 40 seconds to hold a flannel to your face or splash on some more hot water.
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If hot water prepares the face and opens the pores, then rather clearly cold water will close them. In a world where post shave balms can hit you for £50, finish the shave with cold water. Skin is intelligent enough to absorb the moisture it needs (remember all moisturisers are is water with the chemicals needed to change it from liquid into a cream or gel state – the rare oils etc are only about two per cent of the tube) so don’t dry the face – let it dry naturally and you also don’t aggravate freshly exposed skin with a rough towel.