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Shaving Myths Debunked

Think you’ve got the morning shave down pat? The Art of Shaving®’s Master Barber Buck Dutton tells us how to make the best routine even better. Here are his razor-sharp answers regarding the disputed value of the now-ubiquitous a badger hair brush, “with” versus “against” the grain, and the most common shaving mistake you probably don’t know you’re making.

BB Man: Walk us through a guy’s ideal pre-shave routine.

Dutton: First, you always want to shave either in or after the shower. The steam is crucial for prepping the skin and getting the hair ready to be shaved. Second, you always want to shave clean skin, so be sure to wash your face first. Finally, a good pre-shave oil will add an extra layer of lubrication to help you increase razor glide and cut down on irritation.

BB Man: What’s the top reason that guys should upgrade from traditional canned shaving foams?

Dutton: Alcohol. It irritates the skin and dries it out. Having a product that is alcohol-free is the number one consideration, hands down. Swimmers use alcohol in their ears after swimming to dry the water out—why would you want to use that on your face?

BB Man: What about shave gel that foams upon contact with skin?

Dutton: It’s not natural for something to foam when it comes into contact with the skin.

BB Man: What’s the most common mistake you see men make when they are shaving?

Dutton: Applying too much pressure. I hear so many guys saying they are trying to get a close shave and press really hard and it’s not working. Pressing down too hard doesn’t give you a closer shave, it just removes more skin and causes irritation.

BB Man: Is it worth shelling out for one of these old-time badger hair shaving brushes?

Dutton: Shaving brushes retain a lot of heat. By retaining the heat, you get a great hot lather. A good shaving brush also retains the correct amount of moisture to mix with the shaving cream to properly coat the hair. But most importantly, the shaving brush exfoliates the skin while lifting the hair up and away from the skin. That gives you a closer shave. If you invest in a good one—natural hair is better than synthetic—and take care of it (always hang it to dry), you’ll have your best friend for years to come. Editor's note: see a whole interview Dutton did about shaving brushes here.

BB Man: Should a guy shave with or against the grain? Every barber has a different answer to this question. What’s the final word?

Dutton: Both! Some guys, myself included, must shave in both directions in order to get a really close shave. The key is how to do it. First, shave with the grain. Once you’re finished, take the same brush and re-lather the face. You can then shave lightly against or across the grain for that extra close shave.

BB Man: Any barber will recommend that a guy take his time with a shave. But what if a guy is in a hurry and needs to do an abbreviated two-minute shave?

Dutton: Anything worth doing should be done well. If you don’t have four minutes to dedicate to yourself, then you should skip the shave for that day

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