Using shave oil is an ancient old technique when it comes to lubrication of the skin prior to slicing away at hairs with a razor. With the introduction of shave creams and/or soaps in the early 20th century however, shave oils slowly gave way to their lathery friends. It made us wonder, why did this happen and is a soapy cream lather really the ultimate lubricant for shaving? Turns out it isn’t as clear cut as you may think.
Our research found that shave creams can actually irritate the skin to the point where it really doesn’t give the best result for some people. Why? There are a few reasons. Firstly, many shave creams have a high pH (>8) which has the potential to help weaken the hairs to facilitate shaving. Although a high pH might weaken the hair for cutting, it can also disrupt the skin’s acid barrier that protects us from harmful bacteria and foreign particles. The barrier’s destruction can be very irritating for some, resulting in break-outs, dryness and a feeling of tightness in the skin.
A second reason is that some cheaper shave creams lack the ingredients that provide an optimal layer of lubrication and hydration on the skin. In combination with an old or blunt razor, this may cause inflammation on account of a rough shave, which your skin will hate you for.
Shave oils provide a great, and often, cheaper alternative for men with sensitive skin. They can also be used a ‘pre-shave’ lubricating layer before the application of a shave soap to double down on the lubrication for the ultimate in razor glide. When choosing a shave oil, look for products that contain oils such as rice bran or castor oil. These oils consist of omega-9 fatty acids, which are not readily absorbed by the hair and skin, and thus provide a thick and abundant lubricating layer. Omega-9 fatty acids contained in these oils also have good anti-inflammatory properties!
Side note: we don't recommend using a beard oil for shaving or vice versa. Beard oils are designed to soak into the hair skin whereas shave oils are not.
If your skin is comfortable enough to take on a shave soap, the finest results will come when you first apply a shave oil before lathering up on the shave soap. However, a well formulated shave oil is perfectly fine to use on its own.
Some people out there are still sceptical when it comes to shave oil, often saying that it doesn’t accommodate for a great shave like a cream does. They usually say this because they are razor rookies and don’t use a decent shaving technique. Shaving requires a proper technique for optimal results, no burns, no nicks, and no ingrown hairs.
Read below to understand instructions and learn a good technique when shaving with shave oils:
Step 1: Before you shave you need to make sure your face is clean and moist. Shaving is ideal directly after a showering, as your face will be clean, the hot water will soften your skin and facial hair & open up your pores. Remember the golden rule with shaving, pre-soaking your hair with warm water for 2 minutes will drastically reduce the cutting force necessary to slice the hair. Alternatively soak your facial hair with warm water in the sink or apply a clean damp towel to your face.
Step 2: Whilst keeping your face moistened with water, apply a couple of drops of shave oil onto clean palms & rub onto the regions of your face you wish to shave, creating a very thin slick over the surface. Wait momentarily to let the oil absorb a little into your skin & hair.
Step 3 (Optional): Apply shave cream or soap, in an even spread on top of the oil. This is only really necessary for blokes with really sensitive skin or if you need to use a slightly dull razor because you don't have a sharp one to hand (we don't recommend this but sometimes the need may arise).
Step 4: Using a clean, sharp razor blade of your choosing shave your face and remember to use the weight of the razor to guide you rather than applying more force. This will reduce razor rash, nicks and cuts. Remember to shave with the grain (not against) to reduce irritation. If you have some of those stubborn hairs that just won't cut properly with the grain you can go diagonally (not directly) against the grain to get those suckers off your face.
Step 5: Wash and rinse face with cold water to remove excess oil/soap and hair clippings. The cold water will close your pores reducing the capabilities of dirt from entering your skin, therefore minimizing ingrown hairs pimples.
Step 6: Moisturise! Moisturising will assist in cooling down your face, softening the skin, reduce irritation and inject moisture and vitality into your newly shaven face. We recommend a good quality post-shave hydrating gel that contains things like aloe vera and glycerin.
- Make sure your towel, razor and face are clean
- Hot showers or using hot towel will soften your hair
- Cold water will close your pores back up after the shave