Graham Fish, creator and managing director of the British shaving product company men-u (one of Jude Law’s favourite brands), was recently in the country to answer all our questions about shaving.
First up was the issue of blades. How many are really necessary for a good shave?
Well, it seems the latest trend for three-blade razors is a pretty good idea.
I would have to say the best blade out at the moment is the three-blade Gillette Mach 3, he said.
I think there’s some sense to three, and two makes sense as well. But the four-blade -“ I mean, what’s the next thing, five or six?
The more blades your razor has, the better the shaving product you need, so it breaks down and doesn’t coagulate in the blades. At the end of the day, you have to make absolutely certain you’ve got a sharp blade and that you keep it clean. If it gunks up you’ve got a problem.
Then came the thorny issue of gel or cream.
Cream, Fish said defiantly. The reason is because of its consistency, because we want to get the most important active ingredients where they’re needed.
At the end of the day anything that’s not in contact with skin and beard is a waste. And a good shave cream makes the blade last longer.
Definitely do not use soap because it’s drying and not great for slip.
Fish also advocated the use of the shaving brush because it not only stimulates the skin, it also raises the beard to facilitate a closer cut. It’s a good way to disperse the product as well.
So, are the Queer Eye boys right when they say we should only ever shave with the grain?
Absolutely, said our expert. It’s better to shave twice rather than against the grain.
In fact, professional barbers always shave twice to get the bits they missed. But never shave a second time without product -“ always apply it again.
Also, quite often guys get a rash around the collar line, usually because they’re shaving under the chin thinking they’re going with the grain, not realising the hair down there grows in the opposite direction.
The final topic was pre- and post-shave care.
Before shaving it’s important to soften the beard with hot water, so a shower is a good idea.
Never shave cold, he warned. Shaving cream will also help soften a beard -“ and he doesn’t believe in using a pre-shave oil.
Afterwards cleanse the skin with a facial wash, which is the best preventative to spots and breakouts. Finally I would advocate using an aftershave balm and a moisturiser, he said.
It’s quite a simple process.