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There is perhaps nothing more enjoyable than that clean post-shave feel early in the morning after a nice hot shower. There is perhaps no better way to start your day.
But the chore of shaving can eclipse the enjoy-ability factor, especially when particular aspects of your shave become less-than-perfect trouble spots. The area that is perhaps the most difficult for many a wet shaver is the area around and under the chin.
Despite its difficulty, a little bit of patience and practice will ensure you can master the art of shaving your chin and under your chin–regardless of your weapon of choice (safety razor vs. straight razor).
When it comes to shaving your chin and under your chin, there are several pointers that will become essential to ensuring your shave is as pleasant as possible.
Prepare –The first and most critical component of a good shave on both chin and face is proper shave preparation. The right prep ensures the hairs and skin are soft and supple enough to easily slice with your razor of choice. The easier the hairs are to remove, the better the shave will be. When it comes to preparing your chin and under your chin it is often helpful to prepare the entire face with a nice slick coat of shaving soap or shaving cream and your favorite shaving brush. Then, plan on shaving the chin and under the chin as the last step. This will ensure that area in particular has ample time to absorb the moisture, thereby making it easier to shave.
Shaving Angle — Whether you are using a cartridge razor, a safety razor or a straight razor, the angle of the shave matters. The benefit of your average cartridge razor is the pivot head which moves as you take large swipes across your face. Contrast this strategy with the pivot-less head of a safety razor and you will note the need to manually adjust the razor to ensure you still maintain a 30-degree with each pass. This means each stroke of the blade will need to be shorter and your wrist will then become the pivot mechanism.
This method of shaving is certainly more manual, but it also will allow you to make your shave much more customized.
Tilt Your Noggin’ — When shaving your chin and under your chin tilting your head back does a couple of things. First, it makes the skin under the chin taut, allowing for a more smooth, level surface for cutting the hair.
In some cases (especially when the under-chin is more fleshy), simply tilting the head will not produce the desired tautness for a good cut. If this is the case, simply use your free hand to pull and tighten the skin in the area the razor blade will be gliding, allowing for a more smooth pass as you progress through your shave.
Shave with the Grain — Shaving with the grain–at least for your first pass–ensures less irritation and will make the area more prepared for passes two and three (if you so desire). But, don’t go against the grain on your first pass. Blood and skin irritation are more likely to result.
Apply Little Pressure — Do not apply manual pressure. Get a good heavy-handled safety razor and let the weight of the razor and gravity do the work.
Use Short Strokes — Short strokes will provide you with much more control over the speed, the pressure and the angle especially as the surface of the skin and the direction of the hair changes.
Shaving around, on and under the chin and jawline can take some practice and patience. Before you adequately progress down the wet shaving learning curve, a styptic pencil, antiseptic or alum block may be helpful in alleviating skin irritations and weepers. As with anything that requires skill, the art of shaving will require some practice and patience before you reach true wet shaving perfection. And, as any good wet shaver will attest, even they have bad facial hair days on occasion. But, getting through the difficult problem areas–which include the chin and jawline–will make the rest of the process that much more smooth.
What’s your chin and under the chin shaving methodology? What type of razor do you use?