The perfect shave

Men's Journal

The perfect shave

Photo by Safia Fatimi / Getty Images

At New York City's Art of Shaving, the best shave of your life will cost you $55 – and no small amount of courage. In this era of ultralite pivoting four-blade razors so safe you can practically swallow them, it's unnerving, and a bit thrilling, to have an imposing Russian man named Boris come at you with six inches of gleaming diamond-sharpened steel.

At the risk of spoiling the show, though, Art of Shaving cofounder Eric Malka has a secret for you: It's just a clever parlor trick. "Men don't realize the key to a great shave is prepping," Malka says. In other words, that neoprene-smooth feeling you get afterward has less to do with the blade than with the other things being done to your face while you're focused on the steadiness of Boris's hand.

Things like opening your pores with steam and hot water, massaging essential oils into your beard, and lathering you up with an impossibly thick shave cream. Here's something else Malka probably shouldn't tell you: You can get pretty much the same effect right in your own WC. Just follow these four steps.

Step One 
Make sure you've prepped your beard with warm water. Ideally, you'll shave in the shower, but after-shower shaving works nearly as well.

Step Two
Once the moisture has softened your whiskers, massage some lubricant into your beard. Purists insist on a thick-lather cream, but gel provides a more than adequate alternative, and lets you see what you're doing as you shave your sideburns.

Step Three
Now you're ready to shave. Apply light pressure, and shave with the direction of your whiskers to minimize irritation. When you're done, splash cold water on your newly shorn cheeks to close up the pores.

Step Four
After you've patted your face dry, moisturize with an aftershave balm. The moisture soothes your skin and prepares it for the next time you – or Boris – drag a sharp blade across your neck.

See more from Men's Journal:

The Frequent-Flyer’s Shaving Regimen

The 6 Best Beard Trimmers

The Double Duty After Shave

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • ESPN anchor uses unfortunate metaphor to explain Charlie Strong's job status at Texas

      When ESPN’s Adnan Virk used an ill-advised metaphor to talk about coach Charlie Strong’s situation at Texas, the Twitter backlash was swift.

      Yahoo Sports
    • Emily Ratajkowski Cheers on the L.A. Dodgers in a Midriff-Baring Crop Top, Smooches Her Boyfriend in the Stands

      Who says you have to rock a billowing jersey to show your sportsmanship? Not Emily Ratajkowski, who showcased her toned physique as she cheered on the Los Angeles Dodgers at a baseball game in L.A. on Thursday. The model and actress took a minimalist approach to dressing for the sidelines and rocked a black pair of high-waist jeans with a long-sleeve white crop top that showcased her abs. She proudly put forth her support of the hometown team with a black cap that simply read "LA"

    • Women Are Boycotting Ivanka Trump’s Fashion Line — and the Stores That Sell It

      Despite her father’s uncanny ability to offend and alienate women more with each passing day, Ivanka Trump has managed to maintain a relatively high level of respect throughout Donald Trump’s turbulent presidential campaign. Some would say Ivanka has even been the one saving grace for a candidate who is increasingly being viewed as little more than a misogynistic narcissist by many Americans — particularly women.

      Yahoo Style
    • Two Children Shot and Killed in Georgia Home Invasion

      A 15-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl were shot to death in a suspected home invasion in Georgia

    • Eleanor Roosevelt’s ‘mistress’ died heartbroken and alone

      They called each other “darling,” “dear one” and “heart.” They told each other “je t’aime” and “j’adore,” and wrote more than 3,000 letters to one another. “All day I’ve thought of you . . . Oh! I want to put my arms around you, I ache to hold you close,” the normally reserved Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in March of 1933 to her beloved. No, not her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but a brilliant, bourbon-drinking, cigarette-smoking Associated Press reporter named Lorena Hickok, or Hick. Their romance is at the center of Susan Quinn’s engrossing double biography, “Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady.” While Quinn is not the first to tell the tale of Eleanor and

      New York Post q
    • Ariel Winter finally explains why she wore that swimsuit on the red carpet

      Modern Family star Ariel Winter has a great track record as a body-positive role model. She is so outspoken about her journey to feeling happy in her own skin and knows how to handle bullies without dimming her shine. That’s why we love this explanation of why she wore a swimsuit, shorts, and heels on the red carpet over the summer. Ariel debuted this look at the Just Jared 4th Annual Summer Bash hosted by Uno in Los Angeles in July. Some fans loved the look and some people hated it, but it definitely got people talking. It’s true, this is a real outfit she rocked on the red carpet! In a recent interview with People about her most controversial outfits, Ariel talked about the look. She said:

      HelloGiggles q
    • 11 Things You Probably Didnt Know About Airplanes (11 photos)

      Planes have changed a lot since the days of the Wright Brothers (or, perhaps more accurately, Brazilian inventor Alberto Santos ). Those first wood-and-cloth contraptionsarean entirely different species thanthesleek Boeing Dreamliners of today. With the continual advancements in aerospace technology, it's hard to keep up with all the amazing things planes today are capable of doing (and withstanding). Below,11 things you didnt know about airplanes and air travel.

    • Dear Abby: Crestfallen she'll never be a grandma

      DEAR ABBY: I have two wonderful children (28 and 30). Both are married and have great spouses. Ever since I was a girl, I have dreamed of being a mother and a grandmother. My heartbreak is that neither of my children wants kids. Every time I hear that my sister or brother is becoming a grandparent again, my heart aches so bad I sit down and cry. My husband says I need to accept it and move on. I have tried, but I’m so depressed right now I don’t know what to do. I’m thankful my children found their soul mates and are doing very well. I just don’t know how to get past this missing part of me. — UNHAPPY IN COLORADO DEAR UNHAPPY: Have you considered going online and researching volunteer opportunities

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • Entertainment Tonight
    • Michigan lined up in a 10-man centipede formation again

      Jim Harbaugh is unique. Michigan’s coaches don’t call it that -- they call it “trains” — but we’re not Michigan’s coaches. Needing two yards, Michigan came out with five linemen, three tight ends, a fullback, and a running back.

      SB Nation q
    • Where the presidential race stands today: The USC Dornsife / Los Angeles Times poll

      How the USC/L.A. Times Daybreak tracking poll works The USC Dornsife/L.A. Times Presidential Election "Daybreak" Poll asks more than 400 people each day about their voting intentions. The poll is part of the Understanding America Study (UAS) at the University of Southern California's Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research. Each day's poll respondents are a subset of the UAS election panel, roughly 3000 U.S. citizens who were randomly recruited from among all households in the United States. Respondents are asked three predictive questions: What is the percent chance that (1) you will vote in the presidential election? (2) you will vote for Clinton, Trump, or someone else? and (3) Clinton, q
    • Ivanka Trump backs her father but doesn't want to fall with him

      Ivanka, soon to turn 35, is still clearly her father's protegee. Having grown up in the spotlight from an early age, at a time when her father's extramarital affairs filled the tabloid press, Ivanka knows how to tend to her own image -- and that of the clothing line that bears her name.

    • Man 'fed up' with with children playing on drive jailed after running over and killing neighbour's son

      A man who ran over and killed his neighbour's five-year-old son after becoming "fed up" with children playing on his driveway has been jailed for two years. David Cowell, 42, killed neighbour Riley Ferguson, while he pulled his car onto the drive he shared with the boy's family in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. Cowell had denied the charge of causing death by careless driving but was convicted by a majority verdict.

      International Business Times UK q
    • MarketWatch q
    • Anna Kendrick looked like a boho Disney Princess at the Euro premiere of “The Accountant”

      It’s no secret we’ve had a crush on Anna Kendrick for a long time now. We not only love her acting, but…

      Hello Giggles
    • LeBron James Says 'Teams Get Together' To Beat Him

      When the Golden State Warriors won the offseason by nabbing Kevin Durant in free agency, it almost seemed like it was a response to LeBron James existing and overpowering them in the NBA Finals. You couldn’t blame LeBron if he took it personally, but he hasn’t mentioned it phasing him publicly. Until now LeBron has been business as usual, mentioning that it motivated him (but not much more).

    • Toddler dies in Spokane fire, his dog huddled at his side

      SEATTLE (AP) — A toddler who died in a house fire was found with his dog and teddy bear next to him and authorities believe the dog tried to protect the boy, a spokesman for Spokane's fire department said Saturday.

      Associated Press
    • Tiger Woods Doesn’t Regret Cheating on Ex-Wife Elin Nordegren

      The 40-year-old professional golfer opened up to Charlie Rose on Thursday.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Jim Harbaugh had Michigan run a fake punt with a 34-0 lead in the 4th quarter

      Michigan predictably dominated Illinois on Saturday. Two weeks after delivering a world-class beatdown to Rutgers, the Wolverines jumped all the way to a 34-0 lead in the fourth quarter against the Illini. Up by five touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the Michigan coach called for a fake punt, content to shovel as much dirt as possible on Illinois’ grave.

      SB Nation q
    • Always Broke? 4 Things Debt-Free People Never Do

      Do you want financial freedom? Don't do these four things.

      The Cheat Sheet q