The art of the close shave
Banishing stubble and acquiring smooth skin is just a razor's edge away.
By Anson Yu
A proper shave at home isn’t about running a razor across some stubble. First, you need to prepare your facial hair with a hot shower or by washing your face thoroughly with hot water. This helps softens the beard or moustache hair, and gets rid of any dirt that could get in the way of the razor. Next, you need to apply a good lubricant such as shaving cream to help the razor do its work. While some men shave without any shaving oil or gel, it often leads to mild skin irritation known as razor burn. Even those using electric razors must use lubricant, to help cut down on any irritation. Using soap to moisten the face will dry out the skin in the long run. There are some who suggest using hair conditioner as a moistening agent. It doesn’t seem to hurt to try it once to see if it works with your skin type.
When applying shaving cream, a circular motion works best. This helps lift the whiskers for a closer shave. Once you are ready to shave, go first in the direction of where the hair is growing. This is the side that feels smoothest when you rub your hand across your face. As you shave, try not to apply too much pressure on the razor, as it can cause skin irritation, or worse, minor cuts. If you don’t have razor bumps or ingrown hair, use your other hand to gently pull the skin taut to avoid cuts. Rinse your razor as you shave, to dislodge clogged hair and cream. Occasionally reapply the cream or splash on cold water to moisten your skin.
If you have time, some experts advise brushing the stubble with a toothbrush. This is to make sure that the hair is growing in the right direction and not curling back into the skin. When done, wash your face and apply aftershave lotion, to remove any leftover residue. Avoid using alcohol-based aftershave lotion, as it will dry out your skin.
Go to the pros
If it’s entirely possible to shave decently at home, why are barbershops still the place to go for a shave? TCTG Barbershop, based in Binondo, mainly has elderly Chinese men for its clientele, most of whom hang around the shop to shoot the breeze before—and long after their shave is done—like an informal social club. What makes TCTG and other Binondo barbershops stand apart from others in Metro Manila is that they hire women—who are more meticulous and have a lighter touch—to do the shaving. For P60, clients get their money’s worth—a good, close shave and a quick massage, nose hair trim and ear cleaning service as well.
GQ Barbershop, a popular Luzon-wide chain, mainly caters to a middle-class clientele and charges P120 for a 20-minute shave. Jerome Galvez, one of their barbers, believes men still go for a professional shave for relaxation. “Our shop’s interior looks nice, clean and comfortable, so it is easy for our customer to feel relaxed here. Many of them take a quick nap while we are shaving.”
Titan Barbershop has an old-world interior, but is very much in the 21st century, with free Wi-Fi, a flat screen TV, console gaming station and a tablet PC customers may use. As they wait for their turn, customers can even browse among the athletic wares at the in-house basketball specialty shop. At P150, Titan’s shave is worth making a monthly personal indulgence, with imported toiletries and the gifted hands of barbers like Rod Lucine who ensure that you emerge with a baby-smooth face.
Where to go:
Address: Unit F128, Forbestown Road, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Telephone: (02) 658 3893
Address: 653 Ty Tan St. (formerly Oriente St.) Binondo, Manila
Found at various malls all over the city, find the one nearest you by logging on to their website: gqbarbershop.ph.