The Murdock Barbers’ Expert Guide to Good Grooming
Congratulations on making a key step towards mastering the art of traditional shaving by seeking the help of this guide. As a sophisticated man you no doubt understand that shaving is a skill that, like all good things in life, the better you are at it, the more enjoyable it is. For the best shave, you need superior products and also the right guidance. Read on and follow our barbers' step-by-step tips on how to craft the perfect wet shave at home. Truly, wisdom to pass down for generations...
For men ready to upgrade their grooming ritual. An easy to use razor for a straight-forward shave. Ernest Razors further relieve the common issues of ingrown hairs and razor bumps because the blade is fixed to cut hair at a perfect 30 degrees.
For men who want to start shaving the traditional way using professional techniques. Using just one blade, a straight razor provides the skin with less irritation and causes less tension on the skin, preventing razor burn with less strokes required than a multi-blade razor.
For men ready for the expert level. Crafted from steel for the sharpest, most authentic traditional shave. Sharpened and honed by hand for a perfect cutting edge.
1. A single blade razor will provide a superior close shave because it works directly against the skin. Modern, multi-blade razors are guarded, so while you can shave quickly, you will never cut as close without the risk of razor burn.
2. Our barbers recommend using Wilkinson Sword blades for an incredibly close and straightforward cut. Remember feeling obliged to make that worn multi-blade head last just one more quick and painful shave? After each use every type of blade naturally dulls - increasing the chance of razor burn and irritation. Being able to refresh your single blade after each shave at the value of a few pence compared to a moulded modern razor head at over £1 eliminates that economical strain and also results in a more hygienic shave.
3. Remember after shaving to dry your razor down and keep it stored in a dry environment to avoid corrosion and damage to your razor’s head and edge caused by lingering drops of water.
A Shaving Brush is a rite of passage to the most satisfying shaving experience.
The traditional shaving brush has been around for centuries, with a design that has remained classically consistent; long bristles and a smooth handle that can be held between thumb and forefinger.
The most important part of a shaving brush is the bristles, used for their ability to hold significant amounts of water which can be mixed effectively with shaving cream or soap to create the perfect, rich and luxurious lather. Thicker and more emollient lather translates to less razor skipping and dragging; resulting in a closer and cleaner shave.
Bristles also have the ability to lift hairs and stubble up from the skin’s surface, which leaves facial hair softer and more easily removed by a razor. This process also leads shaving brushes to act as an exfoliator, as they help to remove dirt and dead skin and reduce blemishes.
Bristles falling out of a brush is a common issue due to its crafted delicacy and you can certainly expect to lose some strands from time to time from natural wear and tear. To maintain and store a shaving brush correctly, keep it facing downwards - ideally in a fixed stand - so that any excess water can be completely freed after use.
Thorough preparation is crucial in regards to how your skin will respond to your blade.
Before shaving you should wash your face using Face Wash to cleanse pores of excess oil, dirt and dead skin. A great wash will do all that, but gently and without disrupting the skin’s natural pH or causing any tightness or dryness afterwards. With these common side effects in mind, our barbers helped to create a formula that’s sulphate and soap-free with soothing Aloe Vera and cooling Peppermint to cleanse thoroughly without drying skin out.
After washing your face, follow with Face Scrub. Ours employs a combination of Pumice and Lactic Acid to clear away any congestion, dead skin and lift the facial hair (great prep for shaving). For the best result, apply a few times a week and scrub in a circular motion to small areas of the face at a time.
After gently drying your face, applying Pre Shave Oil will help soften your facial hair and nourish the skin. This prepares it for the razor's edge, helping it to glide, not drag, across the face. 100% Natural Oils in our formula ensure a smooth, less irritating shave on even the most sensitive skin or thickest hair.
Follow by soaking a flannel for a few moments in half very hot/half cold water. Squeeze out and apply to your face for a few moments. Hold the flannel for longer if you have a particularly large amount of facial hair. Alternatively, take advantage of a steamy shower and apply the oil during or straight afterwards.
Immerse your shaving brush in warm water to soak the bristles.
Let the excess water drip out before proceeding to use. Take a fingertip amount of Shaving Cream
or Traditional Shaving Soap and using your brush, begin to create a lather in your bowl using a firm circular motion until a luxurious texture is achieved. Water helps soften facial hair and brushes also mildly exfoliate the skin. Work the lather into your face using a similarly firm circular motion.
Hold your razor at a 30 degree angle to the skin, allowing the blade to smoothly sweep across the face.
Shave With The Grain
Always check the direction of hair growth. You should always shave with the grain when using a single blade razor. This will help prevent cuts, irritation and ingrown hairs. Shave from the sideburn down and follow your hairline if it's straight. A key tip is to always pay extra attention to the neck as growth can vary here. If your neck hair grows sideways, you can work from underneath.
Stretch Your Skin
Holding the razor in one hand, always make sure to stretch your skin upwards with your free hand to keep it taut whilst continuing to shave downwards. You want to be stretching your skin with your fingers behind the blade to expose your facial hair as best possible.
After shaving, cool your skin down with a cold flannel for a few moments and rinse away any soap residue.
Apply a liberal amount of Post Shave Balm to soothe your face. Our anti-inflammatory formula gets to work immediately to moisturise skin and seal pores.
If you have any nicks (it’s fine, accidents happen to the best of us), dab them with an Alum Bar to soothe and seal them - providing instant relief.
Complete your shave with a spray of Cologne to the back of your neck, avoiding freshly shaved skin.
How To Hold A Straight Razor
Holding a traditional razor for the first time can be an intimidating experience if you’re otherwise used to a modern, plastic handled razor with a protection cover over the blades. Before you look to load your blade, get to grips with holding your straight razor with your ring finger hooked over the tang whilst resting your middle and index fingers on the back of the blade. Your thumb should sit on the side of the blade next to the centre.”
How Many Passes?
Begin your first pass with very little pressure, allowing the weight of your razor to influence lighter strokes. For a completely smooth finish you can make multiple passes over one area, just be sure to re-apply your Shaving Cream lather beforehand to sufficiently prepare the skin for the blade.
You should be extremely proud of how superbly well you now shave.