How to Get the Perfect Shave
Grooming, Shaving, or Growing a Beard?
To help you master the art of shaving, Caswell-Massey interviewed three of the country's best professional barbers: Justin Nash, who runs a fantastic small traditional Barber Shop in the Hudson Valley; Alex Martinez, who cuts hair and beards for private clients in Long Beach, California; and Albert Trujillo, a Marine Vet who was named Best Barber of 2018 by Orange County Weekly. These pros gave us the inside scoop on how to keep that perfectly groomed look going for weeks with your own tools.
Shaving Parlor - Pine Plains, NY @shavingparlor
Caswell-Massey: What is in style now for men’s hair?
Justin Nash: Vintage and traditional hairstyles such as pompadours, pompovers, side parts, hard parts, and undercuts are really big right now. Top fades, skin fades, tapered neck lines as well as longer textured tops are all popular men’s styles, which are best kept up with pomades, and high-quality brushes and combs
Caswell-Massey: What’s the right angle and direction for shaving?
Justin Nash: Depends on the razor being used and also the part of the face. Always shave with the grain first and depending on the sensitivity of the skin you can go against the grain. When using a double edge razor you can use a rocking style motion to obtain the right angle for your comfort level. A 30-degree angle is an industry standard but a greater angle can be used for a more aggressive shave as you get more comfortable with your weapon of choice. When learning, take your time don’t rush. Enjoy your shave. It’s a way to rejuvenate the skin and have some calm relaxing time to yourself. Take in the smells and the hot lather. Take small strokes in the beginning. Shaving can help reduce stress levels due to the aromas, feel, and looks. Shaving should not be a job, it should be a mindful moment of relaxation.
Caswell-Massey: What’s the advantage of a Safety Razor versus a Cartridge razor like a Gillette?
Justin Nash: There are several advantages! For one, you get a more enjoyable shave with a safety razor and some are adjustable. They have fewer blades which leads to less irritation and the blades also cost less when using a safety razor. The quality that you get with a safety razor far exceeds any cartridge razor.
“A Gentleman knows that it only takes one good blade and a finely crafted and weighted handle for a perfect shaving experience”
Caswell-Massey: How do you use a Shaving Brush properly?
Justin Nash: Always moisten the brush and let it sit in a steamy cup of water. Make sure to squeeze excess moisture out of the brush before mixing in the lather or soap leaving about 30% moisture on the brush. Apply some shaving soap onto the brush or brush the shaving soap in the container. Mix well in the cup or mug until a rich lather is obtained. Apply the shaving cream or soap to the face by brushing in a small circular motion. This will allow the face to not only be exfoliated but also help stand the hairs up for a smoother, more luxurious shave. Repeat this process for a second or third pass for a shave as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Make sure to go with the grain first and then against the grain on the second or third pass.
Caswell-Massey: What’s the difference between Shaving Soap and Shaving Creams?
Justin Nash: Creams tend to be more malleable and easier to work with when not using a brush. Creams can be applied by hand and worked up to a lather by rubbing it onto the face using your fingertips in a circular motion until the desired lather is obtained. A shaving soap is easier to create a lather by using a fine brush, hot water, and some elbow grease.
Long Beach, California and Jalisco, Mexico @barberingbyalex
Caswell-Massey: When did you start barbering and what inspired you?
Alex Martinez: I started cutting hair when I was around 18. I would cut friends and family at home until I decided to do it as a profession. I was inspired by the love of the craft. We are artists that sculpt and hair is our medium. It’s an ever-changing art form because we are always discovering new trends and techniques that influence how we create styles.
Caswell-Massey: Is it better to go with or against the grain when grooming your beard?
Alex Martinez: When cleaning up a beard it's best to comb out the beard to cut hairs that stick out. When it comes to grooming and styling your beard it's recommended to go with the grain following a beard oil or an essential oil of your choice.
Caswell-Massey: Do you use pre-shave oil or a beard oil? If so, why?
Alex Martinez: I use beard oil after I shower because my pores are open and it takes in the oil down to the root and gives a great shine and scent to my beard.
Caswell-Massey: When is the best time to shave?
Alex Martinez: A great time to shave is after lathering the face a couple times. So I recommend a pre-shave oil mixed with a shaving lather and topped with a couple hot steam towels back to back. A nice clean shave will take some time, so it’s best to carve out part of your morning dedicated to grooming.
Caswell-Massey: What is the importance of weight when buying a razor handle?
Alex Martinez: It's important to get a razor handle with a decent weight to it but not too heavy because you don’t want to have the razor weighing your hand down while shaving.
Orange County, CA @aj_barber_dtsa
Caswell-Massey: When did you start barbering?
Albert Trujillo: I started barbering in the marine corp to make extra money while I was serving. Before the marine corp, I always had to go to the most popular barbershop! I loved the experience of just walking into the shop, hanging out with the guys and having that good feeling after a haircut.
Caswell-Massey: What inspired you to grow a beard?
Albert Trujillo: I started growing out my beard after I got out of the marines. August 4, 2013 was the last day I shaved, so I guess you can say I'm just rebelling after having to shave for so many years.
Caswell-Massey: Do you use a Shaving Brush?
Albert Trujillo: Yes, I use a shave brush on my clients. The advantage is a closer shave because it actually removes dead skin and raises the hairs.
Caswell-Massey: What is the biggest mistake men make when shaving?
Albert Trujillo: I notice a lot of men shave against the grain first rather than shaving with the grain. I go with the grain, I even use a blow dryer when grooming my beard so it can look fuller and longer.
Caswell-Massey: What’s the difference between After Shave Tonics & Shave Balms and Oils?
Albert Trujillo: Tonics have alcohol which create that bracing feeling after you apply when you shave. They help close your pores and prevent infections. If you have dry skin, ingrown hairs, or razor bumps, you might consider After Shave Balms (like a moisturizer) or use a lightweight Multipurpose Oil - these have no alcohol, so they are great for clients who have dry skin or razor bumps because it can hydrate your skin and balance your skin tone.
Caswell-Massey: What is in style now for men’s facial hair?
Albert Trujillo: Beards. I see a lot of people trying to grow their beards as big as they can!
Thank you to Justin Nash, Alex Martinez and Albert Trujillo for taking the time to share their expert opinions on men’s shaving and grooming with us. You can follow Justin Nash at his Pine Plains Barber Shop Facebook page or his fierce Instagram account, Alex Martinez @barberingbyalex on Instagram, and Albert Trujillo @aj_barber_dtsa on Instagram.
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