Five things you need to know:
Chances are you’re going to need a little sculpting here and there. A little on the cheeks, a little on the neck depending on the kind of look you’re going for. Ideally, you’d leave that all to a pro. Beard-sensei Nick Wendel from The Blind Barber—esteemed NYC barbershop/speakeasy hybrid—lays down some ground rules for taking matters into your own hands.
Do: “If you want to sculpt super-close, there’s no alternative to a straight razor. Buy one from The Art of Shaving and they’ll tell you everything you could possibly need to know to avoid a Sweeney Todd situation. A number of regular razors come with a single blade on the back for sculpting,”
Don’t: “It seems like a no-brainer, but so many guys treat shaving like a race and end up with nicks. Take the few extra seconds to add water to your shaving cream for an extra-smooth shave, and always go with the grain.”
Do: “Use a hot towel to open the pores before you sculpt and a cold towel—or a cold rinse—to close your pores after. This keeps ingrown hairs, redness, and nicks in check.
Don’t: “Never squeeze ingrown hairs like they’re pimples. Dirt in your nails can lead to infection.”
Do: “When you have an ingrown hair, put a hot towel on your face, disinfect the spot with some alcohol, take a tweezer, and go at it. Grab the hair as close to the base as possible to pull the bulb out. If you yank it from the top, you’ll just split the hair in half, and then you’re screwed.”
How to get the perfect fade:
Yes, you can use your beard trimmer to get a perfect fade.
• Step one: Buzz it
“Set guard to 3 and buzz your whole beard.”
• Step two: Clean lower neck
“Switch guard to 1 and buzz from your Adam’s apple to two inches below your jaw.”
• Step three: Fade it
“Switch guard to 2 and buzz that remaining two-inch area, finessing and fading the 1 zone into the 3 zone.”
• Step four: Remove strays
“Remove guard (the 0 setting) and buzz below your Adam’s apple and any strays on the sides of your neck.”
Best trimmer-The built-in vacuum in this Norelco which is $60 by Phillips is the best of its kind.
What to use to take it off:
The Cream: Kyoku’s sake-infused shave cream lands on your face like little grassy clouds. Thick as it is, it won’t clog up your razor, either.
$34, available at barneys.com
The Blade: The folks at Schick will sing the praises of the Xtreme3′s scented handle. What you’re actually going to dig is its smooth glide, which is made possible by a pre-shave oil strip. The citrus wafting from the handle is basically undetectable.
Two packs of four Xtreme 3 Fitstyle Refresh razors, $22.99, available at amazon.com
The After-Shave: Aesop’s hydrating post-shave lotion is lighter than a cream but just thick enough that you still get a good tingle. It also happens to be some of the best-smelling stuff we’ve ever slapped on.
$47, available at select Barneys locations and aesop.net.au