For those unlucky enough to have irritation-prone skin, shaving can be an exercise in frustration. Redness, razor bumps, cuts, and ingrown hairs greatly detract from the pleasing appearance of a freshly shaven face.
If you’re on the verge of tossing your manual razor or electric shaver in the bin, stop, and read this, because pre-shave oil may be the secret ingredient you’ve been missing for the perfect shave.
What is Pre-Shave Oil?
As the name implies, pre-shave oil is designed for application to the face prior to cream, soap, or gel.
Most pre-shave oils are naturally derived – olive, coconut, almond, argan, jojoba, and grapeseed are popular choices, though every manufacturer – and man – has their preference.
Oil is an excellent carrier for other shave-enhancing additives, such as plant extracts and essential oils, whose soothing, astringent, and antimicrobial properties keep irritation at bay – and help you smell great!
Why use Pre-Shave Oil?
Pre-shave oil penetrates, trapping moisture and making skin supple – a quality that allows skin to conform to the pressure of a razor, instead of catching and breaking. And through the regular application of a natural, high-quality pre-shave oil, your skin will look and feel healthier throughout the day – a boon to the busy man, who may not have time for a complete skincare regime.
Furthermore, pre-shave oil provides a protective, low-friction, lubricating barrier over which a razor can glide.
It lifts and softens hair, too – no small feat, given that the average beard hair is as tough as a strand of copper wire.
Softer hair is easier to cut, and the fewer passes a razor blade or electric shaver makes, the less it damages skin. Pre-shave oils are being used by men to improve electric shaving comfort.
How to Use Pre-Shave Oil
Using pre-shave oil is easy – make it part of your shaving routine, and you’ll experience a smoother shave. Whether it’s a cartridge razor, open razor, or electric razor you’re using – the oil is a compatible addition to your daily shave, and here’s how to go about using it effectively.
- Cleanse your face, using a fresh washcloth or natural cleanser. Cleansing is important – it removes dirt and bacteria that could lead to irritation. Follow through with hot water, then pat your face dry.
- Place a few drops (don’t go overboard; less is more!) of oil in the palms of your hands, or simply apply the oil with your fingertips. Massage it into your beard for 30 seconds, and allow it to sit for another half to full minute.
- Whip up a lather with your favourite cream, soap or gel. Make sure to use a quality product – ideally one free from harsh ingredients, which can contribute to skin irritation.
- Shave with your razor of choice – and yes, electric shavers, too. You may prefer the convenience and comfort of a disposable, multi-blade cartridge, or the tradition and simplicity of a single-blade safety razor. Whichever you choose, shave with the grain, use a light touch, and rinse the razor with hot water after each pass – stubble, lather and oil residue can clog the blade (this is especially true of cartridge razors).
- Splash your face with cold water and dry it gently. If necessary, apply witch hazel, or a soothing aftershave or balm. Admire your glorious reflection, and step confidently into the day.
Which Pre-Shave Oil is Best?
There are myriad pre-shave oils from which to choose. It may be necessary to try a few before settling on one – but following these basic guidelines can set you in the right direction.
Look for natural ingredients. Most pre-shave oils are largely or entirely natural—but it doesn’t hurt to check the label. Synthetic preservatives and fragrances can irritate the skin.
Buy from well-established brands and trusted retailers. With so many new products entering the marketplace, it makes sense to first opt for something others have tried and reviewed. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, branch out.
Choose a pre-shave oil compatible with your skin type.
Again, this may require some experimentation – but a good general rule to follow is that lighter oils are better suited to acne-prone skin, while especially dry skin may benefit from a richer oil.
Opt for dark or opaque packaging. Oil is light-sensitive.
Clear packaging allows light to pass through, causing oxidation and degradation. Opaque, food-grade plastic or darkly-colored glass bottles are best.
Clean-shaven, razor-burned men of the world, we implore you: try pre-shave oil.
We recommend Executive Shaving 100 ml Pre Shave Oil – a Scottish made oil that has an amazing natural ingredients profile, with anti-clog density and beautiful lime and patchouli scent.
It’s a simple, budget-friendly addition to your shaving routine, adding a mere minute or two to your day – a small price to pay for smooth, irritation-free skin, and a better shave with your preferred shaving tool.