The Grooming Column - Five Steps To The Perfect Shave

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Our recent obsession with beards could finally be on the wane, with more and more previously hirsute British men choosing to shun the trendy face fur for something a little more fresh-faced. Our grooming columnist Chris Beastall from Niven & Joshua offers up his 5 steps to the perfect morning shave:

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There are a few simple but overlooked steps to achieving a smooth and irritation-free shave; always shave after showering to soften beard hair; use a sharp blade for less tug and pull; use a good quality shaving cream to protect the skin and follow with an aftershave balm to calm down irritated skin.

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For some men this is enough, but for the countless others who find this simple routine isn't providing enough protection, and are still suffering with irritated skin - there are some underrated shaving accessories which can make all the difference.

1 The Scrub
Shaving irritation is mainly caused by the razor blade tugging and pulling. A facial scrub helps alleviate this by clearing out skin surface debris, allowing for a cleaner cut. Use before shaving, scrub the beard area in gentle circular motions, allowing the scrub to do the work - excessive scrubbing is not necessary and will only irritate.

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Try this one from Lab Series - an energising gel scrub with menthol, it removes dead skin cells and debris, while also unclogging pores to help prevent infection.

Lab Series Invigorating Face Scrub, £21

2 The Oil
Whenever someone asks me for shaving tips, a pre-shave oil is the one product I recommend above all others.

The multi-benefit pre-shave oil will hydrate and soften the skin and beard, but crucially provide an extra protective barrier between the skin and razor blade. Apply it under your regular shaving cream. This pre-shave oil does all of the above and contains plenty of skin-nourishing ingredients including Almond Oil and Vitamins.

eShave Pre-Shave Oil, £18

3 The Brush 
Believe it or not, there are various types of hair available, depending where on a badger the hair was carefully taken. Best or Super Badger is a good affordable option, with soft yet coarse enough bristles to do the job. This one from Geo F Trumper absorbs water well, and, for the price, is a great option.

Geo F Trumper Badger Shaving Brush, £44

4 The Block
Used since Egyptian times, the Alum Block made with potassium alum has certainly stood the test of time. A natural antiseptic it seals cuts and heals razor burn. Just moisten after shaving and apply directly to problem nicks. It can also be used to close pores.

Taylor of Old Bond Street Alum Block, £7.95

5 The Treatment Cream
Any man who has suffered with ingrown hair will testify that the pain is excruciating. Sorting one out can be a bloody affair and usually entails a trip to your GP. As with anything, prevention is key and there are products available to assist. This one by Anthony Logistics  contains a complex of glycolic, salicylic and phytic acids it gently removes dead skin cells, fights bacteria and, most importantly, helps free ingrown hair.

Anthony Logistics Ingrown Hair Treatment, £28.50