Get the perfect summer shave

A master barber outlines 5 steps to keeping skin smooth and cool as the temperature rises.

Heat, sand and sweat are all enemies of a beard. Which makes it something of a cruel joke that the rise in hormone production and Vitamin D cause facial hair follicles to increase in warmer months.

“There’s definitely an increase in shaving traffic this time of year, and many guys tend to keep facial hair short in the summer in order to beat the heat,” says Rudy Milian, master barber at Harry’s Corner Shop in New York City. “Plus, no one wants a facial hair tan line.” Here, his tips for ditching the five o’clock shadow and keeping skin cool, smooth and freshly-shaven as the dog days set in.

prep skin

“A hot shower before you shave will clean off any dirt and oil, help open the pores to loosen hair follicles, and hydrate the hair, making it easier to cut. If you don’t have time to shower, wash your face with hot water for a few minutes or use a hydrating shave cream and let it sit for two minutes after you lather.”

choose the right blade

“I’ve tried everything on the market and three things matter: exceedingly sharp blades, a cartridge that flexes to your face, and a lubricating strip. In our [Harry’s] cartridges, we use five blades to help spread out the pressure applied to the face, reducing friction and making for a comfortable shave experience.” After each use, rinse blades and pat dry with a towel to prevent rust buildup and dullness.
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lather up

Shaving without any lubricant will cause irritation and bumps. “It’s crucial to have the right combination of razor and shave cream to make shaving even more comfortable for your specific skin type.” Harry’s Shave Cream contains vitamins, marula and coconut oils, cucumber, milk thistle and licorice root extracts to condition and protect skin.
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use the right technique

“Fuller facial hair this time of year means more work for your razor, and each shaving stroke requires more applied pressure. Pay attention to the direction of the hairs and shave with the grain first. For an especially close shave, repeat strokes lightly against the grain.”

soothe and protect

Splash cold water on your face to close the pores. Milian likes an after-shave balm—not a lotion—to keep skin revived and protected. Look for a nourishing alcohol-free balm such as Baxter of California After Shave Balm, which is infused with moisturizers, aloe and tea tree oil.
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