BLOG: The Art of Shaving by BBA grooming director Sheriff Mehmet

Educator and grooming director at the British Barbers Association, Sheriff Mehmet has earned a reputation as a master of the art of close shaving. Here he offers his insider tips on achieving the perfect traditional shave.

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There are a number of electric razors on the market, so you may ask yourself why you would want to wet shave?

It’s simple: If you want a perfect shave that promotes healthier and better looking skin, then traditional wet shaving is your the best option.

Surprisingly, good old-fashioned water is one of the most important aspects of shaving.

But how do you get that perfect wet shave? Here are my five top tips to ensure you get the best results, every time:

Skin Preparation

1. Apply face scrub or wash to cleanse and exfoliate the skin. Massage the face with a rotary motion to help to remove debris and dead skin cells.

2. Rinse or wipe thoroughly.

3. Wrap a hot towel around the face for three to four minutes. Ensure the entire face is well covered. This softens the hair cuticle and relaxes the muscles, increasing blood circulation, and helps to give a relaxing and comfortable shave.

4. Lubricate whiskers/beard with a pre-shave oil and massage the skin with circular movements. This helps soften the beard and reduces irritation and stinging.

5. Apply shaving cream to the face using a brush and with small circular motions to create a creamy lather. This helps the hair stand up and away from the skin

Shaving Procedure

  • Hold the razor with your little finger on the tang and your thumb and index finger on the outside of the shank of the razor.
  • The razor should be held at a 30° degree angle and gently glided over the skin, working in the direction of growth (with the grain).
  • Ensure the client’s head is tilting back and stable.
  • Use your other hand to stretch the skin to create tension. Stretch the skin in the direction of the growth as this forces the facial hair to stand up away from the skin.
  • Move the razor over the skin in the direction of growth in smooth slicing strokes, ensuring that the blade remains at a 30° angle.
  • Wipe the blade clean.
  • Work on one side of the face and move down the neck with the same smooth slicing strokes.
  • Once complete work on the opposite side, again working down on to the neck
  • When working on the upper lip area, ask the client to stretch their top lip and use your other hand to gently lift the nose up and out of the way.
  • Take extra care working around the bottom lip, the chin and the Adam’s apple. You may find it easier to drag the skin either side of the Adam’s apple and shave it on the smoother part of the neck.
  • Once complete, apply a second hot towel.
  • Re-lather and start with the second shave. This time work across the grain to give you a smoother shave.
  • Hold the razor at 15° degrees when working across the grain.
  • Once you have completed the whole beard area, use your fingers to feel for missed or stray hairs and remove.
  • Check the sideburns and edges for symmetry.

Post Shave

  • Once the shave is complete, close the razor and place safely away.
  • If you have nicked the skin and there is bleeding, use an Alum block or Styptic pen to stem the bleeding.
  • Wash the face with cool water or place a cold wet towel and wipe gently. This will help to close the pores.
  • Gently massage a moisturising balm into skin. This soothes and hydrates the skin and will reduce irritation.
  • Ensure the client’s face is clean and they are happy with the result before removing the gown and towels.
  • Dispose of used razor blades in Sharpe’s box (or as per local laws).
  • Sterilise and disinfect tools and prepare the workstation for the next client.


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