How to Shave: Your 7 Biggest Questions Answered

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Does your bathroom resemble that blood-soaked scene from The Shining after you’ve gone to work on your stubble? With the help of shaving supremo Andrew Cannon of London’s Ruffians Barbers, your morning shave no longer needs to be a pain in the neck...

How do I know if my razor’s sharp enough?

Answer: If you have to ask, it’s probably not. “Modern safety razors aren't designed to last more than a few shaves,” says Cannon. He advises chucking yours every two to five days.

Solution: Subscribe to Shavekit ( to get quality razors delivered to your door for just £6.95 a month.

Is there any way of keeping them sharper for longer?

Answer: Counterintuitively, regular shaving prolongs the life of your blades. “Light stubble is less likely to drag across the blade,” says Cannon. “That means less damage to the cutting edge.”

Solution: If you’ve got more than a day’s worth of stubble, a once-over with Gillette’s Proglide beard trimmer (£21, keeps the razor nick-free.

Can I get decent results with an electric shaver?

Answer: “Yes, although it won't be as close,” says Cannon. “Wet shaving is best for most, but electric razors are good if your beard hairs don’t all grow in the same direction, so you won’t end up shaving against the grain."

Solution: With four blades offering 40,000 cutting motions per minute, Braun’s Series 9 shaver (£199, offers a skin-tight shave without the burn.

I get a closer shave going against the grain. Is it worth it?

Answer: Be warned: smoothness comes at a price. “It’s more likely to cause you irritation and ingrown hairs,” says Cannon. Instead start with the grain, then finish across it, for a close shave without the risk.

Solution: A cut-throat blade provides the smoothest skin, but a double-edged safety razor, like Edwin Jagger’s Sheffield steel version (£34, is a less artery-risking option.

How should I prepare my face?

Answer: Don’t just dive in with the razor. “You need to remove pollutants and dead skin, and loosen the hair,” says Cannon. “A good scrub prepares your stubble, so you’re shaving right down to the base of the hair shaft.”

Solution: Ruffians Daily Facial Scrub (£9.95, exfoliates your skin and softens stubble hair, but is gentle enough to use every day.

How can I prevent razor burn?

Answer: Wash as above, then shave with hot water to keep bristles soft. “Always use a sharp razor and clean it between strokes,” says Cannon. Dash on cold water afterwards to close your pores and dab dry, rather than rubbing.

Solution: Apply a post-shave moisturiser, like Bulldog’s Sensitive Aftershave Balm (£5,, but be gentle. The less you touch your skin, the better.

Is shaving cream better than foam?

Answer: “Shaving foams attempt to replicate the effect of a shaving cream whipped with a brush,” says Cannon. “But they’re not as good as the real thing.” Going old-school means softer bristles for a closer, less skin-irritating shave.

Solution: Turn your stubble baby soft by preparing it with Man Made London beard oil (£27,, which also keeps your skin lubricated for a smoother razor glide.