#1
To Pre shave or not to pre shave that is the question, or maybe not a question at all, maybe you just don't know where to start. All those different types of pre shaves and multiple conflicting reviews on if they work or don't work can make choosing a pre shave very difficult. The only way to find out what you like is by trying it for yourself. Maybe this will help!

Pre shaving has been around for centuries, barbers back in the day would always wrap your face up in a towel, add some oil or both. With experiment at a peek we are in an age of a number of different pre shaves. You should not be shocked to know that we all usually have some form of pre shave routine. It's very rare that you will put your lather on to your face without a little splash of water or showering - this is pre shaving isn't it?!

Many wet shavers tend to fall into three categories when it comes to properly pre shaving. First up are those that say it doesn't work or it just doesn't float their boat. Second, are those that use pre shave because they like that step in the shave, pampering themselves but are not sure if it really does much for them. Third, people like me who think they really work.

So what types of pre shaves are out there and do they work. I have offered a suggestion at the end of each one for you to look into if your interested.

Hot towel - The hot towel is probably the oldest form of pre shave and I know many people do this and enjoy it. Originating from the barber shop the hot towel is there to replace the shower many of us now have before shaving. Obviously you didn't shower at the barbers back in the early 1900's. The benefits are that it opens the pores, the moisture softens the bristles and helps the hair to stand up read to be cut. Not used these days as much because as previously said we shower before shaving - most of the time. I also don't find sitting on the loo with my head back as comfortable as relaxing in a barbers chair!

Tip: Do not make it to hot otherwise it will irritate your skin before you start.

Recommendation: I hope you all have a towel or flannel you can use.

Oils - Probably the second oldest pre shave but I may be wrong. Built to soften the bristles and protect the skin. Oils have the most conflicting reviews of all. Often criticised for clogging razors and being messy but also raved about for improving post shave feel. I personally use oils a lot and they work for me but for many they may not. I have read the odd review from men who have made their own and how using homemade versions gives them a choice of variants, the main ones being viscosity and scent. Be aware oils are to be used on damp faces not dry.

Tip: You skin must be wet first, then use no more than 5 drops, any more will be fatal. Then splash your face again before you lather to get rid of any excess oil.

Recommendation: Maggards Pre Shave Oil, made with home ingredients and a great choice of scents. Executive Shaving have a very good water based oil too.

Gels: Not spoken about very often, there isn't a great deal of them and I never hear great reviews. Meant to do the same as every other pre shave, soften the bristles and protect the face but I have heard they are average at both of those things. The ones I have used have been mediocre at best but as I have said before this may work very well for some people. Have you heard of Geo Trumper Skin Food? I use it as a post shave but it can be used as a pre shave, it would probably fall into this category.

Tip: Make sure you have a damp face and thoroughly massage it in.

Recommendation: Geo F Trumper Skin Food or RazoRock Pre Barba.

Glycerin soaps: A good one to start with, easy to use and effective. I started my pre shave journey with these. The original RazoRock lime bar was outstanding unfortunately they don't make that any more, they do have a new one which I haven't tried. Glycerin is in nearly every soap and this is one of those pre shaves that may improve glide slightly. However this pre shave will not protect as well as most.

Tip: Wet your face then coat your face heavily. There is no need to rinse, lather straight on top then add water.

Recommendation: Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements has a few and I have heard good things about Occams Lime Bar.

Creams: Proraso, Noxzema and 3P all creams with good reputations and I would say Proraso is the most talked about of all of them. I have heard people say you can use these as moisturises and post shaves but I am never 100% sure on that because I don't think they have great moisturising properties. They all do a great job prepping and protecting the face. Lots of modern day barbers use these, there must be a reason for that?!

Tip: You must have a wet face when using these or your face will dry up, rinse off any excess.

Recommendation: You can't beat Proraso, did you know you can now get the Proraso Red scent as a pre shave?

Butters: The new boy on the block, only made by one company so far. Mickey Lee SoapWorks released their Pre Shave Butter recently and it has the pros of all of these other pre shaves put together and an answer to all their cons! This bad boy protects, prepares, moisturises and has a scent you can eat. Made up of a range of oils that harden to what looks like a cream but brakes down into an oil that you apply to the face. Currently comes in five scents but hopefully there is more to come. My pick of the bunch.

Tip: Wet face the face, apply and rinse but most of the oils used in this can be found in soaps so leaving it on will not effect the lather.

Recommendation: Of course Mickey Lee, but I specifically recommend the Lime, my girlfriend actually tried to eat some!

Remember a common misconception with pre shaves is that they should improve the slickness and glide. This is wrong they are made to prepare and protect the face for the brutal attack that is about to come. If you bear this in mind then you might notice how valuable pre shaves can be.

I hope some of you may read this and try something new or try it again. All in all its down to you as an individual. If you feel you want some more tips then message me.

This may just be the difference between a good shave and a great shave.

Walter, kwsher, hawns and 1 others like this post
Oli AKA Windsor Citrus
Surrey, UK.
#2
My experience :

  • Hot towels: Pleasant but doesn’t improve my shaves. The heat tends to make my skin prone to irritations.
  • Oils: Messy. Clogs and sullies my razor. No advantage.
  • Gels: I don’t know. I have no experiences with gels.
  • Glycerin soaps: Neither good nor bad. For me, those soaps amount to a superfluous step.
  • Creams: Happy2 No spectacular improvement. That said, they work.
  • Butters:  Happy2Happy2Happy2 Major improvement. Some make my hair a lot easier to cut and my skin a lot more resistant. All my best shaves were done with this type of pre-shave.

Of course, every shaver doesn’t have the same skin type and beard type. Your experience will differ from mine in some fashion.

Hobbyist and WindsorCitrus like this post
#3
Thanks Walter, it is very much down to personal preference as you said but I think many people will find butters the most effective. The moisturising properties in them are huge which is always going to be beneficial. I think the big reason that pre shaves don't work so well for a lot of people is that they have the wrong ideas about what it's meant to be doing. For instance I see a lot of reviews saying that pre shaves haven't added and slickness or glide but they aren't designed with this in mind. They are there to protect the skin and moisturse.

I really do recommend Mickey Lee Pre Shave Butters as a great product to try. They currently have it in five scents of Lime, Unscented, Lavender, Sandalwood and Peppermint. I would like to see them do a slightly sweeter one like Plum or Peach and maybe and Orange one too but that's my personal preference.
Oli AKA Windsor Citrus
Surrey, UK.
#4

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
I use pre-shave oil to great effect. I only use 3-4 drops on a damp face. The coating is very thin but adds a bit of protective care and glide to my shave. I have never had a problem with it gumming up my razor. I have tried shaving oils (not pre-shave oil) to actually shave with, as opposed to a soap or cream, and those are dreadful, at least for me.

WindsorCitrus likes this post
#5

Super Moderator
(01-24-2016, 01:45 PM)Walter Wrote: My experience :

  • Hot towels: Pleasant but doesn’t improve my shaves. The heat tends to make my skin prone to irritations.
  • Oils: Messy. Clogs and sullies my razor. No advantage.
  • Gels: I don’t know. I have no experiences with gels.
  • Glycerin soaps: Neither good nor bad. For me, those soaps amount to a superfluous step.
  • Creams: Happy2 No spectacular improvement. That said, they work.
  • Butters:  Happy2Happy2Happy2 Major improvement. Some make my hair a lot easier to cut and my skin a lot more resistant. All my best shaves were done with this type of pre-shave.

Of course, every shaver doesn’t have the same skin type and beard type. Your experience will differ from mine in some fashion.

Walter I've not heard of pre-shave butters, can you name a few brands that you've had success with?
Thanks,
Mark
#6

Merchant
South Saint Louis, MO
This is a really great, thoughtful write up. Great work!

At the risk of sounding like a self-promoting shill, there are other pre-shave butters out there. Ours is not exactly an apples to apples comparison with the outstanding MLS butter, however.

WindsorCitrus, andrewjs18 and Marko like this post
Handcrafted shaving provisions in the spirit of South Saint Louis at ChatillonLux.com
#7
(01-24-2016, 06:01 PM)Marko Wrote: Walter I've not heard of pre-shave butters, can you name a few brands that you've had success with?
Thanks,
Mark

Mickey Lee SoapWorks is the most obvious choice. Not all butters are sold under that appellation. For instance, I had very successful shaves with a product made by Real Shaving Co. sold as a "Daily Facial Scrub". It could pass for a "mud mask" that one applies, let dry and rinses off before shaving. Its composition is very similar to Mickey Lee SoapWorks pre shaves. If I remember well, it contained cocoa butter, glycerine, sweet almond oil, etc. and also several clays, notably bentonite.

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#8

Administrator
Philadelphia, PA
(This post was last modified: 01-25-2016, 10:17 AM by andrewjs18.)
the preshave butter sounds interesting....and got me looking online to see if there's any homemade whipped shaving creams that I might be able to tweak to use it as a 'butter'. this one might be worth a try: http://www.littlehouseliving.com/easy-ho...cream.html or this: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2013...g-gel.html

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Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.
#9
The Real Shaving Co Daily Face Scrub is very good, I fact I use it in the shower before every shave followed by a pre shave such as Mickey Lee. It has some very good ingredients in it as Walter describes.

Walter likes this post
Oli AKA Windsor Citrus
Surrey, UK.
#10

Member
Austin, TX
Although I don't use a pre-shave other than hot water and occasionally soap bloom water, this is a great, informative thread that definitely has me curious about alternatives.

Thanks all!

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Kevin


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