“Have you ever tried to mow the lawn on the surface of the moon?”
Probably the least helpful analogy I’ve ever heard about learning how to shave your head with a safety razor. And yet, it’s apt, as there doesn’t seem to be a lot of good advice out there. Fear not, however, I am here to help guide you through your journey to a super smooth, hydrodynamic head!
Besides practice, the key to a good shave is practice and quality products.
Patience, a proper shaving soap, preshave, a brand new razor blade, your favourite razor, a styptic pencil, a quality aftershave, and of course some confidence (but not too much) are all you need for a great head shave. It’s a good idea to start by building a bit of a map of the terrain in your mind. Try to identify any bumps, moles, horns, or what have you that might be an obstacle to your razor. I have a bit of a dent on top with a mole in it that is always the most challenging bit.
Once you’ve got a lay of the land, it's time to prep it. A warm damp towel feels excellent, and it will soften the hairs and give them a little body to meet the blade. Applying a preshave, I use the Kent of Inglewood Preshave gel, further moisturizes the hair and adds a layer of slickness that prevents irritation. A proper shaving cream comes next. I love to take the time to whip up a rich, creamy lather of Castle Forbes Lime with my badger brush, but more often than not, I’m in a rush, so I keep a tube of Schaf brushless cream in the shower for when I need it quick and easy. Whatever you use, get a nice creamy lather all over that beautiful noggin’.
Now, the blade you use is critical; you will want to try a variety of different brands before you settle on a winner. For me, it’s Feather blades, super sharp and super stiff. I may not have all the hair I used to up top, but what is there is thick and coarse, and it can destroy the edge on many softer blades. Once you’ve found the one that works best for you, it’s never a bad idea to stock up. I like to buy a sleeve at a time, so I always have a fresh blade when needed.
The time has come; steel meets skin, the moment of truth. Start slow. The sides of the head are pretty flat and smooth usually. That’s where I like to begin. Get a feel for the razor. You should be able to hear the hair coming off, almost a hushed velcro sound. I like to work in sections. You may have to reapply lather as you go, especially at first when you aren’t so quick. When it comes to doing the back of your head, some like to use the mirror, but I prefer to go by feel. The hand that isn’t holding the razor can lightly skim the area, searching for cream. I ensure I have removed all the lathered regions and then do another pass over with my other hand. You will get good at finding any spots you missed. If you’ve used preshave, you can usually just splash a little more water on the area for added lubrication and touch up any missed spots.
Take your time, and don't fear the razor!
Now that you've scraped it clean, it’s time to apologize to your head. Shaving is essentially dragging a knife across your skin. Not the nicest, so say you’re sorry with the right products. A styptic pen will help stop the occasional leak, while an alum block is excellent for when you are maybe too rough against the grain as it calms the more intense irritation. Be ready, they both can sting, and they’re good encouragement to be more careful. Applying an aftershave balm or splash is the final step. Something that will brace the skin and soothe any minor irritation while leaving you feeling fresh and clean. I prefer a rich balm during the dry winter months, whereas an alcohol splash keeps my head feeling dry and cool in the hot, humid summer.
A smooth, shaved head gives off a sense of power and confidence. Look at the greats: The Rock, Michael Jordan, Sigourney Weaver. Enjoy the process and own that ergonomic look; you are now built for speed! Happy head shaving.