At Truman’s we do hundreds of straight-razor shaves each month, and I am always amazed at the reaction of our clients after receiving one of our shaves. A client’s typical reaction is a simple wow while repetitively touching his face and asking “how do you get so close without tearing up my skin?”. Nothing matches the shave you receive from a highly skilled Truman’s barber. There are two reasons Truman’s is consistently ranked as the best shave in NYC. The first is the intense level of training our barbers consistently receive, and the second is the years we have spent developing the ultimate shave regimen that lays the foundation for a great shave. Not everyone with a straight razor automatically gives a great shave trust me, after years of trying out our competitors and a few blood transfusions later, I know. However, I will let you in on a little secret it doesn’t take thousands of hours training with a straight razor to give yourself the perfect shave. In fact almost any person can give himself or herself an amazing shave at home with a regular razor by using some of Truman’s basic shave principals.
The key to a great and close shave is a consistent shave and skin care regimen combined with simple shaving techniques. At Truman’s our shave is a forty-five minute “luxury experience” that is broken down into three distinct relaxing sections. Each section has a very specific purpose to ensure the best shave possible. We have tested multitude processes over the years to create this simple but effective approach, and although most people don’t have 45 minutes to spend on shaving the Truman’s regimen can be condensed and used at home to help you get the ultimate shave daily. The three sections of the Truman’s shave are The Prep, The Shave, and The Protection. Below I will describe how each section is performed during the Truman’s shave experience and how it can be adapted for an at home shave.
The first and possibly the most important step in a great shave is The Prep. At Truman’s the prep makes up 40-50% of the shave experience. There two parts of the body we are preparing during The Prep and they are the skin and the hair. Hair is made mostly out of a protein called keratin and the majority of our hair is dead. The only living part of the human hair is the hair bulb and that is anchored to the skin at the base of our hair follicles. Each man has 5000-7000 hair follicles on his face. The Prep focuses on preparing the skin around the follicles and the hair growing out of the follicles. The Truman’s Shave starts with a warm, moist towel placed over a clients face. We let that sit for 2-3 minutes. This starts the process of softening the hair, opening up the follicles and moisturizing the skin.
The next step is washing the face with our Truman’s Facial Scrub. This cleans the face of excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells that can interfere with the glide of the blade and lead to acne or ingrown hairs and at the same time it raises and continues to soften the hair.
We developed Truman’s Facial Scrub specifically for our shave routine. It includes sunflower oil to nourish and restore skin as well as eucalyptus oil for long-term hydration. Most importantly we use a natural wax exfoliate that is strong enough to remove dead skin, but is gentle enough for daily use. Scrubs that use almond shells or other types of rough exfoliate can irritate your skin and aren’t made for regular use, so they aren’t great for the person who has to shave regularly, so choosing the correct scrub for regular prep is key. We apply our scrub in a circular motion throughout the face, because contrary to what most people think facial hair grows in multiple directions throughout your face so this motion is the best to raise your hair while washing the face. We then rinse the scrub off again using a warm towel.
The next step of the prep is our first application of Truman’s Shave Cream. Our barbers based on their experience shaving our clients built our shave cream, which uses Macadamia and Safflower oils for softening, glide and protection and seaweed extract as a natural anti-inflammatory. When choosing a shave cream you want to avoid creams or foams that have ingredients that will dry the skin such as alcohol. At Truman’s we seep the shave cream under a warm towel to really let it do its job and then apply a second application of shave cream to start the shave. This may seem like a lot of steps to prepare for a shave, but as I said before The Prep is probably the most important part of a good shave.
Home Version: Typically Truman’s recommends that you start with a hot shower to soften the hair and moisten the skin followed by washing your face with Truman’s Facial Scrub and warm water using circular motions to raise your hair. If you have time add a warm towel post face wash. Then apply Truman’s Shave Cream to face again using a circular motion during application. If you are in a rush wash face with warm water in sink and then apply shave cream.
The Shave is the next step in Truman’s shave experience. There are a lot of misconceptions about the proper shaving technique such as you are only suppose to shave with the grain, or you are suppose to use quick short strokes or long slow strokes. At Truman’s our expert barbers will tell you that the key to a good have is a sharp blade, even pressure and a smooth stroke. Facial, actually all hair, grows in multiple different directions, so there isn’t a true grain to follow. So it is more important to focus on pressure, glide and smoothness of stroke than actual direction. At Truman’s we typically start at one sideburn and then work our away across the face to the other sideburn, and use light to medium pressure during our shave stroke. The prep should have raised your so you do not need hard pressure, which can cause ingrown hairs and irritation, if you feel like you need hard pressure it might that your blade needs to be changed. Truman’s barbers save the neck and chin for last, because this is where most men have issues with irritation, acne or ingrown hairs. By saving this area for last you allow the shave cream more time to moisturize the skin and soften the hair. At Truman’s we will make a second pass on certain areas of the face if our barber feels like he can improve upon the shave, but it isn’t necessary and remember that Truman’s barbers are experts and the more often you shave an area the greater the chance of causing irritation.
Home Version: After you have completed The Prep, apply shave cream in circular motions evenly over your entire face. Using a sharp blade start shaving at one sideburn and make even strokes with light to medium pressure in the direction you are most comfortable shaving. Work your way across the face saving your neck and chin for last in order to allow the shave cream extra time to soften those areas. Make a second pass only on areas that were missed to limit irritation and ingrown hairs.
The final step of the Truman’s Shave experience is The Protection. No matter how much care we take in prepping the face and shaving the face, shaving by its very nature can be rough on your skin. The final step is all about minimizing the damage done to the skin while enhancing the smoothness of the shave. At Truman’s we start by covering the face with a towel that has been soaked in ice water for 1 -2 minutes. This serves two purposes. The first is it immediately reduces any inflammation and or irritation caused during the shave, and the second is that it closes up your pores and hair follicles that we opened up during the prep with the warm towels. This literally pulls the edges of any hair back into the depth of the follicle increasing the smoothness of the shave. Then after patting the face dry we use apply about a nickel size dollop of Truman’s Aftershave Balm in circular motions to moisturizer and sooth the skin. Again after years of testing, we developed Truman’s Aftershave Balm with shea butter to reinforce and heal the skin’s natural protective barrier and coconut oil for natural hydration. This completes the shave and leaves the skin feeling clean, moist and smooth.
Home Version: After shaving splash face with cold tap water or if you have time soak with cold towel to reduce irritation and close pores. Pat your face dry with towel and apply nickel size dollop of Truman’s Aftershave to protect and moisten the skin.
Anyone can become an expert at shaving and even people with the most sensitive skin can achieve a close shave if they use the proper technique combined with a sharp blade and quality shave products. At Truman’s we have spent years perfecting the shave and believe that the Truman’s Shave is a luxury experience that everyone should enjoy at least once and if you can’t make it into Truman’s to see one of our expert barbers, you can bring the Truman’s experience home with you by using our shave regimen and Truman’s shave products.