What Is Shave Oil, And Should I Use It?
So You Came Across Shave Oil?
You chanced upon Shave oil?
So you’ve decided to change your morning routine, specifically, the way you shave. (We’re assuming that’s why you’re here.) Maybe you’ve taken the first steps and gotten yourself a quality safety razor. (If not, You Need A Safety Razor.) Maybe you’ve found a traditional shave soap to lather up with too. You’re about to crown yourself King of the Shave, but another product catches your eye while perusing the best shave club site on the internet. Shave oil. You ask yourself, “What is shave oil? And should I use it?”
We live in a world of mysteries, my friend, but we can help with this one. Shave oil is a lubrication aid designed to be used alongside your favorite shaving soap or cream. (By the way, if you don’t know The Difference Between Shave Soap and Shaving Cream, we can help with that too.) And, simply put, you absolutely should use it. Let’s take a closer look at just what is shave oil, and why we think it’s a must-have item on the quest for the perfect shave
What Is Shave Oil?
Shave oil serves a few purposes. First, by applying shave oil to your face and letting it soak in, you are ensuring that your whiskers are as soft and swollen as they can be. The oil will absorb into the hair, basically making it stand at attention, ready to be sliced away when you make a pass with your razor. Second, the layer of oil beneath a layer of shave soap adds an incredible amount of lubrication, which means your razor glides smoothly across your skin. More glide means less drag, and less drag means less irritation. Finally, shave oil makes the skin more supple. Basically, this means your skin is more flexible.
When you make a pass with your razor, supple skin will literally bend with the motion of the razor, which prevents those tiny little nicks and cuts on your face and neck. Obviously, we want to do whatever we can to prevent those from happening, which is why we recommend shave oil as a part of any shave routine.
How Does Shave Oil Work?
But how does it work? Well, shave oils contain either natural or synthetic lubricants and moisturizers. Don’t be fooled by the massive variety of shave oils on the shave aisle at the store: nearly all shave oils are made with the same ingredients! Typically, natural shaving oils will use a base of either castor oil or grapeseed oil, while almost all synthetic shave oils use mineral oil as their base. The variety at the store happens because shave oil manufacturers try to cram a bunch of fragrances into their products, but here’s the catch. Since shave oil goes on before you shave, it gets swiped away when you make a pass with your razor. There’s not going to be any of it left on your face when you finish shaving, especially after you rinse! So why all the fragrance? Well, we think the answer is simple: by adding in fragrances, these companies feel they can charge you more for their products. Any simple shave oil will provide the results you are looking for, so don’t let the massive selection stress you out.
The Shave Process Should Include Shave Oil
So, to recap what is shave oil? It’s a second layer of lubrication, applied before your shave soap or cream as a base. But how do you use shave oil effectively?
It’s pretty simple. We are just adding in a single step to our normal shaving routine. In case you are still figuring out your morning routine, here are the basics for a great shave:
- Start with a nice hot shower. Wash your face while you’re in there.
- Don’t overdry. Pat your face with a towel to remove the excess water.
- Apply shave oil. Wait 30 seconds to one minute for the oil to soak in to your skin and stubble.
- While you wait, build a nice lather with your shave soap or cream, then apply to the face.
If you’re not already following these other steps, then you’re doing your face a disservice. You always want to shower first, that way your face is as moist as it can be. Comfort is king when it comes to shaving, and these steps will ensure the closest, most comfortable shave that you can get. We’d also recommend finishing with a nice aftershave balm. That’s where the lasting fragrance comes in. Some shave oils will claim that you can simply apply the oil and shave, no cream needed, but we believe that the time saved by doing this isn’t worth the razor burn!
Also, while you certainly can use the shave oil/shaving soap combo with any cartridge razor, you may experience some issues with clogging. This is just one of the many reasons why we recommend making the switch to a traditional safety razor. Check out our articles Is The Safety Razor Making a Comeback and Safety Razor vs Cartridge Razor for more information.
The Obvious Conclusion
So, what is shave oil, and should you use it? Here’s the answer: when combined with a good shave soap and a quality safety razor, shave oil is the key to a great shave. And in case you can’t do the math, yes, you should use it!
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