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How to wet the face properly?

Thoughts and input on anything related to wet shaving or men's grooming.

How to wet the face properly?

Postby bigDee » Sat Jul 22, 2006 11:22 am

When I use my hands to wet my face with water it ends up messy, with water everywhere especially because the water drips from my hands and rolls down my arms then drips off of my elbows. Maybe I am using too much water? How do they wet the face at the barbershop without making a mess, and how wet does their face actually get? I'd imagine it'd be more moist than dripping wet yes?
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Postby bernards66 » Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:01 pm

Dee, The old technique in British barbershops was to us a spongue to wet down the customer's whiskers. The hot towel technique probably came from southern Europe originally. The towels were steamed in a special steamer device. They would come out very hot, and slightly damp, and these were placed on the patrons face. Today, in the US, most places cheat. They simply soak down a towel in hot water, wring it out, and onto the face it goes. Personally, like you, I just thoroughly wet my face with warm water by splashing it on, prior to lathering. I dry off my hands and chest, and this also gives the water a few moments to soak in. I then just commence my lathering process. I am not a fan of complicated pre-shave routines. A simple splashing of warm water has always worked best for me.
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Last edited by bernards66 on Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby notthesharpest » Sat Jul 22, 2006 3:13 pm

Dripping wet is probably not helpful. The point is to get your beard to act like a sponge as much as possible, because waterlogged hairs are softer and easier to cut. If you have just had a humid bath or shower, that makes it easy.
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Re: How to wet the face properly?

Postby MindSpin » Sat Jul 22, 2006 4:53 pm

bigDee wrote:When I use my hands to wet my face with water it ends up messy, with water everywhere especially because the water drips from my hands and rolls down my arms then drips off of my elbows. Maybe I am using too much water? How do they wet the face at the barbershop without making a mess, and how wet does their face actually get? I'd imagine it'd be more moist than dripping wet yes?

Take a shower, don't dry off your face. It's a good start to getting your face wet. After that a sink full of hot water, a couple gentle splashes, or even use the brush to lightly coat your face. Away you go.
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Postby javyn » Sat Jul 22, 2006 5:29 pm

I stick my head in the toilet
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Postby notthesharpest » Sat Jul 22, 2006 5:37 pm

John - that will only work if you do it for quite a long time. Now go try it. :lol:
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Postby Laney1566 » Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:32 am

John,
What size brush will it hold? :wink:
A plummed Scuttle. Self cleaning even! But I bet it will stain the brush blue :lol:
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Postby Gillette1904 » Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:48 am

notthesharpest wrote:Dripping wet is probably not helpful. The point is to get your beard to act like a sponge as much as possible, because waterlogged hairs are softer and easier to cut. If you have just had a humid bath or shower, that makes it easy.


That's the current prevailing wisdom - decades ago it was different.

Colgate's shaving cream ads from the 1930s advise the reader that their whiskers - unlike the hair on top of their heads, apparently - are coated with a substance that makes them as waterproof as a duck's feathers, and that no amount of pre-shave soaking was going to help because, without a soap to break down the beard's natural oil, the whisker could not absorb the water at all.

Most shaving advice in that day and before seems to concentrate on working the lather in with a brush for a comparitively long time. Gillette blade ads used to recommend a minimum of three minutes' worth of lathering. And the actual blade on the old Wade & Butcher straight razors was emblazoned with the legend "You lather well, and I'll shave well".
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Postby notthesharpest » Sun Jul 23, 2006 8:39 am

I wonder which is closer to correct? I honestly don't know, and have just gone along with the prevailing wisdom.
Plus I've never tried to shave a duck. :D
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Postby drmoss_ca » Sun Jul 23, 2006 8:58 am

Sebum is the culprit, and that's why I have always suggested you wash with soap prior to soaking in hot water. This is true for everyone: sodden wet hair is easier to cut. This is true for some: there are those among us whose faces don't take well to the razor and they may find that soap removes the sebum for the skin and leaves it more vulnerable to burn. So find out which is best for you and stick with it.
As for the strange Texan ritual of sticking one's head down the toilet and flushing, I can sympathise, but it won't work.

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Postby Stan-The-Man » Sun Jul 23, 2006 3:57 pm

I don't wash my face prior to shaving with soap and water.

This is what I have been doing for years.

1. wet face with very warm water
2. leave wet
3. Apply NOXZEMA ORIGINAL (in the blue plastic jar)
4. rub into face for about one minute
5. rince off with with very warm to hot water, leave wet

Lather your face and shave. The Noxzema is water base and I think it does a better job than soap and water to prep the skin and beard prior to shaving.

The price is low so I think it is worth a try.
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Postby rahul325 » Sun Jul 23, 2006 4:39 pm

this is what i do.

1. shower
2. i dont dry my face
3. wet face with hot water
4. apply Proraso Pre-shave cream
5. build lather in latte cup
6. and so on.......
Wet shaving is an expensive addiction :twisted:

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Postby styptic screams » Sun Jul 23, 2006 8:55 pm

javyn wrote:I stick my head in the toilet


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Postby Gatorade » Mon Jul 24, 2006 7:07 am

How about incorporating it into the brush process? I wash my face with soap in the shower, but my face is usually dry by the time I am ready to lather up. I haven't had much trouble but I tried an extra step to see if it worked. Just before I lathered the soap, I took the wet brush that had been soaking and ran it over my face. Then I rewet the brush, gave it a flick and lathered the soap, then my face. Worked pretty good. Something to keep in mind.
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Postby Cliff » Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:36 pm

javyn wrote:I stick my head in the toilet

Thought you looked a little flush.

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Postby EL Alamein » Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:33 pm

fwiw, I just wash my face in the shower ahead of time or if I am not showering I wash my face. I've perfected the technique of washing my face over the basin without making a mess. I don't scrub, I just gently rub my hands over my beard with soap then rinse. This always makes all the difference in the shave to me. Hope that helps.

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Postby bigDee » Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:46 pm

The brush is one idea. I think I'll try using a wet washcloth to damp my face for a min or two. I'll still stick to splashing a little water on my face. Matter of fact, I might just do all three. And of course, can't forget the proraso. That stuff is REALLY cool.
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Postby rafikz » Sat Jul 29, 2006 4:01 pm

When washing my face, I don't rub cleanser/soap over the beard area ; my facial hair is so tough, it hurts... is that bad?
I know most people believe that cleansing the beard is best for getting rid of oils, which is important for a better shave...Howevwe, my skin type is dry...what should I do?
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Postby EL Alamein » Sat Jul 29, 2006 7:16 pm

What hurts when you try to wash your face? Do your hands hurt from the stubble or does your face hurt from the rubbing? There could be implications if it is the latter.

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Postby rafikz » Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:46 pm

it is the latter
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