8 Steps to a Perfect Shave with Le Barbier d'Bourbon

One of the most common questions we get at le Barbier d’Bourbon is how to get an amazing barbershop shave at home. With the resurgence in the popularity of wet shaving and people asking “How do I Shave with a Safety Razor?” or just “How to Shave Properly” so we put together this recipe for the ultimate shave.  This guide to getting a luxurious, close shave will help you turn this simple part of a man’s daily routine to a relaxing bit of self-care while also helping reduce nicks, ingrown hairs, and skin irritation from improper shaving techniques.  

You Will Need:


Step 1 – Put your brush in a small mug or shaving bowl with enough hot water to submerge about the bottom third of the bristles, both softening the hairs and drawing in moisture. While your brush soaks, add a few drops of hot water the top of soft shaving soaps in their container, or on your shaving Puck in your shaving bowl.

Step 2 – Rinse your face with warm water, place a few drops of Slide Pre-Shave & Beard Oil to your palms and massage into your beard and areas you intend to shave. If using a fragrant oil, apply a small amount to a washcloth or hand towel now. Wet the washcloth or hand towel with water as hot as you can comfortably stand, wring it out and apply over beard and area you intend to shave until it cools.

Step 3 – Rinse and set aside towel. Remove shave brush from the mug, dump cooled water and gently squeeze excess moisture from the brush’s knot.  On your shaving soap, make small circular motions gathering soap into your brush until it starts to feel tacky.

WHIP produces and a dense, rich lather with a natural sandalwood scent.

WHIP produces and a dense, rich lather with a natural sandalwood scent.

Step 4 -  Add about a quarter teaspoon (1.25 mL) of hot water to a shaving bowl, if using a puck style shave soap, remove it and set it aside. With vigorous circular and horizontal strokes build a lather using your brush in your bowl, if necessary, add water, a few drops at a time. Wipe built up a lather on the inside rim of your bowl. Note: some shave bowls have textured interiors and ridge to help with this. You may also pull lather from your knot by forming an O with your thumb and forefinger and pulling up on the handle through this OK sign.

Step 5 – Wet your face again with hot water, then apply a thin coating of lather against the grain to roughly a quarter of your face, starting with one cheek. Shave gently with the grain, rinsing between strokes. If using a straight razor or Double Edge (DE) safety razor, you will be making a second pass later. After completing a section, wipe excess lather off with a hot, damp towel, lather the next area and continue. Never shave an area without adequate moisture and lather, and do not allow soap to dry on your skin.

Note: If shaving thick growth, you may need to dislodge hair from your razor by running your razor – in the direction it doesn’t shave – up your arm before rinsing.

Flickr: Andrew-Dyer

Flickr: Andrew-Dyer

Step 6 – For a closer shave, repeat Step 5 but pull the skin in the area you intend to shave taut by pulling or pushing on the un-lathered skin above or below it. You may need to add additional water to produce more lather.  Shaving against the grain will provide a closer shave, but increases the risk of ingrown hairs. Likewise, additional passes, or using a multi-blade cartridge razor increases the risk of razor burn and irritation.

SOOTHE - Aftershave and Face Lotion helps moisturize your skin and smells fantastic .

SOOTHE - Aftershave and Face Lotion helps moisturize your skin and smells fantastic .

Step 7 – After shaving wipe off all soap residue and hair with a hot washcloth or towel. Treat any nicks with a styptic pencil and, if using, wipe shaved area with an alum block. Massage a pea-sized dollop of Soothe Aftershave & Face Lotion to your entire face and Slide Pre-Shave & Beard Oil to remaining facial hair.

Step 8 – Pull as much lather as possible gently from your brush’s knot, rinse it well under hot water keeping it right side up. Keep water out of the handle, do not invert your brush in water or fully submerge it ever.  Once you can no longer form lather and water runs clear, hang your brush to dry. Thoroughly rinse your razor, douse with alcohol, dry and polish both the head and handle before putting it away. When properly cared for high-quality shaving equipment will last a lifetime.


PUCK - Sandalwood Shave Soap
Le Barbier d'Bourbon
Zachary Arnold