So you’ve got yourself a killer razor and a jar of premium shaving cream. And you’re wondering, why does my shaving experience still suck? So glad you asked. One of the biggest keys to a pleasant, effective shave is neither your blade nor your foam. It’s the stuff you put on — or don’t — before steel hits skin that makes or breaks the quality of your shave.
That’s right: it’s the often-mentioned, little-used pre-shave balm. You apply the stuff beneath your actual shaving cream as a sort-of first line of defense for your skin. It softens the hair, moisturizes your face, and forms a barrier between you and your razor that helps avoid the nasty effects of razor burn.
It’s a critical part of the shaving process, and the reason why legendary Italian shaving company Proraso created its Crema Pre Barba, or Pre Shave Cream ($16 at Jet). Part of the White Label collection for sensitive skin, this product caters to men who find their face easily irritated and prone to razor burn. The cream is formulated with oatmeal extract and green tea — the first to protect and soothe, the second to nourish raw skin with antioxidants that fight acne and help produce healthier facial hair.
The cream is designed with a subtly citrus scent, but the real reason you’ll love it is that it does exactly what it’s supposed to: softens your whiskers and facilitates an easy gliding action that helps prevent micro-cuts.
To use, apply in a circular motion to your damp face. Do not rinse. Apply shaving cream. Shave. Revel in the lack of sting.