Shave after a shower, when the steam has softened your whiskers and your skin is slick and frictionless. Start by massaging a nickel-size amount of pre-shave oil onto your beard for lubrication. The smoother your face, the less likely it is that your razor will drag and create burn.

3. Elemis Smooth Result Shave Oil ($34).
4. Anthony Logistics for Men Pre Shave Oil ($22).
5. Grooming Lounge Beard Master Shave Oil ($25).

"A brush helps to lift the hairs and prevent ingrowns," explains Martial Vivot, owner of the Martial Vivot Salon Pour Hommes in New York City. Make sure your cream or gel is rich in lubricating glycerin. Spread it in a circular pattern across your face for even lifting and distribution.

2. Jack Black Pure Performance Shave Brush ($85).
6. Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Shaving Cream ($22).
7. The Art of Shaving Power Shave Collection Badger Power Brush ($125).
8. Santa Maria Novella Shaving Foam ($28).
9. Eshu Shave Cream ($17).
14. Molton Brown Shaving Brush ($160).

Never shave against the grain on your first pass. It's the surest path to razor bumps and ingrown hairs. "If you go against the grain," Vivot says, "all you're doing is creating friction and discomfort." If you want to go closer, shave sideways—from left to right and back again—before finishing against the grain. You'll get the closest shave that way, but not all skin can handle it.

1. Grooming Lounge Chrome Razor & Stand ($175).
10. The Art of Shaving Power Shave Collection Power Razor ($175).

Rinse with cold water to close your pores, then rub on a dollop of moisturizing aftershave balm. The best ones have soothing ingredients like aloe vera, witch hazel, and tea-tree oil. Steer clear of those containing alcohol, which dries and tightens skin. A final trick: "Swirl your shaving brush in baby powder and massage it onto your face," Vivot says. "Your face will be as smooth as a baby's bottom."

11. Apivita Men's Care After Shave Balm ($35).
12. Baxter of California After Shave Balm ($18).
13. REN Multi-Tasking After Shave Balm ($45).


Even if you use a great electric razor like these, you need a little lubrication. Try an electric-shave solution from a brand like Lab Series Skincare for Men or Jack Black. It works similarly to pre-shave oil, creating a slick surface and lifting the hairs, but comes in a lighter formulation that won't clog your razor head.

From left: Philips Norelco PowerTouch With Aquatec ($89); Remington R8150 Pivot and Flex ($70); Braun Series 7 ($270).

Save time in the morning by combining two steps of your routine. Since you're in the shower, the steam has already softened your beard, so grab your razor and get to work. Just install a mirror so you can see what you're doing—we recommend the simple Shave Well Co. Fog Free Shaving Mirror. $10;

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