Let's Talk Pre-Shave Oil

Most people who are new to wet-shaving have never heard of pre-shave oil.  In fact, when I rediscovered wet shaving in 2014- I was somewhat reluctant to try pre-shave oil.  Would it cause my skin to break out?  Isn't it greasy?  What does it really do anyway?

If you visit a traditional barbershop, quite a few barbers will use a pre-shave oil.  Some have their own proprietary recipes, while others trust a well known brand.  So what exactly is a pre-shave oil and what are the benefits? 

Pre-shave oil refers to any oil that is applied to the skin prior to lathering up for a shave. These oils are designed to help soften the facial hair. The benefits of pre-shave oil have been debated over the years. Those who use pre-shave oil (like myself) believe that they are an integral part of the shave routine and significantly improve the quality of the shave.

Naysayers often claim that quality soaps and creams eliminate the need for pre-shave oils.

Ultimately, the choice is yours.

I strongly encourage people who are new to wet shaving to use pre-shave oil as part of their routine to minimize cuts and irritation. Another advantage of using a pre-shave oil, is that it allows you to learn the way your facial hair grows and its pattern, thus establishing if you're in fact shaving with or against the grain.  

While we're likely to think that these oils lubricate the skin, this technically is not true. Good pre-shave oils penetrate the skin. Pre-shave oils work to reduce small cuts and irritation by increasing the skin's suppleness and flexibility. Dry skin is more prone to cts and irritation versus moisturized skin.

A pre-shave oil that penetrates the skin holds water in the skin, and therefore the skin is better moisturized. When a blade "drags" across moisturized skin, the skin "gives" to the blade and will bend or conform to the shape of the blade before it will be cut by the blade. The opposite is true for dry skin, the blade will cut or irritate the skin. 

Therefore, pre-shave oils do more to moisturize the skin rather than lubricate the skin. People who use pre-shave oils will notice a decrease in nicks and irritation.
The best pre-shave oils are those that actually penetrate the skin instead of oils that merely coat the skin. Oils that do not penetrate the skin would simply act to lubricate, so the blade slides easier across the surface but would do nothing to deliver a close shave or reduce cuts. Furthermore, these types of oils can "clog" the space between the razor and blade and you end up with an inefficient shave because the blade rides on top of the oil. Look for pre shave oils that are not too thick. Essential oil blends often have great antiseptic properties and other healing properties that can moisturize and tone the skin.
Despite the effectiveness of pre-shave oils, it's still very important to begin with a wet face using warm water. We call it wet shaving for a reason!
  1. Use warm water to wet the face and beard;
  2. Apply oil to the skin;
  3. Allow a couple of minutes to let the oil penetrate;
  4. Lather with shave soap or cream;
  5. Shave;
  6. Consider adding a small drop of oil after the shave to heal and moisturize the skin.

If you'd like to try our North of Fifty pre-shave oil, simply click here .  We also have other pre-shave oils from eShave.

And yes, women can use pre-shave oils too!

Enjoy 10% off your Pre-Shave Oil purchase with discount code PRESHAVE2017 

Shave On!


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