When it comes to maintaining a handsome mug, moods have shifted in the past decade making all manner of facial hair acceptable.
From cheeks as smooth as a baby's butt to a full-blown luxuriant lumberjack beard, and everything in between (though the Craig David is probably a bit passé if we're honest), there are myriad options for a bloke to step out in style with a fresh face—hair or not.
But as long as man has been shaving his face, so has he been making many mistakes. And though we've advanced the process from finding a sharp rock by the river and hoping for the best, to razors with 16 blades, moisture-strips, fancy oils and balms, there are still plenty of things to get wrong about shaving your face.
And on that topic, the advice offered here is generally concerned with your face: if a chrome dome look is what you're after then check out this story about how to shave your head.
So, what are the most common shaving mistakes? And how should you best avoid them when you're trying to get the fuzz from your chin?
Start with hot water
So it probably goes without saying that running your razor under hot water is a smart idea before you go in to slice some stubble, but it's also imperative to apply the stuff to your face first, too.
Hot water open up your pores, softens short hairs, and feels infinitely better than cold water ever could. A few splashes before you take the razor to your face is good, but dousing a small towel in hot water, ringing it out and holding it against your face is even better (if you're lucky enough to have had this done at the barber, you already know).
It's also why shaving after you've showered, not before, is a very good idea—your face will be more ready and it'll be easier, too.
Lube up properly
There is much discourse about the merits of shaving with cream vs oil vs gel vs soap vs whatever your mum or girlfriend bought you for Christmas.
The truth is, there's no right or wrong answer, only what works for you.
What is important to note is that a lot of mainstream (read: the ones you buy at Woolies) shaving creams contain stuff that is politely described as "less than natural", and can cause irritation on some kinds of skin.
They can also leave a build-up of chemicals and residue on your skin, which can be very bad for pores that are more likely to clog up and cause acne.
That said, whatever you choose to use on your face, remember to use it liberally and use it well: your razor can't do its job if you don't lay down the groundwork first.
Don't use old blades
Can't believe we're saying this, but when you look at the price of most razors on the market today, it's easy to understand why blokes let them get a little long in the tooth before replacing them: doing so is fucking expensive.
But this is a very important point about shaving: the most important factor is a very sharp blade: no matter how expensive it is.
It's why some men prefer to use disposable razors: they're crap after one shave, but they're sharp AF for that one shave too.
It's also why heaps of men are choosing something a little more traditional over the modern multi-blade offerings at the supermarket: the classic safety razor.
If you're not familiar with a safety razor, chances are your grandpa is. The old-timey ones you unscrew to gingerly place a single piece of very thin metal in and put back together?
Safety razors are not only cheap to maintain (fresh razorblades are easily available online at a fraction of what your local chemist stocks), they're excellent to use, and anybody who sees one hanging in your bathroom is going to think: "Wow, this guy's got some real early-Bond vibes happening, minus the misogyny—cool!"
Go with the grain
Again, seems obvious but it probably has to be said: don't shave against the grain.
It might feel like it's giving you a closer shave, but the extra molecules of hair you'll be able to remove will only lead to serious irritation. Not to mention that while hair follicles are not only sensitive to irritation, they're also little gateways to your skin that can become infected if not treated properly.
As such, always draw your razor across your face in the same direction the hair grown, and your face will thank you.
Less aftershave, more moisturiser
Aftershave is one of those things that probably feels cool to use because you've seen Mad Men and that's the sort of thing Don Draper would be all about—we get it.
It also feels cool because, quite literally, a splash of ethanol infused with things like mint and bay leaves is, in fact, quite cooling on freshly shaved skin.
But using too much of it can also come at a cost: it dries your skin out something savage.
This is why aftershave, refreshing though it may be, should always be followed by a dab of moisturiser.
The options are many and varied, and what works for Tom might make Dick's face greasy and Harry's face breakout in acne. What we recommend is something with a low SPF range (SPF15+ is enough). The Australian sun is harsh, and skin cancer is one of those things that is medically classified as: "A real bad time".
A moisturiser that offers some protection from the sun's UV rays is a very good idea, and making it as much a part of your daily shaving ritual as, well, shaving, will serve you well—hopefully for decades.
Shaving your face can either be a chore or an art form, depending on how you look at it, and as anybody who does it on the reg already knows: it's harder than it looks.
But making sure you're doing it well has far more benefits than simply feeling fresh when you leave the house each day, and with a little extra care and attention to detail, you can ensure that you are giving your skin the best chance at keeping you looking handsome today, and for many moons to come.