Unless you embrace the full-lumberjack, you probably shave at least a few times a week—if not every morning. And while the fundamentals remain unchanged, getting a perfect shave has (thankfully) evolved beyond that day your dad handed you a disposable razor and a can of foam. That’s why we checked in with the shaving experts at Harry’s, and their in-house barber Alex Rodriguez, to find out the right way to look smooth.

Step 1: prepare yourself
“Always prep your face with warm water or steam—like in the shower—to open up your pores and soften the facial hair. This makes it easier for the blade to do its job, and it minimizes any skin irritation. Also, never shave without protecting your skin with a shave cream or gel.”

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Step 2: get the right equipment
“Get a five-blade razor, like Harry’s, but remember to switch out your blades when you begin to feel it tug against your facial hair to ensure a close, clean shave every time.”
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Step 3: go both ways
“Your first pass with the razor should be with the grain of your facial hair to avoid that tugging feeling and to avoid irritation. For the second pass, with less hair and dead skin cells in the way to create resistance for your razor, you don’t have to worry as much about the direction or the risk of irritation.

Again, regardless of the pass or the direction, if you’re pulling a sharp blade across your skin, it needs to be protected either with a shave cream or shave gel.”
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Step 4: seal the deal
“Use cold water to help close the pores and put some post-shave balm on afterwards. You’ll definitely want to moisturize after shaving too because shaving removes a layer of dead skin and moisturizing will help repair it.”
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