Most seasoned wet shavers will tell you that proper face prep is key to a good clean shave. One of the best ways to soften up the beard and prepare the skin for shaving is by using a hot towel against the skin. Anyone who has been to a professional barber for a full hot towel shave will testify to this. Most barbers use specialised towel steamers but there is a way to create your own hot towel at home. It's a fairly simple procedure.
You will need the following items:
- Face towel
- Essential oil eg Ecalyptus, Sandalwood, Lavender (optional)
- Microwave oven
Wet your towel and wring it out. You can then scent the towel with a few drops of essential oil (a bit of Vick's Vaporub does the job if you don't have any essential oils). Put the towel in the microwave for two minutes on 'Very High' setting. The towel should come out steaming.
Please be sure to check the temperature of the towel before applying it your face. Towels straight out of the microwave can be VERY hot.
Wrap the towel around your face and let it sit for a minute or two. This will soften up the whiskers nicely. Some barbers apply a bit of pre shave balm, or lather to the face before applying the hot towel. You can experiment with this to find what method works best for your skin.
The round off the barbershop experience, you can also finish off the shave with a cold towel. Wet a towel, wring it out, put in a Ziploc bag, and then leave it in the fridge overnight. You can then apply this to your face after shaving.