Barber shaves vary greatly, so look at reviews before going to a shop.
Wear open-collared shirts, as room is needed for the hot towel and your neck will get wet down to the collarbone.
Be on time because the barber will need the full 30 minutes scheduled.
Don’t be embarrassed if you fall asleep—that’s a GOOD thing.
Premium products make all the difference (Vidotto recommends Hydrolast).
Soap and paste are applied; one round of shaving occurs; finishing balm is applied; another round of shaving follows; tonic and conditioner finish off the experience.
Barbershops charge a very reasonable rate for a shave, and tipping is widely accepted (most guys give at least 20 percent, and quite a few will do as much as 50 percent due to the spa-like nature of a good shave experience).
A straight razor shave may last longer than what you can do at home, but this really depends on the individual. If you schedule a barber shave in the morning, you’ll still look (and feel) awesome in the evening. In fact, it’s a popular outing for wedding parties—the groomsmen arrange for a special group appointment on the weekend and get pampered before the big event.
Interested in trying your own straight razor shave? There’s a learning curve and you’ll need some help with everything from equipment to technique. Visit straightrazorplace.com for a wealth of written instruction plus a video tutorial, complete with close-ups. If you would like help with equipment (and that includes the straight as well as double-edged razor), technique, and products, there is no better place to go than Austin’s own Enchante, located in the One American Center (600 Congress Avenue). Owner Charles Roberts is a legend in the shaving field, having created the patented Roberts Method of Wet Shaving (RMWS). Roberts is passionate about the art of the good shave and many an aficionado has made a pilgrimage to Austin to learn from his expertise. The shaving forms on his website (www.enchanteonline.com/pages/faqs/cuttingforms.pdf) show directional patterns; his products, such as his new shave cloth made from agave fiber, optimize the closeness of the shave by properly hydrating; and his premium products (the Hydrolast line, shown below) can leave the skin feeling like “crushed velvet.” If you go into the shop, Roberts will actually teach processes as well as introduce the various necessary items. A special date night activity: shave your lady’s legs. Roberts emphasizes that shaving is a very sensuous experience: It is, of course, all about the touch.