What Is It Like To Get A Barber Shave?

What Is It Like To Get A Barber Shave?

By Daniel Broadley

What Is It Like To Get A Barber Shave?

If you’ve never had a professional shave before, you’re in for a huge surprise. Most of what a barber does will be different from what you do at home. Every barber has his own technique, but many of the staples of the experience are the same.  You might want to pay close attention. It’s these differences that make a professional shave feel so much more luxurious than a home shave. 

When you book an appointment with a licensed barber, you might begin to rethink the way you’ve been handling your beard all these years. He knows some things you don’t. Let him teach you. 

Barber Shaves Are More Than a Luxury

On the surface, a barber shave experience feels more like a luxury spa experience. It might come across like an unnecessary aesthetic experience. While there is a certain degree of pampering that goes into a barber shave, it boasts plenty of benefits for the health of your skin. 

If you’re shaving improperly or using the wrong products, you might be doing unnecessary damage to your skin. Your barber can help to set things right. If you need a clean shave for an important event, like a wedding, you don’t want to risk making any mistakes.

Your barber knows exactly how to prepare and shave your skin to protect against cuts, razor burn, and ingrown hairs. When you need someone you can count on, go to an experienced barber. He’ll leave your skin in much better condition than he found it. 

Barbers Use Hot Lather

One of the biggest differences between the way most people shave at home and the way a barber shaves is the lather. The majority of barbers will use a hot lather on a cleansed face. He’ll use a warm towel or some kind of steam to help open up your pores and your hair shafts. Then, he’ll get to work with hot lather and a brush. 

Hot lather works substantially better than cold lather. When the lather is hot, it’s slightly expanding everything it touches. Your skin will plump up, and so will your hair. They’ll begin to absorb the moisturizing ingredients in the shaving cream, becoming softer to the touch.

The more moisturized, soft, and slick your skin and hair are, the less likely you are to experience razor burn. The razor will glide effortlessly across your skin, clearing the hair instead of dragging along your face. 

Barbers Use Different Blades

Barbers don’t use the cartridge razors you use at home. There’s a very good reason why. Your cartridge razor has anywhere between 3 and 5 blades that make up a single pass. If the first two blades got all the hair, every successive blade is only damaging your skin. It’s attempting to scrape away something that isn’t there, which can lead to cuts or irritation.

Your barber prefers to use a single blade. He can always make another pass if he sees a spot that could be closer or misses a few hairs. He doesn’t want to scrape a blade against your skin any more than necessary. He’ll go with the grain, against the grain, and across the grain, picking up all the hair without dragging over the same spots. 

In order to achieve this perfect single bladed shave, he’ll likely use a straight razor. Some barbers still use old school straight razors, which are a lot like knives. They have a single blade that can be sharpened and maintained for decades. He’ll sterilize it and sharpen it between each client. 

For the sake of convenience, he’ll probably use a shavette straight razor. Shavette straight razors have exactly the same shape and folding mechanism, but the blade is replaceable. After you, he can toss the blade out and clean the body of the razor. Maintenance is easy, and there’s never any concern about how sterile the blade is. There’s a new one every time.

Barbers Might Offer Skin Care Options

In addition to your shave, your barber might apply some post-shave treatments. A deeply nourishing aftershave balm is generally a part of the process, but it may not be the only thing your barber has to offer. If you have dry skin or acne, he may have products or treatments targeted to your skin.

Most people don’t realize that licensed barbers are almost the same as licensed cosmetologists. Your barber is licensed to perform facials, hair treatments, face and scalp massages, and even clay mask treatments. Many barbers offer these services at their practice. Even if you don’t see them clearly advertised, it never hurts to ask.

There’s a little bit of a stigma surrounding spa treatments and their perceived conflict with masculinity. The truth is, your skin is the largest organ of your body. It gets dirty. It comes into contact with bacteria. It’s constantly being damaged by the sun. It needs to be taken care of, just like you take care of your teeth. 

Getting a facial isn’t that much different from going to the dentist. Skin care is an important part of health management. 

You have no reason to be shy about asking your barber what he can do with your skin. Rough skin, sun damage, scars, fine lines, ingrown hairs, and pimples can all be dealt with. Once they’ve been handled, you’ll be healthier than you were before. It’s your skin, and you deserve to take care of it. 

Duplicating That Experience At Home

Almost everything your barber uses is a tool you can use at home. Getting a great shaving cream and a shaving brush isn’t that much of a hassle. You can even get your own countertop hot lather machine to warm up the lather the same way he does.

The only part you might get hung up on is shaving with a straight razor. Straight razor shaving is completely different from shaving with a cartridge razor. A close, clean shave is achieved by finding the perfect angle, using minimal pressure, and being very patient. There’s a bit of a learning curve, and you may not master it right away. As long as you’re using a rich shaving cream and a pre-shave oil on warm skin, it shouldn’t be too difficult to master with practice.

If you’re too intimidated by a straight razor, try a safety razor. A safety razor is a single bladed razor with a handle and a safety guard. The handle will make the razor feel more familiar and intuitive in your hand, and the guard will help to find the right angle without cutting yourself. It’s still not as easy as using a cartridge razor, but it’s not as difficult as mastering a straight razor.


It might be surprising to see just how different a barber shave can be from a home shave. Even more surprising is how incredible that difference can feel on your skin. Visit your barber for big occasions, but take a few pages from his book. You can duplicate most of what he does in your own bathroom. 

Give yourself a barber quality shave every morning. It’s worth a few extra minutes to look and feel great.