Ask a Dad: What’s Your Shaving Routine?

w: Johnathon E. Briggs

Ask a Dad: What’s Your Shaving Routine?

— January 27, 2019 —

After washing my scruffy face with glycolic facial cleanser, I pat it dry. I unscrew the bottle of Williams Lectric Shave and squirt a stream into a cotton ball before dabbing my chin, cheeks, and neck with the skin-smoothing solution, infusing the air with the citrusy scent of a pre-shave.

Every man has a ritual to their shaving routine and this is how mine begins.

After 15 seconds, I power up my Andis T-Outliner and remove the five o’clock shadow on either side of my mouth before neatly trimming my moustache, the droning buzz of the clippers echoes in the bathroom as freshly clipped hair falls into the sink and onto the counter.

I reach for my Philips Norelco electric razor for the last round of hair removal, letting its whirling triangle of circular blades glide across the contours of my face and neck. Roughly 30 minutes have passed and my skin feels smooth and silky. As a final step, I douse another cotton ball with Tend Skin and gently dab the shaven areas to help prevent ingrown hairs and razor bumps.

This is my shaving routine circa 2019. But it has evolved over the years, from when I first began trimming my facial hair in college to what is now a Sunday ritual that heralds the start of each work week.

When it comes to shaving, every young man starts out clueless. Learning what products and techniques will work for your hair and skin type is often a journey of trial and error filled with questions.

I hadn’t thought much about how I shave until my fellow college alum, Nelda, read my blog post about learning to do my daughter’s hair and asked if I would share thoughts on shaving products. “I’m clueless about what my 13-year-old should/should not do in terms of grooming tips for Black men,” she said.

When it comes to shaving, every young man starts out clueless. Learning what products and techniques will work for your hair and skin type is often a journey of trial and error filled with questions: How do I prep my skin before a shave? What kind of razor should I use? Is dry shaving better than wet shaving? What’s the best aftershave to use on my skin?

I suspect that every man was introduced to shaving by another man—their father, an older brother, an uncle, a barber—at an age when shaving seemed a mystery. Nowadays, there’s Google and thanks to YouTube, thousands of how-to videos dedicated to male grooming.

(Nelda, in your case I recommend: “Shaving Tips for Teen Guys” by WebMd for the basics and “Shaving 101” from Walker & Company, makers of Bevel, a line of grooming solutions for men of color. Their blog, Bevel Code, is also a great resource.)

The internet wasn’t an option for those of us who grew up in an analog world where VCRs, Walkmans, and Yellow Pages were the norm and the closest equivalent to a search engine was a trip to the local library where you had to physically find books using the Dewey Decimal System or pick up a landline telephone to ask a friend or family member for advice. This was the phone-a-friend option long before Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

I was introduced to shaving by my stepdad who used to mix a powder called Magic Shave in a ceramic mug with water and apply it to his face before each shave to help prevent razor bumps. The product’s smell was so odorous, he’d open up the bathroom window and close the door behind him to prevent our apartment from smelling like rotten eggs. But Magic Shave worked wonders for him.

For me? Not so much. I can’t grow a full on beard and am not as prone to ingrown hairs and razor bumps, so Magic Shave probably wouldn’t do much for me—except burn my skin. Ouch.

It wasn’t until I went to college that I figured out what works best for me.

During my freshman year, I lucked up with a roommate by the name of Marcus who was an excellent amateur barber. So much so that he often turned our dorm room into a makeshift barbershop to make money on the side. Our room number was 185 and I used to jokingly refer to it as “185 Barbershop Drive” because of the seemingly endless procession of guys strolling through to get their hair faded on Fridays.

But here’s the thing I noticed about Marcus at the time: he never used a razor on his face. He always used an electric trimmer. And he didn’t seem to struggle with razor bumps. That stuck with me.

As I grew older and my facial hair became coarser, I gravitated toward dry shaving with an electric razor as my preference, mainly because it was uncomplicated and a timesaver, especially during the years I was a daily reporter and constantly on the move, chasing breaking news.

I’m sure I’ll continue to tweak my shaving routine as the years go by, but for now, this works for me.

What works for you? Let me know! Leave a comment about the shaving products you can’t live without. A complete list of products mentioned in this post is below.

Father on,

Blog cover photo by my Dear Wife

Shaving Products I Use:

894 words


Johnathon E. BriggsA 40-something father who favors wingtips + statement socks • Husband • Autism Dad • Comic Book Fan • ΑΦΑ

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Six weeks before my 40th birthday, I became a first-time father. This life-changing moment made me think about my own dad, who became a father at 44. As my parenthood journey unfolded, I noticed that most of my friends had become parents earlier in life yet, here I was, changing diapers and battling sleep deprivation at (nearly) 40. I told my wife, “Parenting is definitely a young man’s game.” But is it really?

Where most of my friends were preparing for their children’s middle and high school graduations, I was mastering the art of the swaddle, perfecting the one-hand baby wipe, and learning to decipher my daughter’s gurgles and whimpers. It occurred to me that I had so much more to offer my daughter at the sure-footed age of 40 than I did at, say, 28, when I was still coming into my own.

In this awareness, I gained an appreciation for where I am in life and the idea for Fatherhood@Forty was born. Fatherhood@Forty is a creative outlet to blog about my experiences and inspire other (relatively) late-in-life dads. It’s been said that each child is their own assignment and I believe each parent’s journey is its own destination.

Here are a few factoids about me, Johnathon Briggs, the editor behind this blog:

  • I am a former journalist (Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune).
  • I love exploring Chicago and the Midwest with my family.
  • I remain on a constant quest to stay fit.
  • I support charities that fight HIV, uplift families affected by incarceration, and ensure African American boys graduate from college.
  • I enjoy reading comic books and binge-watching House of Cards.
  • I am a child of the ‘80s, so please expect occasional references to the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.

As a reporter for daily newspapers, I had the opportunity to interview fascinating people and to test out great products and brands for my readers. I hope to do the same for you as I blog about the moments that make up this adventure called fatherhood.

Please email me if you’d like to collaborate or have ideas for a blog post:

Father on,

Disclaimer: Fatherhood@Forty may contain affiliate marketing links, which may result in commission on sales of products or services I write about. My editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Copyright © 2019 — Blank Canvas Studio, LLC | No use without permission