They don’t say ‘razor-sharp’ for nothing. Whether you’ve been itching to try it for months or an unexpected patch of fuzz has startled you in the shower, it’s worth knowing the ins and outs of shaving before going at your skin with a sharp-edged bit of metal for the first time. You won’t believe how simple it is.

Make sure your first shave doesn’t turn into a horror show by following our how-to and how-not-to guide. Your silky smooth skin will thank you. At Wilkinson Sword we think shaving should be a pleasure, not a chore, so start as you mean to go on and you’ll be set up for a lifetime of fuss-free hair removal…

1. Pick the right razor

First things first. It’s worth investing in the right tool for the job – so don’t go idly picking up that spare razor that’s been knocking around the bathroom for months.

Some standard razors can be disposable – like the Quattro Titanium Sensitive razor – and need to be thrown away after just a single shave. Others, like those in the Hydro range, boast extra features to make your shave smoother, but they’ll still need the blades replacing once in a while. Electric trimmers can be a handy time-saver, but they’re not necessarily the closest shave around – so grab a good old-fashioned razor to really get in there.

2. Don’t use blunt blades

It might sound obvious, but the main thing to remember is to have a clean and sharp blade. It’s all too easy to pick up a razor with a dull or blunt blade, but trying to use one is more trouble than it’s worth. You’ll be left with red, blotchy skin and even stray patches of hair – wishing you’d never bothered to shave in the first place. Change it regularly and you’ll be drawing even more admiring glances in the street.

3. Start with plenty of warm water

Applying water to your skin before you begin will help to soften the hairs and open pores, leaving you ready for a shave that’s smooth, painless and as close as it can possibly be. For this reason, the best time to shave – especially for the first time – is when you’ve just got out of the shower.

4. Slather on the shaving gel

Shaving removes some of the natural oils from your skin, so it’s important to have something to replace them with. A good-quality shaving gel or foam will keep your skin from drying out and help to reduce the friction from your razor. Our Hydro razors take this a step further with a water-activated gel reservoir that hydrates your skin as you shave. This will also prevent razor burn, cuts and nicks (and so will using clean and sharp blades).

So before you put a blade anywhere near your skin, apply a generous helping of gel. Don’t be afraid to lay it on thick – if it seems like you’re putting on a bit too much, you’ve probably got the right amount.

5. Get your technique right

Exactly how you shave will depend on which part of your skin you’re working on, but the golden rule is don’t rush. It’s an art.

Move the razor with slow and short strokes, always following the direction the hair is growing in. You’ll quickly get a sense of how much pressure to use (and whether you’re actually removing any hair or not) so don’t be afraid to experiment a bit.

For expert technique, the Hydro 5 Sense range has shock-absorbing technology which auto-adjusts based on how you shave, backing off if you’re applying too much pressure, or adding back when you need it. Try stretching out the skin if you’re tackling a tricky area, and rinse the blade under the tap every few strokes to get rid of hair or shaving gel that’s clogging it up.

6. Treat any cuts

Here’s the thing. You’re going to get cuts and nicks when you shave. It won’t happen every time, but when it does, get a clean tissue or towel and press it against the cut until the bleeding stops (which shouldn’t be very long). Spots are especially prone to getting nicked, so if you can see one developing it’s best to avoid that area for a few days.

7. Don’t forget the aftercare

This bit isn’t an optional extra. No matter how much gel you’ve used, your skin is probably a whole lot drier than it was before you started shaving. Using a good quality post-shave moisturiser (and making sure you wait a while before using any aftershave) will get your skin back to looking its best in no time. It’ll make sure you don’t end up looking like you haven’t quite figured out how to shave yet (even if you haven’t!).