How to introduce mindfulness into your morning shave
Mindfulness is everywhere these days: shopping, reading and even gaming. No surprise, then, that the mindful shave is an actual thing, too. Before scoffing at the idea, bear in mind shaving itself was once considered a ritual, one that required not only nerves of steel, but thought, precision and concentration.
While advancements in technology have made the process safer and speedier, they’ve also made us slapdash with our technique (one reason why so many of us suffer from irritation) and robbed us of some precious ‘me time’ in the process. For an altogether more mindful experience – which can also be applied to body areas other than your face – you need to allocate more time to your shave, and slow everything down.
Begin the process by soaking a flannel or towel in hot water and placing it over your skin. A technique used by barbers to open pores, soften bristles and calm customers, it’s the perfect way to relax your body and mind.
Take a moment to study your hairs to see which way they grow. This is an oft-forgotten but crucial step, because, in order to avoid irritation, you should always shave with the direction of hair growth, rather than against it. Next, apply some cream with your fingertips (take time to massage in and enjoy the sensation; the longer you take, the more you’ll help lift the follicles in readiness for shaving), or whip up a lather with a shaving brush. Vegan-friendly synthetic ones are my brushes of choice.
Braving the old fashioned safety razor will help you focus on your shave because you have to position the blade just right to get the optimum angle (roughly 45-degrees) and concentrate on the task in hand. Breathe in as you lift the razor, out as you place it on the skin, and focus on applying just enough pressure so that the blade makes contact with the skin.
Count the strokes to help prevent your mind from wandering and ensure that, for a few minutes at least, it’s just you, the razor and the moment. After you’ve finished, apply a moisturiser which features zingy citrus oil to enliven the senses. These small tweaks won’t just re-introduce a little mindfulness into your routine: they’ll also deliver a smoother, less irritating shave with better results, too. With a little bit of effort, they may even turn a mundane chore into an actual pleasure.