You might have seen it in movies or on TV and wondered “What is a hot towel shave?” Or, maybe, you’re well aware of what it is and you want to try it at home. Either way, here’s a quick breakdown of what a hot towel shave is, how to do it, and what are the exact hot towel shave benefits you can look for.
What exactly is a hot towel shave and how to do it?
To a lot of people, especially from the younger generations, getting a hot towel shave may sound like some ancient magical experience. Too many of them simply haven’t had the luck to experience it – sitting in a soft, comfortable chair in the barber shop, with a hot, scented towel firmly pressed on your face, moments before the straight razor in the barber’s hands is about to gently but firmly give you the cleanest shave you’ve ever had in your life. It does feel magical.
However, going to a good barber shop every morning is time-consuming and complicated, especially when you consider the rapidly decreasing number of barber shops as a whole. Fortunately, getting the “hot towel on face” treatment is perfectly achievable at home too! Sure, it won’t have the same idyllic feel as sitting in an old-fashioned barber shop, but it’s still much better, more enjoyable, as well as more effective, than most other ways to shave.
In essence, the hot towel shave is exactly what it sounds like – you press a hot, wet, and preferably scented towel for a while, and then you shave. For maximum effectiveness and coolness factor – with a straight razor.
Essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, and sandalwood are the three most popular options for scenting a hot towel before shaving, both in barber shops and for home shaves. Of the three, sandalwood can be quite expensive, but when used sparingly – as essential oils should be used – it will still have a good price per shave. Alternatively, you can use something like a VapoRub for a kick of invigorating menthol freshness in the morning – as with essential oils, just apply a small bit of it in the center of the towel while it’s still dry and cool. VapoRub, in particular, will also have the added benefit of quickly cleaning your sinuses in the morning.
What are the benefits of a hot towel shave?
Why bother, however? Isn’t the standard way of using shaving cream or a shaving soap better? Well, these methods have their undeniable benefits, yes, but hot towel shaves bring a lot to the table as well:
- First and foremost, the hot towel treatment is incredibly enjoyable, especially early in the morning and especially on your still sleeping, dry face skin with the sharp stubble growing out of it. If you try doing a hot towel shave at home you’ll likely find out that’s it is more effective at waking you up then even a mug of great, hot coffee.
- It softens and moisturizes your skin and facial hair in an excellent way. Whether you have dry or irritable skin or not, hot towel shaves are as good at moisturizing your dry skin like any other method.
- Hot towel shaves bring no risk of skin allergies, irritations or other such problem. A lot of products – sometimes even good ones – can cause skin irritations to people with ultra-sensitive skin. Canned shaving foams are especially notorious for doing this. Hot towel shaves, on the other hand, bring no such risk with them.
- Hot towel shaving is very budget-friendly shaving method. Unlike a lot of shaving creams and shaving soaps that can cost quite a bit – especially if you want them to be of a high enough quality to be worth it – hot towel shaves only need a towel and hot water. Even if you choose to use essential oils with it, which we definitely recommend, you’ll need to use so few essential oil drops that the overall price per shave will still be more than manageable.
- Using essential oils (or the budget-friendly alternative that’s VapoRub) is another great way to make sure you’ll have a great start of your day. It may take a while to figure out exactly how much you’ll need to use, but once you hit the right amount, your shaves will become that much more awesome.
What is the best way to warm up your hot towel?
You may have heard that barber shops use a device called “a hot towel warmer” to pre-heat their towels before them with their clients. The problem with towel warmers, however, is precisely that they are intended for barber shops with a large number of towels that need to be pre-heated at once. So, unless you have about a dozen of shaving men in your household that all use a hot towel shave every morning, a hot towel warmer might be a bit of an overkill.
Fortunately, heating a single wet towel isn’t really complicated. Here are some quick and easy methods to do it:
- Just place the towel – scented or not – in the faucet and run hot water over it. This is a quick, simple, and easy way to pre-heat your towel that a lot of people can use at home. The drawback of this method is that not every home’s faucet can reach high enough temperatures. In other cases, this method can take some time until the water reaches the required temperature, while in other cases your family members might have just exhausted the hot water before you. Still, if these factors are not a problem in your home, then this is an easy way to get the job done.
- Microwave your shaving towel. Yes, exactly. Just soak your towel in water, wring it so that it’s just damp, place it in a suitable container such as Pyrex dish or a plate, and microwave it for ~30 seconds, and that’s it – you’ll have a damp, hot towel for your shaving needs.
- Pour hot water from a teapot on it. If you’re in the habit of making French press coffee or tea in the morning, then you’ll be boiling up water anyway. So, why not boil a little bit extra and pour that on your scented shaving towel? This is a quick and easy way to take care of your shaving hot towel while also making breakfast!