Wanting to recreate that amazing hot towel experience at home or in your own shop? Here are some tips and tricks on how to create the best hot towel shaving experience! 
Welcome to The Groomsmith blog! I am Patrick the Groomsmith, your local Summerville and North Charleston master barber with over 25 years of experience! We are still having a few chilly days here and there, but it’s not summertime just yet. To help beat those chilly days, I want to talk about hot towel shaves, an amazing experience you can get when visiting your favorite barber (or favorite Groomsmith!). There is nothing quite like that hot towel experience, especially on those cold days where your body just aches. How would you like some pointers and tips to learn how to recreate this experience yourself? Let’s do it! Every shop you walk into will have its own version of this experience, so today I’ll be sharing a few different steps that you can experiment with to create your perfect hot towel experience. Remember that a hot towel shave you can experience in my shop is unparalleled, and you will want to try it at least once. Come see me soon!
Creating a hot towel shaving experience is exactly that, an experience. It’s not just throwing a hot towel on your face and you’re magically done, relaxed, and comfortable. Randomly throwing a hot towel on your face like that can do some serious damage and cause serious stress. It’s also important to remember that this is an excellent example of self-care, and well worth the time and investment. While you might not do this for every shave, why wouldn’t you want to invest in yourself once in a while to feel amazing? When you feel amazing, that shines from the inside out, allowing you to feel good in your skin and will help your self-confidence boom. Who wouldn’t want that extra boost from something that feels so good?
What’s great about a hot towel shaving experience is that it does more than just feel great. Yes, there is nothing like that warm experience before and after a shave, but it does more than just relax and calm you. Hot water and steam, when absorbed into the hair of your beard make it easier to cut. It allows for a smoother and more even shave. It prevents your blade, no matter the type, from tugging on the hair during your shave which helps avoid any pain and an uneven shave. This can also help your blade last longer and reduces wear on the blade overall because it won’t have to work as hard to cut through your hair. The heat from the towel opens the pores on the face which will relax your face during your shave, helping to create that even save. Open pores allow dirt and other impurities to be removed, helping to avoid dirt build-up, ingrown hairs, and acne. When pores close, it helps to prevent dirt and gunk from getting back into the freshly cleaned out pores. Cold water can close the pores back up at the end of a shave. It is very important to shave after you’ve cleaned and exfoliated your skin to make sure your skin is as even as possible, and to help avoid any ingrown hairs or irritation, too.
Another great reason to use a hot towel before a shave is that it’s a great alternative to having to take a full shower before shaving. If you’re already clean and you don’t want to take another shower before you shave, using a hot towel can help you skip that step and help you achieve the perfect save while saving time. It will take a few minutes for your beard to soak up the moisture from your hot towel, so make sure to let it rest on your face long enough to do so before you begin shaving. It will usually take a few minutes to achieve this, so have a few damp warm towels at the ready just in case. Let’s get started on how to complete the full process!
The Towel! 
  • How do you prepare your towels? First, you need to pick the perfect towel. A small hand towel or washcloth is perfect for this. If you’re enjoying the hot towel experience, picking up some barber towels might be a good idea. They retain more water and heat, so you can reach your desired outcome faster than you would with just a normal towel.
    • First, you can let the water in your tap get as hot as it possibly can and let your towel soak in this water until it is fully saturated before using. Make sure to wring out all excess water before using, leaving the towel damp.
    • If your tap water doesn’t reach an adequate temperature, you can use a teapot or boil some water to use to heat your towels. Make sure the towels are cool enough to touch before wringing out any excess water and placing them on your face.
    • Finally, the most effective way to heat your towel is by using the microwave. You will wet your towels and ring them out, and place them in a microwave-safe dish, and heat for thirty seconds. Once they’re done, you will need to let them sit for a few minutes as they will be very hot. Once they can be comfortably handled in your hands, they can be used on your face.
    • Please note that you shouldn’t use a scalding hot towel on your face. They should never burn or hurt you when being used. Also, note that your hands can handle more heat than the sensitive skin on your face. If you can’t hold the towel, it will be too hot for your face. Please do not use the towel until you can comfortably hold the towel in your hands!
The Shaving Process
  • Once you’ve found the perfect towel and your perfect method for heating said towel, it’s time to begin your shave! Adding essential oils to your towel can heighten your overall experience if you so choose. Lavender, tea tree, and sandalwood are three excellent choices.
    • Once your face has been washed and exfoliated, it’s time to apply your towel. Test its temperature under your chin before applying it fully to your face. Once the temperature is perfect, wrap the towel up under your chin and around your face. Your goal is to make sure that everything you’re planning to shave is covered. Gently let the ends fold over on top of one another and let the towel rest for a few moments. Enjoy it! Remember this should feel good and should not be painful or burn. You can sit and allow the towel to rest by itself or you can sand and hold it in place.
    •  If your towel dries quickly, have others on hand to ensure you get a full few minutes of perfect absorption. Regardless if you’re doing this for yourself or in your shop, it should create a very relaxed client and an excellent shave. If you are working with a very long or thick beard that you are prepping to shave, you may need to spend a few more minutes with the wet towel on the beard that you would for shorter beards.
    • After you’ve sufficiently used the hot towel and the beard hair has absorbed the moisture, it’s time to prep the beard before applying your shaving cream or soap. If you are working with a thick or coarse beard, applying some beard oil before you begin shaving can help provide a smoother shave that is less taxing on the blade of your razor. Make sure to work the oil into both the beard and the skin. Massage it and lift the hair up and away from the face. Next, it’s time to apply the shaving cream or shaving soap. Lather it in your hands, and then apply it to the beard. Lather it on the face and rub it in, and lift the hair while doing so as well. This will soften the beard and once again, relax the face. Once the beard is properly lathered, you will apply another hot towel to the face, just as you did the first time.
    • Let the hot towel rest on the face while you prepare your razor, or have it prepared ahead of time to enjoy this experience yourself. After another few minutes with this second hot towel, remove it and begin your shave. Make sure to shave difficult areas, like around your mouth and nose, last. Always follow the direction the hair is growing in when you shave!
After Your Shave
  • When your shave is complete you will apply one final hot towel for another relaxing moment. This third and final hot towel will also remove any loose hairs left on the skin and excess shaving cream. Once you are finished with this third hot towel, follow it with a chilled towel. Prepare this ahead of time to make the whole process a smooth one, so you don’t have to pause the process. The cold towel will close the pores, tighten up the skin, ensure that no dirt and oil gets back into the skin once you are cleaned and shaven, and it also provides a nice fresh feeling. This towel will only be on the face for a few seconds. I recommend that you don’t forget this part when shaving at home. It’s an easy impulse to touch the skin right after you shave, which will immediately put dirt and oil right back in the skin with those wide-open pores. Using a chilled towel will allow you to touch your face after use without fear of putting impurities back into your skin.
  • Once you’re finished with the cool towel, use an aftershave, shaving balm, or moisturizer. This is an incredibly important process because when you shave you are removing the top layer of skin that retains all of the skin’s moisture. An after-shave or shaving balm puts that moisture back into the skin. Add in a little facial massage to work that balm, lotion, or moisturizer into the face, and to help extend this relaxing experience.
Once you’re finished you will have an incredibly clean, perfectly shaved, and relaxed face ready for the day! This can be an experience you give to yourself or in your own shop for a moment of self-care, relaxation, and to provide an excellent shave every time. If you’ve never experienced a hot shave before, I highly recommend it! It might not be an everyday experience, but it is an experience that you should always make time for when you can! Until next time, I am Patrick the Groomsmith and I am here with the best barbershop in Summerville, the best nonsurgical hair restoration in Summerville, and more.