• Preshave prep - soften the beard or stiffen it?

    Pre-Shave Prep

    A discussion from 2009 on prepping the beard


    I am new to straight razor shaving and I have read on this board that much of the functionality of preshave prep is to soften the beard. From the hot towel, preshave cream or pre-lather with hot towel, to wet face prep, etc. Whatever the case may be the purpose of the preshave prep is to soften the beard. This made perfect sense all along until I read a book on shaving from 1906. This book emphasized the purpose of preshave prep as a way to stiffen the beard. This book stated that in their natural state the hairs are oily and therefore pliable, and limp, and therefore more difficult to cut during the shave. The book stated that the purpose of face washing and lathering is not only to wash away dirt but also, more importantly, to wash away the oil and thus stiffen the hair follicles so that they become stiff, brittle, erect and provide the resistance needed for the razor to easily sever the hair follicles.

    Based on these stark differences in the purpose of the preshave prep I am completely confused.

    Can the experts chime in and please settle this for me. What is the purpose of the preshave prep? Is it to soften the beard, or is it to stiffen the beard?

    Thank you in advance
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Preshave prep - soften the beard or stiffen it? started by aramirez626 View original post
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