As I've shaved recently with my vintage, traditional straight razor, I've once again come round to cool-water shaving. I've compared it to pre-shave showers, warm/hot towels, and all the rest. I've come up with a strong suspicion about pre-shave prep. The key ingredients are water and time.
I think the water is best at a cool temperature because cool water may help to preserve and retain natural skin oils.
The time element is best incorporated by a pre-shave splash and wash. However, the soap used for the wash is important. Rather than using a cleansing soap of any kind, I recommend a shave soap for the pre-shave wash.
My currently-favored routine is first applying and lightly rubbing cool water into my beard. Then I rub on some shave soap. It can be any kind but I suggest something inexpensive -- price and quality don't matter as long as it's shave soap and not cleansing soap. Then with wet fingers I lightly but thoroughly rub the soap into my stubble. I take my time with this and ensure that there's plenty of water involved. I then gently rinse some or all of the soap off with more water, again taking my time in the process. Then I apply the soap to be used for the shave -- this is the time for the good stuff -- and face lather.
I have been getting very good results with this process -- arguably even better than shaving after a hot shower.
I've come to think of all the barber-recommended suggestions such as a hot, wet towel application (or multiple applications of hot, wet towels) as mere theater!
You might give this a try. I'd be interested to hear your opinion.
Razor Garage Sale Continues!!!
Many have already taken advantage of the offerings. Don't wait or you may miss a good bargain.
Keep in mind that there are a few dollars of packaging and mailing costs embedded in the prices of my DE garage-sale razors, and there really isn't a lemon in the bunch.