There are three essential steps here, Preparation, the Shave and Healing.
Preparation – shave at least 30 mins after you wake up and after a warm shower or after you have washed your face with warm water. This opens up your skin pores and wets the beard, making the job of the razor easier.
The Shave – use a new blade every 4-5 shaves, that is the maximum life of a blade. Use dedicated, high quality shave cream, soap or gel (not the aerosol foams!), which will coat your beard with a rich lather as well as protect your skin. Apply the lather with a shave brush. Shave in the direction of your hair growth first (feel the hair one morning before you shave to see how it grows) and then, if needed, reapply lather and shave lightly against or across the grain. After you finish, rinse your face with cold water
Healing – Apply after shave cream, lotion or balm. These are made to soothe and protect the newly shaved skin and help alleviate razor burn. Do not use after shave fragrances with alcohol which only burn and dry the skin.
The four essential products you need:-
a) A razor with a sharp blade
b) High quality shaving cream, gel or soap
c) A badger hair shaving brush
d) After shave balm, cream or lotion
A NOTE ON ELECTRIC SHAVERS
A proper wet shave is much gentler on your skin than an electric shave. A wet shave gets closer (many trials have proved this), and the proper skin and beard preparation not only gets your stubble ready for cutting (getting it moist, raising the hairs), it leaves your skin smoother and less prone to breakouts and burn. Electric shavers work by pulling on the hair and skin, potentially leaving your skin dry and sore. Rotary electric shavers also don't take account of the direction your beard grows in - making it impossible to shave with or against the grain. There is no doubting their convenience though so if you must use one, try to use one that you can use wet and try to use it in the shower - water being one of the key ingredients to a comfortable shave.