For a lot of men, the morning shaving seems to be more of a tiresome duty than an easy job. If you’re in this boat yourself, rest assured that you don’t have to live with razor burn and irritated skin forever.
In days gone by, shaving was less of a chore and more of an art. Barbers used to do a thriving trade in shaving, and their skills were nothing less than phenomenal. If you educate yourself on shaving like the experts, you can replicate their results! Just check out the handy guidelines laid out below.
Every shave should be preceded by a rinse with warm water. Celeste Hilling, the founder, and CEO of Skin Authority says that this rinse will soften up your skin and keep your face healthier. Next, up, you have to wash your face. According to Hilling, the ideal cleanser for this job is a gel with an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) for an antibacterial effect. This will also open up your pores and let your shaving products sink in better. Facial scrubs that have large, abrasive particles should be avoided – they can contribute to shaving complications like breakouts and inflammation.
At this point, your skin should be damp. Use a clean towel to remove excess water, but not all of it. Remember to use gentle patting motions rather than hard scrubbing. This will reduce the risk of razor burns.
Starting The Perfect Shave
A gel is the ideal shaving product because it minimizes friction and causes less irritation. Doctor Neal Shultz, a dermatologist practicing in New York, says that high-priced specialty products aren’t required; the gels you see in your local supermarket or drug store are quite capable of doing the job.
Your razor should have some weight to it. Multi-bladed models are also a good idea. Many authorities (including Hilling) suggest that an old-fashioned straight razor gives the very best results, but it takes a long time to master the skill of using one. Stick to a disposable head razor with two or more blades to get great results right from the start. In Beverly Hills, Hollywood stylist Billy Lowe recommends heavier razors to all of his male clients. Lightweight plastic razors tend to buck, causing nicks and cuts. A razor with a weighted handle will glide smoothly and require less control.
You should always shave with the grain of your facial hair. Lowe warns that shaving against the hair leads to a host of problems, especially on the neck. He recommends making multiple passes – he personally uses three passes to achieve the best results. Multiple shades produce added benefits, cutting closer and exfoliating the skin.
If your skin is especially sensitive, you should strongly consider investing in a high-quality electric razor. Dr. Schultz says this is often the best solution to chronic razor burn and skin irritation. Shaving with the grain and spacing out your shaving schedule can also help if you want to stick with ordinary razors.
Post-Shave Skin Care
Your first step after your shave is complete is to pat your face dry. A clean, dry towel is also a must here. Rubbing should be avoided in order to prevent skin irritation.
If you normally use aftershave, try going without it for a while. Alcohol-based aftershaves are needlessly harsh on your skin; a simple moisturizer will deliver many healthier-looking results. According to Lowe, and post-shaving products you use need to be free of alcohol, retinol, glycol, and any harsh chemical toners. Even the best shave leaves your skin in a weakened, vulnerable state. That’s why Lowe strongly encourages the immediate use of moisture cream after you’re done the shaving. It shouldn’t be put off until later.
If you encounter skin problems related to shaving, you should address them promptly and thoroughly. The dreaded razor burn can be treated with an ordinary styptic pencil and a dab or two of antibiotic cream, according to Schultz. For long-term razor burn relief, Hilling recommends using a toning product that includes at least two percent salicylic acid and eight percent glycolic acid. (Keep in mind that this shouldn’t be applied immediately after your shave, though! Use your skin toner at a well-separated hour.)
If you can’t seem to avoid nicks and cuts no matter how carefully you shave, Lowe recommends trying out night-time shaving. Running out the door in the morning with blood-splotched toilet paper stuck to your face is never a good idea. Save right before you go to bed and take all the time you need to handle any shaving-related complications.
Hopefully, this information will give you the “leg up” you need to perfect your shaving routine and start achieving better results. Contrary to what some people think, shaving isn’t a natural skill. It needs to be practiced and studied like any other. Put in the necessary time, and you can certainly master the art of shaving!