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Sensible Shaving Tips | Before, During, After

Shaving, a ritual most men do at least five days a week doesn’t come with a manual. As frequent as we shave, one would think it’s almost instinctive, and that men and shaving are synonymous.  But the truth is many of us still struggle with achieving a smooth, flawless shave.

There are as many ways to shave as there are men; each of us adding our own personal spin or technique.  Unfortunately, not all methods are equal when it comes to results.  So, if you’re a newbie or just someone looking for a few tips to improve your style, this article should help you obtain a picture perfect mug.  Let’s get started!

Taking your time is key to successful shaving.

Like everything else - we get out of something, what we put into it – so, if you’re going to rush and take short cuts, expect a shave that reflects it.  I understand how time is of the essence most mornings, but if you want to feel great about the image you’re projecting to the world once you step out the door, nothing beats the confidence of a perfect shave that is free of nicks, ingrown hair and rashes.  Taking a few extra minutes is well worth your investment.

Use a mirror.

I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but many of us don’t, especially if we shave in the shower.  I realize shaving is automatic for a lot of us, and we think we can do it in our sleep, but that doesn’t mean accidents can’t happen.  Being able to see what you’re doing makes sense for both safety and aesthetic reasons.  Nothing’s worse than seeing a patch of whiskers on someone’s face who just shaved.Any mirror will do, but the three sided mirror allows you to see from every angle; ensuring a completed shave.  There are also mirrors designed to hang in the tub, for those of us who shave while showering.

A great shave begins before you pick up a razor.

It should start with applying moist heat to your face.  This is essential because the moisture softens the hair, and the heat opens the pores.  You can wrap a very warm, wet towel on your face for a minute or two, or shave immediately after or during a shower, when shaving conditions are prime from the hot water and humidity.

Before you begin to shave...

... brush the whiskers up off your face, which makes them more accessible to the razor; resulting in a closer shave.  Using your hands is fine, but there are brushes designed specifically for this task, which do a more thorough job of picking up the hair.

Never shave dry.

Wet shaving is definitely preferred for appearance and safety reasons.  Shaving cream softens the hair, making it easier to cut; in addition to allowing the blade to glide effortlessly across your skin. Choose a good quality shave cream that is very lubricating to help avoid razor burn.  Spray can varieties come in either foam or gel, and should contain glycerin, which is an excellent lubricant.  Some of the less expensive foam products are not as moisturizing and do not give as smooth a shave.  The difference is huge, and the end result noticeable, so keep searching until you find a product you like.Still used today is shaving soap, which comes in bar, tube or tub varieties.  These products are used with a shaving mug, scuttle, tub or bowl, and are applied with a shaving brush – a different type of brush than the one mentioned earlier.  This “traditional” style of wet shaving is very luxurious because it typically includes thicker lather; plus the brush offers the benefit of raising the hair up off the face, and mildly exfoliates as it sweeps across the skin - resulting in a closer shave.  It produces results your fingers just can’t.  Often, a straight edge or double edge razor is used with shaving soap because the brush eliminates the need for multiple blades.Lather up well, covering every inch of skin, so the razor won’t drag or skip, ensuring an even shave.  Regardless of the type shaving cream you choose - just be sure to use one!

There are several types of razors available today, from single edge like grandpa used to use to quadruple bladed ones.

The multi-blade variety is believed to give a closer shave, and has lessened the usage of both single and double edge razors over the years.  However, not everyone is in agreement and prefers the latest versions.  One downside to multi-blade razor systems is the hair pulling, which contributes to ingrown hair and can be a problem for some.  Safety features have improved the safety of single and double edge razors, making them more acceptable for today’s modern shaver.  Electric shavers typically do not cut whiskers as close as wet shavers; however, they tend not to cut the skin as much, either.  Another advantage of electric razors is a quicker shave because there is no pre-shave preparation necessary; although there are specially formulated lotions that provide lubrication, if preferred.  Electric shaving reduces incidence of ingrown hair, and is a good choice for someone who suffers with this condition.  Hair comes in different textures, and should also be a factor in choosing the right razor.There is no one razor that is perfect for everyone, but what is agreed upon is it must be sharp.  Replace a blade or razor as soon as it feels dull, or is not removing the hair thoroughly.  For some it will be after three or four shaves; for others weekly.  A dull blade is your worst enemy!  A dull blade requires shaving the skin multiple times in order to get close, which can cause irritation.  Over-shaving also increases your chance of getting ingrown hair.  Electric razor blades need to be replaced as soon as they begin getting dull, also.  And don’t forget to wipe the razor heads with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to fight bacteria.I suggest trying the different varieties of razors to find which type best suits your hair, skin and lifestyle.  As men, we know the importance of having the right tool for the job!

Always shave in the direction the hair grows.

Never shave against the hair growth, despite how close the shave would be.  Shaving against the hair will only cause irritation and ingrown hair.  For most men, shaving “with” the hair means shaving downward.  Skin can be pulled taut before each stroke, however, know that doing so will add to the chance of ingrown hair.

Once you’re finished shaving...

... rinse your face with warm water to take off any residual shaving cream.  Washing with a facial wash at this time is optional.  Follow with cold water to help close the pores and reduce inflammation, then pat dry.

Complete your shaving protocol ...

... with an aftershave that has both astringent and moisturizing properties.  The purpose of aftershave is to soothe the skin from any irritation and restore softness.  They include antiseptic ingredients, like alcohol or witch hazel, to reduce the risk of infection to cuts and abrasions caused by shaving.  Aftershaves can be found in lotion, gel, balm, wash, powder or salve varieties, and often offer additional and beneficial features based on ingredients.  Choose one that caters to your personal needs.Toners help remove shaving cream residue, close pores, fight infection and refresh the skin.  Products containing witch hazel are a good choice; where as alcohol can be too drying.  Toners can be used by themselves or before an aftershave.  Discontinue use if any irritation develops.If you have ingrown hair and razor bumps, use a product specifically designed to soothe and heal the skin, reducing redness and discomfort.

Exfoliate for a smoother shave, healthier skin and flawless complexion.

Exfoliating’s gentle scrubbing action takes off a thin top layer of dead skin, much like shedding; revealing new, softer skin that allows hair to grow out more easily; lessening the risk of ingrown hair.  It also cleans and unclogs pores, and evens out skin tones.  Another benefit of exfoliating is a closer shave because the hair follicles are softer and more exposed, therefore more easily cut.Do not exfoliate immediately before or after shaving.  It’s best to give several hours, if not a day, in between them to avoid irritation.  Exfoliate only if your skin is not irritated or broken out.  Be sure to use a mild exfoliating product that is labeled for facial use.  Do not exfoliate too often; limiting it to one to three times a week.  Do not rub too vigorously or hard for that will damage skin tissue.  If at any time irritation and discomfort occur, discontinue usage until your skin heals.

Our face is the first thing people see.  Take your time when shaving, and pay attention to details.  A smart shave will give you more than just a great complexion… it will give you the confidence and pride everyman strives for!

by Aaron Marino

Pete and Pedro

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