My husband had struggled for years with shaving. With every new technological development in blade design came a closer, less irritating shave – or so the advertising claimed. Three, four, five blades angled, rotating and cushioning; they all had promise, but still the painful shaving rash came every night. It must have been the shaving foam with all of those crazy fragrances and artificial colours. “Sensitive, hypo-allergenic and dermatologist tested”, they said and still nothing worked. The rash looked itchy and it looked tender. I could not imagine how frustrating or painful it would be to have that on your neck and face every single day for years on end.
What if technology wasn’t the answer he thought, maybe it was time to get back to basics? So he set out to relearn the right way to shave. There might not be anything wrong with shave or maybe this story is familiar to you. What is the best way to shave?
Start with skin health
Dermalogica firmly believe in good skin health, and I do too! Maintaining your skin well will assist in reducing irritation, pimples, premature aging and improving the overall appearance of it. Shaving is a necessity for some but it can be a hazard to the skin, say Dermalogica:
“A form of severe mechanical exfoliation… shaving can cause irritation, sensitivity, redness, razor burn, ingrown hairs and bumps…”
The products you use on your skin as well as your shaving technique will have an impact. Aside from using good shaving products, keep your skin nourished with good skin hygiene. Regularly cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise and protect your skin with an SPF product during the day.
Prepare the skin
Softening the hairs and preparing your skin is the first step in your shaving routine. Cleanse your face with warm water and gently exfoliate. This will help to soften thick beard hairs and smooth the face.
Get a great lather
Now comes the fun part, making a great lather. This can take some practice. Some people like to whip it up in their hands, but a lot of men like to use a brush (synthetic is the softest on the skin) and a bowl. It is important that the lather is not to thin because it will not protect the skin, but if it is too thick it will be difficult to work with.
Go back to simple blades
Double edged razors are making a comeback in men’s grooming. They have the benefit on making one clean cut to the hair, instead of continually pulling the hair upwards and cutting it closer and closer to the skin like a modern multi-blade razor can do. This can cause some serious irritation.
To get a really close shave make a first pass along the grain of the hair, and a second pass against the grain. In terms of pressure, let the weight of the razor handle be your guide: let its weight be enough to glide the razor across the face.
If an old school razor isn’t your thing, try a simple one or two blade disposable razor. I have had many male clients anecdote that their skin improves when they use a simple disposable razor: less razor burn and a lot less pimples.
It will be difficult to use the weight of the blade to guide it across your face. With disposable type razor, again do not press to hard; use just enough pressure to glide the razor across your face whilst cutting the hair.
Calm it down
Be careful; some aftershave products are astringent and can contain alcohol which dry out and irritate the skin.
After shaving, it is important to apply a moisturising treatment to repair and protect the skin. Use an aftershave balm or a nourishing moisturiser instead of the traditional aftershave. Look for moisturising products that are free of synthetic fragrances, artificial colours and mineral oil. If you shave in the morning, also apply a sunscreen to protect your skin throughout the day.
This article was written by registered nurse Alexandra Matkevich. We offer a range of dermatology and skincare services at ENT Clinic. To make an appointment for a skincare assessment, contact us today!
The web is a great source of information, and there are some great practical videos that you can shave-a-long to when practising your new shaving techniques. This link provides a video with information about how to shave.