Your morning routine is probably already a hectic one, but adding a few more minutes to your typical shaving practice can mean the difference in a good shave, and a perfect one.
Chances are, you’re so accustomed to your morning regimen that you can do it in your sleep, and you probably do some mornings! If your morning starts out with a shave before you hit the shower, that’s the first change you need to make. There’s no better way to prepare your skin (and your facial hair) for a smooth shave than to allow the hot water to penetrate your skin and open your pores and hair follicles. It will also soften the stiff, bristly hairs, which will help you get the closest shave possible.
Since you’re already in the shower, you may as well wash your face, right? What you may not realize is that by cleansing your face with a mild soap, you are removing dirt and oils that may hinder your razor’s ability to give you that “baby’s bottom” smooth shave. You’re also freeing any trapped hairs that could leave behind the little red bumps or ingrown hairs by massaging your skin with your fingers.
It’s a good idea to follow up your daily wash with an exfoliating scrub at least twice a week to aid in removal of dead skin cells, sweat or dirt buildup, and any ingrown hairs. This is the best way to avoid those pesky, painful bumps associated with your daily wrestle with the razor. You can find exfoliating scrubs for men’s skin on the same aisle that you find your shaving gel and razors, or you can make your own with a little olive oil mixed with brown sugar.
Always use shaving cream to provide lubricant between your skin and the razor. The razor dragging across your skin without a barrier will lead to those tiny, stinging, red bumps that can linger for the better part of your day. Lather your face well, and you can begin shaving. Do take a moment to ensure that your razor has clean, sharp blades. Dull blades are more likely to leave cuts, and dirty blades can lead to infections.
If your first pass seems ineffective, or you have to apply a lot of pressure, you probably need to change the blades or switch razors. The blades should glide gently along your skin as you hold the handle lightly. Let the razor do the work, that’s what it’s designed for. Too much dragging of the blade will lead to redness, irritation, bumps, and even ingrown hairs.
Remember to shave with the grain, especially if you have sensitive skin. You may have noticed that you get a rash of bumps on your neck area frequently, if so, you may be shaving too close to the follicle, or pressing down harder than you need to. Those hairs can sometimes have a cowlick where the irritation is occurring. Stay with the grain to avoid ingrown hairs and rashes in this area.
While you do need to clean your razor between passes, you need to avoid tapping it on the sink or faucet. Take care of your razor, and it will take care of you. Knocking off the excess shaving cream and loosening the hairs from the blades can cause dents and dings in the blades themselves, and damage to any protective strips or coatings that may be around them. Try simply rinsing the blades under running water to clean them. Even if you can’t see the damage you’re causing, your skin will pay the price, as those little dings can snag on your skin and leave visible cuts and rashes.
Last, but certainly not least, you need to apply a moisturizer twice a day. There are products available specifically for moisturizing men’s sensitive skin after a shave, but even a simple vitamin E lotion will do the trick. Moisturizing after your shave will not only replenish and rehydrate your skin after the trauma of the razor blade repeatedly skating across it, but it will also help to close the hair follicles and slow the growth of the hair. Use a little just after your shave, and apply a little more before you go to sleep. Your skin will feel soft and smooth, and you may not see that five o’clock shadow until 5am!