For many men, wet shaving is a daily chore which can often result in irritation, razor burn and ingrown hairs. These simple tips will ensure that you achieve a smooth and comfortable shave and are left with healthy and clear skin.
Skin tends to be puffier when we wake up in the morning. To avoid nicks and razor burn, allow the skin to settle for at least 15 minutes after waking up before you start to shave.
Shaving after a shower will also help. The steam will soften the skin and the hairs, making them easier to cut and resulting in less irritation. Alternatively, you could hold a hot flannel over your face for 30 seconds.
Shaving foams are generally quite drying to the skin, whereas shaving creams and gels are much more emollient. They will help soften the hair and the follicle before you shave so that you get a more comfortable shave and less ingrown hairs. For extra sensitive skin, use a shaving oil before you apply your shaving cream.
When applying a shaving product, massage it around the face in circles to help the hairs stand up-right. This will ensure that more hairs are picked up in a single stroke, making the shaving process gentler and quicker.
The sharper and fresher a blade is, the less likely it is going to cause irritation. Several factors contribute to how often you should change your blade. For example, how often you shave, how sensitive your skin is and how thick the hair is.
Also consider how many blades a razor has. These days multi-blade razors are marketed as the best ones out there, and while they may give you a closer shave, they also give more opportunity for irritation. If you have sensitive skin, consider a single-blade safety razor.
With the grain or against the grain? This has been a long-standing debate. So which direction is best? Against the grain will give you a closer shave but it will also cause a lot more irritation and ingrown hairs. Shaving with the grain will reduce the risk of razor burn and those unsightly red bumps.
It’s a common belief that the more you push your razor into the skin, the closer the shave you will get, but this method will cause a lot of irritation. Hold the razor at around a 45-degree angle and only apply a small amount of pressure, just enough to keep the blade in contact with the skin.
Another factor that often causes irritation is doing long strokes of the razor. Doing smaller strokes, about 2cm in length, and washing the razor each time will prevent rushing and potential for nicks.
Areas such as the neck and around the lips are more sensitive and prone to nicks. Shave these last to give the shaving cream more time to soften the hair.
Avoid using after-shave, as this generally contain alcohol and harsh ingredients which will irritate your skin. Instead, opt for a post-shave balm or cream, which will soothe the skin and prevent it from drying out or flaking.