A Close Shave:
Even if it takes you just 5 minutes a day, you’ll still spend roughly 75 days of your life shaving!
This daily routine can have an impact on more than your valuable time however – it can disrupt the skin’s balance, and can be traumatic for the skin if not performed correctly. We’ve all had that uncomfortable feeling of itching or tightness post-shave; we’ve all had that dreaded redness or shaving rash. However, with a little care, it’s avoidable!
Careless or improper shaving can lead to:
If the hairs on your face are cut in the wrong direction, they aren’t able to penetrate the skin’s surface. As a result, they grow under the skin, causing imperfections – what can look like small lumps or spots.
The best approach is to shave in the morning (see below), being careful to follow the direction of hair growth – including hair which grows at an angle. Shaving ‘against the grain’ – pulling the razor upwards towards your jaw (when shaving your neck) for instance – can be a main cause of this.
You should then finish your shaving routine by applying a shaving balm or hydrating product. A good tip is to look out for a product that’s based on fruit acids (AHAs), which are known to boost the skin’s natural exfoliation process (this helps to remove dead skin cells, making it easier for hairs to penetrate the surface of your skin).
Shaving is a process that aggravates the skin – it’s unavoidable. It causes friction and having a sharp razor rub across your skin will always cause a bit of irritation. If, like many men, you’re prone to redness after shaving, you should avoid shaving gels, alcohol-based or menthol aftershaves and non-hydrating aftershave lotions. These can sometimes only make things worse.
Look out for an alcohol-free formula, designed for sensitive skin. Most of the leading brands in men’s shaving now heavily cater for sensitive men’s skin and you’ll not have to look too hard to find something that’s right for you.
Many of the ingredients in traditional or ‘leading’ products will only irritate your skin further, when ideally you should be looking to apply something that will in fact soothe it.
Also, look out for a shaving foam/gel that promises to improve the ‘glide’ of the razor over your skin; this ultimately will cause you less friction and will minimise redness or irritation.
Ultimately, we’re all prone to having favourites. Your shaving foam/gel will be no different, and what suits one man won’t necessarily appeal to the next. Look out for something alcohol-free, that caters for sensitive skin, and promotes superior glide, and you’ll not go too far wrong.
Shaving is hard on the skin. Specifically, it depletes the lipids in the hydrolipidic film which coats the skin’s surface. This makes the skin feel comfortable.
When you shave, use a shaving cream or foam and following this up with a day cream that’s enriched with moisturising ingredients, to avoid feelings of discomfort.
Remember that men’s skin is very different from a woman’s. Moisturisers for women are intended for skin that is different in composition, and doesn’t have to put up with a razor each morning.
Start by changing the blades on your razor regularly! With use, and over time, even the best “diamond coated, longer lasting” blades lose sharpness. When they become blunt, they don’t actually cut the hair, but tug at it yank it out! Ouch! Any imperfections on the edge of the blade – any little bumps etc, can very easily nick your skin.
And as anyone who has ever cut themselves shaving will testify – it’s hard to get the bleeding to stop!
Our Top Tip:
The best time to shave is in the morning, straight after you shower. Ideally, shave before eating.
If you shower before you shave, the hot water will open your pores and also soften the hair’s on your face. Shaving becomes a whole lot easier when this is the case.
It’s a little known fact, but it’s preferable to shave before eating, because chewing causes blood to flow to the skin’s surface, making it more likely that you will cut yourself!
Here's a video guide to shaving, produced by Gillette.
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