Shaving can be a pain, but it doesn’t have to be painful. With proper tools and technique, you can take the chore out of daily shaving and transform the process into a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
To start with, you’ll need to give yourself plenty of time. Rushing through the job is not only going to put you at higher risk for razor burn and cuts, but you may miss a spot or two and end up looking worse than if you hadn’t shaved at all. If this means getting up 10 minutes earlier, so be it. You won’t miss those extra minutes of sleep and it will pay off with the comfort of a smooth face for the rest of the day.
Second, make sure you use a quality razor. I recommend Gillette Mach 3 or any other razor from the Gillette Mach series. These are excellent razors, and the only major problem with them is that people don’t replace the cartridges as often as they should. This is understandable, considering how expensive they are, but your face will suffer as a result. If cost is a concern, you can buy them in bulk on eBay for much less than the retail price. I have done this before, buying a two-year supply all at once. I replace the cartridge every two weeks and I shave every other day. I don’t pay attention to the blue strip signifying the “life” of the cartridge. If it feels rough, I throw it away.
As for shaving cream, you’ll need to choose one that is compatible with your skin. If a particular brand is not up to par, ditch it and try something else. Don’t feel the need to “finish off” something that is irritating your skin. How much did you spend on it, anyway? I get great results from plain old Colgate Shaving Cream, but others swear by the more expensive gels and soaps. I have not seen enough difference with these types of products to warrant the extra expense, but as they say, your miles may vary.
Always shave after you shower, when your skin is still warm and moist. If I haven’t shaved in a few days I will sometimes rub hair conditioner on my beard while in the shower, which is a great way of softening the hairs. Apply your shaving cream with a shaving brush as soon as you get out of the shower and let it sit on your face for at least a couple of minutes before you start shaving. A shaving brush is recommended because it will help raise and separate the hairs and create a thick lather of shaving cream. Wet the razor with hot water and start on an area that has a low concentration of hair (such as the lower neck). Move the razor with the grain (in the direction that the hair grows) in short strokes (no more than an inch at a time) and avoid going over the same spot twice. Rinse the razor frequently in hot water (after every 3 to 4 strokes). The more you rinse the razor, the less likely you are to get an uneven shave.
After going over a spot with the grain, you can shave against the grain for ultimate closeness. This is not recommended if you have extra sensitive skin or are prone to ingrown hairs. If you are prone to ingrown hairs, a product called Tend Skin is remarkable at preventing ingrown hairs and is definitely worth the money. African Americans and other men with curly facial hair are typically prone to ingrown hairs, and will benefit from Tend Skin.
Feel with your hands to make sure you haven’t missed a spot. You might want to also check with a side mirror to make sure your sideburns are even and level. Once you’re ready to rinse, start off with warm water. After all of the shaving cream is gone, rinse with cold water. This may be uncomfortable, but it helps tighten the skin and prevent infections. Afterwards, pat dry with a soft towel.
Depending on your skin type, you may want to use an aftershave moisturizer. Be sure to use one that does not irritate your skin, because your skin is at its most vulnerable after you shave. Do not use products containing alcohol, as they will dry your skin and prematurely age it. If you have any suspicion that your aftershave lotion is irritating your skin, discontinue use and either go a week without it or switch brands.
Follow these tips and you’re guaranteed to see an improvement in your appearance and a renewed joy in your morning shave.