A clean-shaven face has the power to make a man look instantly put together – which is why men know to shave before important events, like an interview or a wedding. Unfortunately, the art of shaving isn't always so simple. It requires the right skills and a knowledge of the proper tools and post and after-shave products to use in order to avoid bumps and irritation. A clean shaven face looks great on just about any man, but nothing brings down the allure of a freshly shaven face quite like razor bumps or rough patches.
The key to a close and comfortable shave every time lies in the preparation, the the technique and the aftercare. That's why we're offering men a few tips, tricks, techniques and products to use to achieve the perfect shave. Read on for everything you need to know about shaving off your facial hair when Movember ends.
SHAVING: TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES
PREP YOUR SKIN
The most common mistake men can make when shaving is improper preparation. Hair, when dry is extremely strong, which is why it's important to soften the hair for a clean cut by the razor. When you use a razor you're not only removing hair – it also takes off the top layer of skin, along with the oil that the skin naturally secretes to protect itself. Start off by softening up your skin and hair by showering before you shave.
Next, use a pre-shave oil to create a protective layer on the skin. Pre-shave oil is necessary because it can reduce the risk of irritation and ingrown hairs. When hair absorbs oil it becomes softer and easier to cut down, plus it provides a protective barrier over the skin, so the razor glides a lot easier.
DON'T SKIP POST-SHAVE CARE
Using after-shave products will help alleviate many of the difficulties encountered right after the shave and the following days as the hair grows back. When you're finished shaving, splash your face with icy cold water. This tightens your skin back up and closes the pores. It also soothes the skin to help avoid irritation.
Next, use an after-shave cream or balm that will help replenish moisture to the skin after shaving. After moisturizing, remember to apply SPF 15 or higher for protection against the sun!
USE THE CORRECT TOOLS
To avoid bumps, redness and irritation when shaving, the strategy is simple: Use the correct tools (and take care of them). Make sure the razor you're using is as sharp as possible, because with a sharp blade there's less of a need to apply pressure and drag the razor heavily across the face; and give yourself a close shave, especially if you're prone to ingrown hairs. Make sure to store your blade in a bit of pre-shave oil or use a razor shield product to preserve the life of your razor.
If you're prone to ingrown hairs or have sensitive skin, use a disposable razor or cartridge no more than five times before switching to a new one. This will maximize results and minimize cuts and irritation.
AVOID SHAVING AGAINST THE GRAIN
Another way to avoid bumps and irritation? Shave with the grain, or the direction of hair growth, to avoid leaving hair under the surface of the skin. Shaving against the grain can also cut hair below the skin and cause ingrown hairs or more serious infections, not to mention pain and discomfort. Use short and light strokes to reduce the chance of razor burn.