If a man wants to start the day off right, he can start by having a well-shaved face. A clean shave can help leave a good impression with business associates, as well as the women in his life. Unfortunately, many men are not able to achieve this well-shaven appearance. They walk around with the cruel side effects of a bad shave: razor burn. Most men have experienced that itchy feeling a few hours after shaving. Razor burns not only look bad; it can ruin a good shave. But you don’t have to live with razor burn, it is preventable with the proper plan of attack.
What is Razor Burn?
Razor burn is a rash that appears after shaving. In the case of a mild razor burn, a man may feel a slight itch, and there may be a noticeable redness on your neck and face. In the case of severe razor burn, a man may have razor bumps. Ingrown hairs are the cause of these bumps. They have an appearance similar to a pimple and are very itchy. Razor bumps and ingrown hair are problematic for African-American men because the hair on their beards is curly.
How do You Prevent Razor Burn?
The first step is to soften the beard. Softened beard hair is easier to remove than hair that is coarse or stiff. For this reason, the best time to shave is after a shower. The hot steam from the shower will soften the hair on your beard, leaving it in the perfect condition for shaving. To get your beard softer, you can use hair conditioner. Apply the conditioner before your shower, rubbing it into your beard. Leave it on while showering and then rinse after you’ve finished.
The next step is to exfoliate your skin. Use a facial scrub or a facial loofah to remove dead skin. After a hot shower, your pores will be open, which will help with this process. This step will help to bring out any ingrown hairs. One of the best scrubs to use for this is St. Ive’s Apricot Scrub. It’s an inexpensive product, but very effective at removing dead skin and making your skin feel good.
The next step is to shave, with a safety razor. There are many razors on the market today, with all kinds of new technology promising a clean shave. If you find one that works for you, stick with it. However, if you find each razor you use leaving you with some irritation or razor bumps, then you should consider buying a safety razor.
The problem with some of the modern razors is the multiple blades. For some men having more than one blade can irritate the skin. Shaving with the one blade of the safety razor can help men who have trouble with modern razors, achieve a clean shave.
Clean Your Blades
Before shaving, clean the razor blade with alcohol. One of the major causes of skin irritation and razor burn is the accumulation of bacteria on the razor blade. That’s why it’s important wipe your razor blades with rubbing alcohol. There are various types of razor blade antiseptic products on the market, and some are quite expensive. However, you can get the same results by using the standard alcohol, which is the base ingredient for many of those products. While shaving, keep the blade clean by rinsing it frequently. Each pass of the razor gathers shaving cream, hair and bacteria that live on your face. To get a clean shave, you need to keep your razor clean.
When you shave, go with the grain. Many men believe that to get a clean shave, they need to go against the grain. It’s true that going against the grain will get you a quick, smooth feeling, but you risk getting razor burn as you scrape across your face. Many men don’t realize that shaving too close to your skin can increase your chance of getting razor bumps and ingrown hair.
When you shave with the grain, you reduce your chance of irritating your skin and getting razor burn. The problem with this method is that it will take longer. You won’t be able to clear your beard hair in one pass. Instead, you may have to make several passes, when going with the grain. However, in the end your skin will be in better condition, and you will be avoiding the irritation that you may get with the other method.
When you shave, use short, light strokes. If you apply too much pressure to your skin while shaving, you increase the chance of irritating your skin. To avoid this problem, use short strokes with minimal pressure. With longer strokes, you are more likely to apply more pressure, particularly near the middle and end of the stroke. If you have a sharp razor, light pressure should be adequate for a clean shave.
If your blades are dull, you’ll need to apply more pressure. If you’ve ever tried to cut a tomato using a dull knife, then you know what I mean. A dull knife might cut the tomato, but in the process it will tear at the skin. It’s the same with your face; a dull blade creates drag, which tears at your facial hair. If your whiskers are not cut cleanly, then you stand a greater chance of getting ingrown hairs and irritated skin. That’s one of the benefits of a safety razor; the blades are inexpensive so you can change them often.
After you’re finished shaving, rinse your face with cold water. The cold water will help close up your pores. If your pores are left open, you’ll increase the probability of ingrown hair.
After you rinse, apply some shaving balm or moisturizer to your skin. You’ve just scraped a sharp piece of metal across your skin, so it will not be happy, no matter how careful you are. An aftershave may feel relaxing, but for some men it can increase irritation. Test out some products, if you find that your skin is irritated, eliminate the after shave. If aftershave irritates your skin, you can try applying a shaving balm or aloe-vera based cortisol cream to your skin which should reduce the irritation. These products are available at most drugstores.
After shaving, be sure to dry your blades using a towel. Wet blades become dull faster than dry ones. If you use a brush, dry it so that it’s ready for the next shave. You can purchase a holder that will let the brush air dry. Remember, a wet brush can grow bacteria that can lead to razor burn.