Let's face it, shaving is an invasive activity. Applying a sharp metal blade to your face cuts hairs but also removes microscopic layers of skin and can cause irritation like ingrown hairs (or razor bumps). Contrary to uninformed opinions, you shouldn't abuse your face to get a close shave. Quite the opposite. These seven simple rules put together by my pals at *Menscience will minimize damage and improve your shaving results.
Shave in the shower: Shaving should be your final step before leaving the shower. The warm moisture of a shower makes hairs soft and plump and opens your pores.
Lubricate: A performance shaving formula should form a slick lubricating cushion to allow shaving blades to glide without scraping. Leave it on your face for a minute before shaving. Some believe that pre-shave oils are unnecessary and are sold to supplement the inadequate lubrication of most shaving products. For product recommendations, see my list of Top Men's Shave Gels and Creams.
Use a face scrub: A gentle scrubbing massage will help open pores, prime follicles and raise stubs for a closer shave. This exfoliation removes dead cells and impurities that can cause acne, ingrown hairs and infection. It will also smooth and renew your complexion.
Use a sharp blade: Discard shaving blades after four or five uses. Unfortunately, they dont stay sharp enough for more than that. Use gentle strokes; dont put too much pressure on the blade.
Avoid irritants: They can damage your skin and create microscopic swelling. Avoid anything that tingles, stings or numbs during or after shaving, when your skin is vulnerable. Stay away from alcohol or strong plant extracts such as menthol, peppermint or citrus.
Post-trauma soothing: Don't skip this step; it is important to calm irritation, balance your skin's moisture content and prevent potential problems such as ingrown hairs or clogged pores. No alcohol! You need proven functional anti-inflammatory and pore-clearing ingredients. For guys who battle with ingrown hairs, I have put together helpful information on treating ingrown hairs and preventing ingrown hairs.
For special occasions: Shave in two steps. First, shave with the grain with very light pressure. Second, reapply a coat of shaving cream and shave against the grain for super-close and smooth results.
*Menscience Androceuticals is a brand which provides a full line of grooming and skincare products developed just for men. They use dermatological-grade ingredients and have been featured in just about every major men's magazine.