Facial hair is one thing that separates the men from the boys. Most youngsters can’t wait for that first shaving experience. But the truth is, once you start shaving, you’ll realize that you were better off when you didn’t have to shave. Trust me, it’s one hell of a job. Maybe that’s why most Oriental swamis sport long beards.
Jokes apart, shaving is a personal hygiene activity that requires your complete dedication and utmost care. Men must know some basic facts about the skin and the art of shaving. So, here are 9 important details that you must pay attention to in order to achieve that perfect shave.
1. Direction Of Hair Growth
Before you begin shaving, you must observe the pattern in which the hair grows on your face. The direction of hair growth must be ascertained as this is an important aspect of shaving. This is also called as grain mapping, where a picture of the face is used to draw arrows that indicate the direction of hair growth. Experts normally do not recommend shaving against the hair growth as it can cause skin irritation and result in ingrown hair. But, some people shave against the direction of hair growth to achieve a closer shave. However, you must never start off by going against the grain. You should always begin by going with the grain and then, if required, shave across or against the grain.
2. Warm Up Your Face
This is the second step in the fine art of shaving and a very important one too. Before you begin shaving, rinse your face with warm water or wrap your face with a warm towel. This helps in opening the skin pores and softening the facial hair. This makes shaving easier and causes less irritation to the skin. Warm water makes the hair to stand up enabling you to get a closer shave in one go.
3. Use Shaving Creams
A good shaving cream is just as important as a good shaving blade. There are various gels and creams that are available in the market today, but they are not as effective as the shaving soap or lathering cream. The new-age gels and creams in aerosol cans contain harmful chemicals and may do more harm than good. Moreover, the traditional method of working up a lather with a shaving brush is more effective in softening the stubborn hair.
4. Use A Shaving Brush
The latest shaving gels and foams require you to use your fingers to spread the gel or foam over the shaving area. Using a shaving brush is far more effective as it distributes the cream into the hair follicles and makes it much easier to shave. A brush helps raise the hair for the closest shave possible. It also helps work up a rich creamy lather with the shaving cream. A shaving brush acts as an exfoliator that helps remove dead skin cells and draws out the hair on your face.
5. The Razor Edge
The truth about getting a close shave is you must make multiple passes at your beard from different directions, and not make multiple passes from the same direction. This means that the latest razors equipped with 3, 4, 5, or more blades is really useless and only irritates the skin more. Moreover, these multiple blade razors are expensive and harder to maintain. Instead, consider using a razor with just 2 disposable blades, or a safety razor that come with replacement blades, both of which are inexpensive and effective. Although a straight razor is most effective, it requires practice and technique to prevent a bloodied face.
6. Apply Shaving Cream Before Re-shaving
Never re-shave the same spot without reapplying the shaving cream and avoid multiple back-and-forths passes with the razor. If some areas still have a stubble, reapply the cream and then shave. Shaving the same spot multiple times causes cuts and razor burns. Using a good quality shaving cream and brush makes the shaving effective in the first pass.
7. Rinse With Cold Water
After you finish shaving, rinse your face with cold water. This has the opposite effect as rinsing with warm water. Rinsing with cold water closes the skin pores that were opened when you washed it with warm water. Cold water makes the contact and shuts off the pores preventing any dust or irritants from entering the skin.
8. Aftershave Is Important
Aftershaves are available in a variety of compositions and fragrances. Select an aftershave depending on your skin type. For that, first determine the type of skin you have. Skin types are dry, oily, sensitive, and normal. And, aftershaves are of two types – balms and splashes. Balms help sooth and moisturize the skin and are best suited for a sensitive and dry skin. Splashes are effective in cleansing the skin and provide antibacterial protection and are best for a regular or oily skin.
9. Moisturize Your Skin
A close shave may remove up to two layers of your skin and the oils along with it causing the skin to dry. Apply a moisturizer to soothe and protect your skin after shaving. Moisturizers replace the lost moisture, refresh the skin and reduce the burning sensation that usually follows a shave. Select a moisturizer that is quickly absorbed by the skin and avoid creams that make your face greasy. Using alcohol-based aftershaves can sometimes aggravate the skin irritation.