A great shave takes a bit of focus, folks. Before sliding the razor across your face, take a moment to study the direction that your hair has chosen to grow in. Note that it may not be the same direction on each part of your face. Once you have a handle on the way your hair is growing, shave with the grain. Shaving oil and low-lather shaving cream are ideal companions to this process as they allow the shaver to actually see where he is shaving. For an even closer shave, take a second pass — sticking with the grain — but wrap it up there. Too many passes can lead to irritation.

Do you know how your facial hair grows?

- Marisa

I know you’re not asking for much: a relatively pain-free, close and comfortable shave.

STOP. Here’s your problem already: like most people, you are probably confusing a “close” shave with a “comfortable” shave.

The secret to a close shave is in the hardware and the hardware only: use a decent razor.

It doesn’t need to be expensive and it doesn’t need to have six blades. In fact, many dermatologists will tell you that three, four, five+ blades aren’t necessary and potentially provide diminishing returns. Those millions and millions of dollars spent advertising shaving products: they are all selling a close shave. But the truth is, it’s pretty easy to get a close shave. If you have a steady hand and aren’t rushed for time, you can even do it with a rock.

The secret to a comfortable shave however is in the software: It’s what you put on your skin.

The products you put on your skin (your body’s largest organ, don’t forget) before, during and after the deed are the very things that get you through the 24 hours in between shaves with skin that stays healthy, looks and feels great, and protects against harsh environmental elements.

You don’t need a long regimen for a close shave. No lather-warmer or hot towels necessary. Regardless of the products you choose to use, here are a few common sense steps to get you on your way to a comfortable shave:

  1. Clean your skin before you shave. Exceptionally clean skin prepares your face for an exceptionally smooth shave.
    Choosing a skin cleanser with a gentle exfoliant will help remove dead skin cells and lift whiskers. (An ounce of prevention here is worth a pound of cure here when it comes to ingrowns.)
  2. Use a shaving cream or oil that is moisturizing and free of harsh chemicals.
    Stay away from alcohol, menthol or other drying ingredients. They might feel tingly, but they are sucking moisture out of your skin. (When your foot falls asleep it feels tingly too, but don’t you feel better when the circulation is there?)
  3. Use a post-shave moisturizer to keep skin soft and supple.
    I know you want to be done after you rinse of the last bit of shaving cream or oil, but take the extra step to moisturize afterward. This doesn’t require reeking of Irish Mist, Morning Dew or a men’s locker room the rest of the day. Something light, free of harsh chemicals and moisturizing is all you need.

Voila! A comfortable shave.

PS: You already look five years younger. Seriously, I’m not just saying that. You do.


As 2012 approaches and you begin to draft your list of New Year’s Resolutions, don’t be afraid to put “no more razor rash” at the top.

Yes, this is your year to beat the painful red bumps that have been plaguing your shaving experience. Razor rash or burn or bumps — or pseudofolliculitis barbae if you want to get technical — form when hairs curl in on themselves and grow back into the skin. This process can lead to major irritation and breakouts. No fun at all.

The quickest way to avoid razor rash is to:

1) Use a high quality shaving product that lubricates the skin.

2) Shave with cold water. Really. Warm water opens up your pores, but it also draws the blood closer to the surface of the skin, which can lead to irritation. So go cold. (Out of the shower is recommended unless you need some serious cooling down.)

- Marisa


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