Shave Right. Shave Smart.

February 9, 2011

Think you know how to shave?

Think again.

The man behind Pacific Shaving Company (Mr. Stan Ades) shares his tips on mastering the perfect shave. No more irritation. No more ingrown hairs.

Read and learn.

- Marisa

For most men and women, shaving is not the enjoyable ritual that many marketers would lead you to believe. In reality, it is a daily chore that must be endured, is often rushed — and frequently painful. As your mom taught you, when you rush things you make mistakes — and in the shaving business, those mistakes can be bloody.

Here are five simple tips that will keep your skin, your razor and your wallet equally happy.

1. Struggling with ingrown hairs? Less is more.

If your skin is particularly sensitive or prone to ingrown hair, consider stepping back from that four, five or six-blade razor you are using. That may be the primary cause of those unsightly and uncomfortable red bumps.

Remember those razor commercials where they show each subsequent blade lifting and cutting the hair follicle lower to give you that super-close shave? Well, they weren’t lying. The problem is that it works too well. After multiple cuts, the hair follicle is below the surface of your skin. As it grows back, it begins to curl under before breaking the skin. The result: ingrown hairs.

Nowadays, disposable two and three-blade razors get the job done well, without going overboard. (I use Gillette Comfort Plus blades or the still-great Gillette Sensor – if you can still find replacement blades.) Give yourself a couple weeks with fewer blades and you’ll see the difference.

2. Prone to razor rash? Cool it.

If you are prone to post-shave irritation and razor rash, consider changing your regimen slightly: don’t shave with hot water. I know it may sound counter-intuitive to everything you’ve probably heard, but give it a shot. That doesn’t mean shave dry (see below). It just means use cold water instead of warm (this is probably best attempted out of the shower). Warm water opens up your pores and all that good stuff, but it also draws the blood closer to the surface of the skin, which can lead to redness and irritation.

3. Tempted to dry-shave? Resist.

We all find ourselves hurrying from time-to-time, but don’t dry-shave – even if you’re in a rush. You’ll get a jagged, coarse shave that will likely be uncomfortable and far from smooth. Even for quick touch-ups, splash some water on your face to soften/hydrate your hair follicle. Think of your whiskers like pieces of spaghetti. If you try to cut through it dry and uncooked, it results in a sharp, jagged edge. Cut through that same noodle once it’s cooked and wet and you’ll get much smoother results.

5. What’s your product IQ?

The true measure of a comfortable shave is not about the razor, but ultimately the products you put on your skin to provide lubrication and protection. Do you know what’s in your shaving cream or oil?

Seek out products that are:

Good for the skin: The skin is the body’s largest organ, so it’s a good idea to consider what you put on it Take a look at the ingredients in your shaving products. Are they safe? Natural? Organic? If you’re unfamiliar with — or can’t pronounce — the majority of the ingredients – stay away. That goes for alcohol and other skin-drying ingredients, too.

Good for the wallet: A little goes a long way when you use products with quality ingredients. Consider the overall value of each product you’re about to buy. How many shaves does that can or bottle really hold? Skipping one morning latte can fund three months of a quality shaving product.

Good for the earth: How do big, bulky cans of shaving cream affect the environment? Before purchasing consider the effort and resources used to carry the can through the supply chain and remember the landfills they’ll end up in. Look for smaller, more concentrated products that pack an even bigger punch.


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