Industry insiders predict that around 60% of men think they have sensitive skin, and while many men are hampered by hypersensitivity, the number isn’t anywhere near that in reality. The main reason for this misunderstanding is that bad shaving practices can often leave your skin feeling tight, sore and looking less than its best.
Because shaving is a fact of life for so many men (like being wrong in arguments with women, or innately being able to read maps), we assume that we all know how to shave correctly. But the truth is, there are several common mistakes made by men of all ages that contribute to all kinds of shaving dilemmas. Irradiate these mistakes from your performance, and you’re much more likely to achieve a smoother, more comfortable shave.
1. Inadequate preparation
As the old saying goes; “fail to prepare and you prepare to fail”, so before you jump straight in with your razor and tear up your face, you’ll need to do a bit of ground work. Firstly you need to wash your face with warm water in order to open your pores, gently exfoliate the skin, bring out ingrown hairs and raise your beard. I recommend the A’Kin pureMAN Dual Action Face Wash & Scrub as it cleans and exfoliates – taking care of two jobs for the price of one.
If your beard is particularly course, or your skin extra sensitive, it may also be a good idea to use a pre-shave oil such as the King of Shaves AlphaOil Shaving Oil as a base layer. This will further soften your stubble and act as a protective shield for your skin.
Fashionbeans tip: Steam is great for opening open pores and softening stubble, so where possible, shave straight after a shower (or even in the shower if you can).
2. Blunt blades
You may have seen the recent Gillette advert set featuring a ‘shave’ mechanic and some tired looking razor blades. Of course Gillette just want you to buy more of their overpriced blades (a rant for another day), but they are spot on with their theory – you need to regularly change your blades if you have any hope of shaving success.
Depending on the blades you buy, how often you use them, and your beard type you may need to change your blades as often as every 4 or 5 days, which can be very costly.
This is where the all-singing, all-dancing RazorPit Blade Sharpener comes in. Making things a whole lot more cost effective, this brand new shaving gizmo rinses, cleans and maintains your razor blades, so they will last for up to 150 shaves – a snip at under £20.
3. Forgetting to rinse
As you shave, a mixture of product, hair and dead skin builds up on your razor. If you don’t rinse your blade with warm water after every stroke, this build up not only makes your shave less effective, but can further irritate your skin along the way.
4. Shaving against the grain
Shaving against the direction of hair growth (or against the grain as it’s also known) will almost guarantee stressed skin and shaving irritation. Many men are tempted to shave against the grain thinking that this will help then achieve a closer, smoother shave, but unless you are very lucky it will lead to unnecessary skin scraping and a whole host of shaving woes. So if you don’t fancy reaching for the fire extinguisher to put out that shaving rash, always shave with the grain and not against it.
Fashionbeans tip: After a few days growth, run your fingers across your stubble and you should be able to feel the direction of your hair’s growth. Bear in mind that it may not grow in the same direction all over your face, normally growing in the other direction on your neck.
5. Neglecting a post shave routine
In this writers humble opinion, not having a post shave moisturising routine is not only one of the worst shaving crimes, but one of the worst grooming mistakes a man can make. As you’ll have realised by now, shaving puts your skin under a lot of stress, often drying and irritation along the way. A post shave routine is designed to put that moisture back in, extinguish razor burn, sooth and rejuvenate your skin and prevent ingrown hairs.
A product like the Liz Earle For Men After Shaving Moisturiser covers all bases in one targeted product. A calming daily moisturiser that’s light and easily absorbed, it soothes small nicks and razor burn while protecting, moisturising and conditioning for super smooth skin.
If you do tend to suffer from a little shaving rash, then the Clinique For Men Post Shave Soother does a great job of comforting just-shaved skin. A unique after-shave treatment, it actually helps make your beard hair softer and finer over time. so shaving becomes easier.
Fashionbeans tip: Something as simple as splashing your face with cold water after shaving will also help, closing your pores and cooling the skin.
When it comes to shaving, as with the rest of your grooming regime, there is always a way to solve your problems or dilemmas. So take these common mistakes on board and remember that whether it’s a change in a technique or the selection of the correct product, you needn’t suffer in silence.