Change Your Shave And Save Your Face
Razor: I can’t tell you what to use to shave yourself with, but I will recommend one. As a guy, I only shave my face and for that I can only use a razor, a safety razor at that.
In high school I was fooled by countless commercials of fancy razors with a half a dozen blades with gel strips that promised a perfect shave. I ended up buying a few, they’re quite expensive as you can imagine. For a lot of people, these mainstream 6 blade systems work fine, but I wasn’t happy with it. I opted for a safety razor mainly because my dad uses one, and his dad used one. They had to be doing something right because from what I saw, they had pretty clean shaves with no irritation. You can even Google “safety razor” and you’ll see that there’s a strong following, shaving enthusiast/experts will use nothing else.
In a safety razor, there’s only one blade that sticks out of both sides, kind of like a capital "T" but with a blade on top. They can be known as “DE” Razors or double edged, unlike the multiple blade systems on the market that only use multiple slanted blades on one side.
Instead of pulling hairs, like a multiple blade razor, a safety razor cuts right through it for a very clean shave. If this one blade concept seems foreign to you consider this, how many blades does your kitchen knife have? How about your household scissors? Single blades simply cut better and closer. But aside from a great shave, blades are incredibly cheap, extremely cheap in fact when compared to competitors with multiple blades. I normally buy a pack of 5 blades for a dollar.
The one issue you might have is that it can take some getting used to. Using a safety razor was kind of uncomfortable the first few times I tried it, then again it was my first few times shaving and I was just messing around with it. Essentially that direct cutting feeling is different from the multiple blade feeling. If you want to give it a go, I’d suggest using a small patch of hair as a test area just to see you it feels, maybe even wait a while to see if any razor irritation comes up. Safety razors can cost as little as $10 and go up into the $100s.
Shave Direction: The day I stopped shaving upward was the day I began to treat my skin better. I was dealing with ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and cuts more often than I would have liked. My face just wasn’t healing the way that t should and shaving was painful, I couldn’t figure it out until one day I shaved downward in a rush. After I was done I noticed that I didn’t suffer any nasty nicks and realized that I didn’t have razor bumps.
As time went on I continued to not only shave downward, but from the side. Ear to mouth in a downward/ side sloping motion, this can help you get an ever closer shave. Essentially you want to shave with the grain in short, even strokes. Experts tend to suggest shaving in this style. And don’t forget to wash the blade after every stroke; you don’t want all that dead skin and hair you shaved off your face to be reapplied. Avoid wiping your blade on a towel or napkin as it will dull your blade faster.
While I enjoyed not dealing with aggravated skin issues, there was one small downside- the closeness of my shave. Shaving upward means you’ll get in close, sometimes too close which explains issues like razor bumps and ingrown hairs, going on a downward motion eliminates that. In the end I didn’t mind not getting a shave that was as close before, it only meant that I’d have a little bit of stubble sooner. However, I was happy that I avoided skin irritation and my skin looks/felt better more and more.
Soap: This was my final change to achieve ultimate success in shaving. For a good while I was using shaving gels that come out of the can. You take a little, rub it in your hand, and then apply it. Unfortunately I didn’t realize that I wasn’t getting the closest shave possible. So I bought shaving soap and a brush, like the old days long before my time.
Shaving soaps are normally pretty simply made and are filled with essential oils if you get it from a good manufacturer, if you’re concerned about what’s in them; there are some organic ones on the market. If you do decide on shaving soap, you need a badger hair brush. The soap is great but almost useless without the brush. Badger hair is soft, yet firm enough to make a good lather. It also allows you to put the lather on your face easily. The difference between using your hand and the brush is that the brush is able to lubricate all around your hairs so you can get a closer and softer shave. The other good news is that these small round bars of soap last a very long time. You can get anywhere from a months use to a years use out of them. It can be tricky in the beginning because you’re trying to figure out the ratio of water to soap to achieve the perfect lather but you’ll pick it up after a couple of shaves.
Two all natural shaving soaps in wooden cases plus a badger hair brush will cost you $36 from Soaptopia. There’s also products from Edwin Jagger, they boast, “All Edwin Jagger shave creams and soaps are paraben and paraffin free, 99% natural ingredients and contain natural beeswax and glycerin.”
Shaving can be an overlooked part of your beauty treatment for both men and women. After reading Danny’s article, there's a good chance that the benefits of shaving are there- if done correctly. If you aren’t happy with your shave, try one of these tips.