[Note from Mantic59: as a follow-up to my recent article about shaving gift sets, Sharpologist will be running some “shaving 101” articles to help the newcomers get on board!] For some men, shaving is a sacred ritual, and they need to go through a complex ritual for the perfect shave. However, those chaps are few and far in between. For the rest of us, shaving is tedious, and in many cases, a painful exercise. That is because most of us have never tried doing it right.
The ritual men have something going, and the rest of us can learn a couple of lessons from them. Who knows, maybe we too will become ritualistic when it comes to shaving. It sure beats the hell out of neck rash or a cut.
Here are some of the most common mistakes men make when it comes to shaving.
1. Going against the grain
If you have ever taken the time to study the growth lines on your face, you will have noticed that not all facial hair grows in the same direction.
Most of us try and get it over with as quickly as possible, and we end up shaving against the grain. This might give you a super close shave, but you are irritating your skin, and that is when the rash comes in.
Do yourself a favor and run your fingers along your beard and if you find it prickly and resistant, you are going against the grain. If you find that there are no pricks or no resistance, you are going with the grain, and that is the direction you need to shave in. Mapping the directions on a facial sketch can help.
2. Hacking away
People like myself tend to put shaving off to the last minute. We sometimes go for days without shaving and round about the time when people start to look at us funny, is when we decide to take up the razor again.
The problem with this sort of thinking is that the facial hairs become too long and you end up having to shave yourself into a rash before you are all tidied up. There isn’t anything wrong with leaving your beard for a couple of days.
However, you can invest in a facial hair trimmer to cut everything down to a more manageable length. That will ensure that your beard isn’t too long and that you only have to pull the razor over an area once.
3. Doing it cold
I am not a morning person, so I tend to get up at the last minute and rush through my morning routine, and that includes a shave. It is during those rushed couple of minutes that I tend to nick myself, but what really gets me is the sensitivity of my skin after I have shaven.
The problem with my routine is that my face isn’t ready for a sharp blade to be scraped over its surface. After all these years, our faces have not grown accustomed to shaving. To make matters worse, shaving sensitive skin is a big issue. That is why you should take the time and prepare your face for what is to come. You need to open up your pores and soften the hairs.
Spend an extra couple of minutes in the shower in the morning and soak your face for a while. Alternately, take a towel that was soaked in hot water and wrap that around your face until the towel is cold. You will feel that the shave is much smoother.
4. You are not painting
Your face is not a wall or something where you want to use long strokes for an even finish. This is a surefire way for you to get nicked, or develop some skin irritation.
As stated earlier, your face has a multitude of grains, and if you drag the razor from your sideburns all the way to your throat, your skin will get irritated.
Using shorter strokes will allow you to adjust your shaving direction and stay with the grain. It takes a bit more time to do it this way, but the rest of your day will be pain-free.
5. The closer the better
Most men think that the definition for the perfect shave is a super close shave, but this could not be further from the truth. In fact, trying to get the closest shave possible will probably lead you to press too hard, or to shave the same spot twice.
All this will accomplish is a red complexion and an unhappy face. The best shave is a balanced shave. The hair on your face differs in terms of thickness, length and also the location of the hair. Some areas are easier to shave than others, and you’ll have a cleaner look in those areas.
Always try and apply the same pressure and speed with which you shave. You won’t irritate your skin that easily and your face cuts will go down considerably.
6. No stubble is equal
When you put a couple of guys next to each other, you will immediately notice that some of them have a much darker and dense stubble than others. When you look at a guy like Jason Statham, it seems as if his beard is on steroids. Johnny Depp, on the other hand, has a much more subdued look.
Shaving will differ greatly for them, and where a guy like Jason will be tempted to shave a bit harder, the Johnnys among us will need to have a lighter hand. Applying too much pressure can cause ingrown hair to develop which is a nightmare for any man.
We owe it to ourselves to pay a bit more attention to out shaving habits. It might feel that you are wasting more time. But in the end, if you take a bit more time to do it right, you will also find that you spend less time regretting the shave. Shaving is a chore for most men because it ends up in pain most of the time. When you adjust how you shave and begin to see the effect, you might find yourself enjoying your morning ritual instead of bracing yourself for the burn of the aftershave.
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