How did shaving even become a thing?
On average, women shave about 12 times a month; 75 percent of men shave every day. Shaving is, to put it plainly, big business, and there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Ready to throw your razor out with the bath water? Check out these tips first. Unfortunately, poor shaving technique can lead to pain, irritation, and unsightly razor burn. If you’re ready to give up your razor and go au naturel, we don’t blame you. But mastering proper shaving techniques will make the process more tolerable—and there’s a good chance you’re doing it wrong.
First of all, don’t dry shave. Ever. No, seriously, don’t do it. Razors need some kind of lubricant so they can glide smoothly across your skin and cut the hair efficiently. Pulling blades across dry skin creates friction, which leads to severe razor burn, cuts, and other nasty business. Adding hydration can reduce the force required to cut the hair by up to 70 percent. You should always use some kind of product on your skin. Don’t think shaving cream is the only option for lathering up, though. You can use hair conditioner, baby oil, body lotion, or even aloe vera gel for a smooth shave. Coconut oil is another great shaving cream alternative for people with sensitive skin. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have any kind of products available, you can at least use water (although experts disagree about whether hot or cold water is better for the shave). Just don’t ever go dry.
2. Take it easy.
Don’t push on your skin. It shouldn’t take much pressure to get a close shave. When you press on your razor while also pulling your skin taut, you’re creating an uneven surface for the blades to pass over. That uneven surface makes it easier for nicks to occur. Additionally, too much pressure causes the blades to cut hair below the surface of your skin, making you more susceptible to razor burn and ingrown hairs. Use a light touch. You should never feel like your razor is tugging or scraping against your skin. If you ever feel that sensation, stop and take a moment to reassess the pressure and check the blade. Remember, old razors can also cause a scraping feeling, so be sure to change your blades regularly.
3. Scrub first, shave second.
Exfoliation is crucial, as it removes the top layer of dead skin cells, allowing your razor to pass over your skin easily. As the American Academy of Dermatology points out, however, exfoliants aren’t all equal. If you have acne or other persistent skin issues, check with a dermatologist before using any sort of exfoliant. Likewise, if you have any lingering irritation from a previous shave, you can skip this step until your skin heals completely. When done properly, scrubbing off the dead skin cells can improve circulation, reduce pore size, minimize acne and breakouts, and give your skin a healthy glow. Here are some great DIY recipes for body scrubs that will make you and your skin feel great.
4. Don’t skip the lotion.
The combination of exfoliating and shaving can leave the top layer of your skin dehydrated, so moisturize as soon as you’re out of the shower. Use lotion or oils while your skin’s still damp to lock in moisture. Coconut or jojoba oil are great all-natural moisturizers, but remember, if you’re using oils, a little goes a long way. Also remember that every skin type is different, so try different products and processes to see what works for you. If you still have razor bumps, pain, or other inflammation with every shave, see a dermatologist. There’s no reason to suffer in silence.