You’ve been handling a razor since you were 15, but the only real instruction you got was to lather up and go with the grain. Years later, not much has changed in your routine — which is why you’re probably not getting the most out of your daily shave.
Check out these common mistakes men make when it comes to shaving, and how to do it the right way.
Mistake #1: Prepping with Cold Water
Cold water shrinks your pores to a size that makes it hard for shaving creams to properly penetrate, and tougher for the razor to do its job. Wash your face first with warm water to help open pores and soften your stubble. “You always want to prepare using either a hot towel or a steam room,” says master barber Steve Gonzalez at the Art of Shaving in Los Angeles. “The more heat you can apply to the beard area, the softer the hair will become, which makes it easier to cut.”
Mistake #2: Skipping the Pre-Shave Lube
You want a smooth shave? You need well-moisturized skin. Massage a pre-shave product like The Art of Shaving’s Pre-Shave Oil with Sandalwood Essential Oil into your beard area and let it sit for a few minutes to work its magic. Banish the image of your face slathered in Crisco: Quality pre-shave oils are light and formulated to moisturize without leaving goopy residue.
Mistake #3: Using Canned Foam
The creams that come in cans at the drugstore have one thing going for them: They’re cheap. But you’ll likely pay mightily in redness and razor burn, because these foams are generally not formulated to be gentle on your facial skin. “Shaving exfoliates the top layer of skin, exposing new skin that needs to be moisturized and protected,” says grooming expert Vaughn Acord, who has styled the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Brady and others. “You need a shaving cream that includes oils and ingredients that nourish the skin.” Acord’s V76 Clean Shave Hydrating Gel Cream uses a liposphere delivery technology to coat the skin with vitamin E and aloe to lock in moisture.
Mistake #4: Shaving Against the Grain
“This is the most common mistake I see guys making,” says Gonzalez. “You should always shave in the same direction as the hair growth first, to avoid causing razor burn, irritation or ingrown hairs.” So which direction is that, exactly? Facial hair growth varies, but you can suss out your pattern by lightly running your hand over your 5 o’clock shadow from different directions. You’ll feel less prickliness when you brush in the direction of hair growth; shave from that approach.
Mistake #5: Using Aftershave with Alcohol
So you’ve just sloughed off the top layer of cells and exposed that raw, baby skin underneath. Fine time to douse it in stinging alcohol, no? Right. Although some men enjoy the “tingling” feel of alcohol-based aftershaves, what you’re really doing is drying out your skin instead of protecting it. “Look for an aftershave with naturally-based ingredients like shea butter that coat the skin and lock in moisture,” says Gonzalez.
Source: Men's Journal