Sunday, October 28, 2007

Proper Face Shaving

According to James Whittall, a guru on men essentials, you may be taught how to shave by your father. However, it all upstarts live in more enlightened times. So, before you contaminate your progeny with bad shaving habits, take a few moments to review this infinitely more civilized routine.

1. Before you begin to shave, check the way your beard grows.The general rule is to shave in the direction of your hair growth. Usually the beard grows downward toward your neck. But on the neck, hair typically grows in the direction of your chin.

2. Take a warm water shower or use a very warm, damp towel to open your pores and soften your beard. Never use hot water; it dehydrates skin.

3. Apply glycolic facial cleanser to your warm, damp skin. The cleanser buffs away surface skin and fine lines. It also prevents ingrown hairs and razor burn. Rinse off with warm water.

4. Avoid cheap shaving creams, gels, or foams! The price may seem right. But these products use numbing agents like benzocaine which close pores and make your beard very difficult to shave.

5. Apply a shave cream or shave gel in a thin, even layer on your face and neck. Don't use too much. The razor will clog and skip. If you're not in too much of a hurry, let the cream or gel soften your beard for a minute or two. Also, make sure you replace your razor after three or four shaves. If you have a heavier beard, change your razor more frequently.

6. Throughout your shave, use your free hand to keep your skin taut and as flat as possible. This will give you a very close shave, without cuts or nicks. Use short strokes, starting with side burns, cheeks, and neck. Finish with the upper lip and chin. Your whiskers are much heavier here, so the cream or gel will have them whipped into submission by the time you get around to shaving them.

7. Frequently rinse your razor under hot water. If necessary, tap it on the sink to remove clogged hair and cream or gel. This keeps the blade sharp and cleans throughout your shave.

8. When you're done, rinse off your face with cool water. Gently pat your face dry. Do not rub.

9. Never use a cheaper, alcohol-based aftershave. The alcohol stings and dries out your skin. Instead, finish your shave with a moisturizing aftershave balm or gel. It'll keep your skin soft and hydrated. If you have oily skin, a low-alcohol astringent is an acceptable alternative.

This regiment may add about 3 minutes from the usual shaving you do. However, your skin will thank you for this.

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