You’ve been shaving for years and think you have your routine down. But like the saying goes, old habits die hard. Make sure you're not sabotaging your shave with these simple mistakes.
1. Shaving before you get in the shower
It’s easier to tackle your 5 o’clock shadow while the skin is both warm and damp. Ideally, you want to shave while you’re still in the shower or right after you get out. The steam and warm water will help soften your beard so you’ll have an easier time removing stubble.
2. Not preparing your skin for the razor
Don’t even think about shaving without soaping up first. Not washing your face beforehand can lead to acne breakouts, razor burn, irritation and other issues. But not just any soap will do. Choose a cleanser that helps soften your whiskers instead of harsh soaps that strip the skin of its natural oils. We recommend pairing the Clarisonic Alpha Cleanse Facial Cleanser with the Clarisonic Alpha Fit Sonic Cleansing System for Men. This cleansing brush removes dirt, sweat and oil while preparing skin for a smoother, closer shave.
3. Skipping pre-shave oil
You might think you don’t need pre-shave oil, especially if you’re using shaving cream. But this oil actually creates a protective layer across your skin, helping to increase razor glide and cut down on irritation. One of our favorites is The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil because it protects skin and softens the beard without leaving behind an oily residue. A few drops will ensure a smoother shave.
4. Using a drugstore shaving cream
When you reach for a no-name can of shaving cream, your face is really going to suffer. Skip the drugstore shaving foam in favor of a higher quality formula. A lot of drugstore brands include alcohol, which dries the skin out and causes irritation. Instead, go for a soothing formula like ELEMIS Time for Men Skin Soothe Shave Gel. This aloe vera-based gel contains microcapsules of marine extracts and jojoba oil that burst to release intense soothing properties. In fact, this shave gel is a favorite of LovelySkin’s very own Dr. Joel Schlessinger, board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon. It’s a staple in his daily shaving routine.
“ELEMIS Skin Soothe Shave Gel is just a fantastic shave gel,” Dr. Schlessinger says. “It works with jojoba beads and aloe vera to keep your skin clear and protected while shaving.”
If your beard is especially wiry, let the formula work its magic for a minute before you start to shave. This helps soften the hair, so you won’t need to go over the same spot more than once. More passes of your razor means more irritation.
5. Not using a shaving brush
Hands off! Grab a brush. A good shaving brush evenly distributes the product throughout your beard, making it easier to shave. When shopping for the right one, remember that natural hair is better than synthetic. Badger hair brushes like The Art of Shaving Pure Badger Brush Black are ideal because they lift the hair up and away from the face while coating your stubble with shaving cream. These brushes also gently exfoliate the face. If you take good care of your shaving brush (rinse it well after every use and hang it upside down to dry), it should last you years.
6. Using a razor with dull blades
This might come as a shock to you—the number of blades on your razor doesn’t matter as long as the blade you’re using is sharp. If it’s been a while since you changed your blade, you’re probably getting some irritation. The key to a smooth, hassle-free shaving experience is a sharp razor. If you shave every day, it’s best to change your blades every week or two. Additionally, if you see a nick in the blades, it’s time to toss it. If you’re in need of a good razor, we especially like the Baxter of California Double Edge Safety Razor.
7. Shaving against the grain
You’ve heard it time and time again. Your dad wasn't messing with you when he said to always shave in the same direction that your hair grows. Going against the grain of the hair will tug at your stubble instead of creating a smooth cut. You might not get as close of a shave, but you’ll save yourself the pain of razor burn, ingrown hairs and other irritation. Additionally, be careful not to apply too much pressure. A lot of guys think they can get a closer shave if they just press harder, but this only causes more irritation.
8. Not protecting yourself against inflammation
Even if you don’t feel it right away, irritation can easily sneak up on you. Follow your grooming routine with a quick rinse of cold water, which will help reduce any inflammation, then apply a little Jack Black Post Shave Cooling Gel to hydrate and soothe your skin.
9. Attempting a quick shave.
Finally, don’t rush through your shaving routine. Always take the time to prepare your skin for your razor and never rush the process. If you don’t have enough time to dedicate to shaving, it’s better to show off your stubble.
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