01 July 2008

Shave and live to tell the tale

In your teens you were proud to say, “Oh, that’s where I cut myself shaving." But there comes a time in every man's life where he needs to learn to shave. Here's how.


In your teens you were proud to say, “Oh, that’s where I cut myself shaving." But unless you were very good at it or completely narcissistic, this rite of passage to manhood was a novelty that quickly palled. Here’s how to survive having to shave daily.

Soften up
Warm water softens you hair and opens the pores, decreasing the trauma to the skin. So wash your face thoroughly with soap and warm water. Many men also use a hot, wet towel to do this. It invigorates the skin, but don’t use scalding water, as this can lead to skin damage, dryness and infections.

Rather use warm water and hold the towel to your face for a couple of minutes.

Brush up
Use an old-fashioned badger-hair shaving brush to put on shaving cream or gel. This will help the hair to stand up in preparation for the Big Shave. Try a good shaving cream like Gillette’s Vitamin Enriched Shaving Foam or Clinique’s M-Shave Aloe Gel. Leaving the gel or cream on your face for a minute or so before shaving will soften the hair and skin further.

Make the cut
There are plenty of nifty multi-blade razors on the market. And yes, they’ll give you a close shave. But shaving too close to the skin may aggravate ingrown hairs. Try a single-blade razor, which will shave you less close to the skin, but may help reduce razor bumps and infected follicles.

Go with the grain
Most blokes have hair that faces in different directions. The stubble on the cheeks slopes downwards, while that on the neck points upwards or even straight out. Shave with the grain. Some blokes shave twice – once with the grain and once against, reapplying shaving cream before round two.

But if your skin is sensitive you might find this leads to ingrown hairs. So your might prefer to shave just once and live with the five o’clock shadow.

Mop up
Rinse your face with warm water. Do the warm-water facecloth routine again, then rinse off with cool water to close the pores. A stick of pure alum will help soothe the skin and close up any nicks on the face.

Finish off with a tonic that soothes the skin. Avoid after-shave lotions which contain alcohol. - (William Smook, updated June 2008)


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