There’s a ton of guides on the internet about shaving and how to do it right. I’ll admit, most of them are pretty good as well. But what everyone skips telling people plainly is what not to do when you’re trying to shave. There’s a lot of ground to cover this way too. Who knew the kind of strokes you pull on your cheeks or anywhere else on the body can actually influence how much razor burn you suffer?
Well, you need to be aware of all this stuff before you go ahead and dig sharp cuts into your skin. Here are things not to do when shaving your beard. Or any body hair, for that matter.
1. No Straight Strokes
Straight strokes might seem easy and intuitive, but they cause a lot of razor burn and also give a really average shave. When you pull straight down or up, the hair often gets little space to move out of the way of the hair that’s about to come in.
This can cause thicker hair to not fall in the full ambit of the razor, and you get a poor, unsightly shave that’s coarser to touch than you want it to be. Instead, curve your strokes to one side so the cut hair slides to a side.
2. Don’t Dig Out Skin
Too many people believe getting a close shave is about getting the hair out from deeper in the skin, and so they dig the skin with the razor.
It doesn’t work. If anything, it’ll only help you get bigger gashes on your skin and razor burn that will hurt for the entire day.
There’s one thing people forget when they dig in with the razor; your skin is not rock. It bends inside when you push it in. So the more you push it, the more distance you put in between the skin and the razor’s blades. Use short, gentle strokes.
3. No Old Razors
This should really be obvious to everyone, but it isn’t. Razors are like any other blade. Even your kitchen knife dulls out after a few weeks. Razors are tinier, and they tend to dull faster too.
Plus, being in contact with moisture, they rust quickly as well, and you don’t want that coming in contact with your skin, and much less with a cut on the skin. After getting the recommended number of shaves from your razor, throw it and get a new one.
Some come with multiple blade replacements that you can use too. You’ll get closer shaves, less cuts and even speed up your mornings a bit.
4. No Aftershaves
Aftershaves are a relic from a time when infection through open cuts was common and people used to die due to them.
You don’t anymore. Your shaving foams often have antiseptic agents in them, and with modern razors, there are fewer cuts to deal with as well. Aftershaves are basically fragrant solutions made primarily of rubbing alcohol, which kills germs that may be found on your skin and also closes pores.
You don’t need that as long as you wash your face after shaving with clean water and some mild soap. Aftershaves also dehydrate your skin. Instead, apply a moisturiser on your skin.
5. No Going Against The Grain
Going against the grain while shaving is a plain invitation to cuts and razor burn. Not only does it give you a poor shave, but going against the grain pulls the skin out making it fall an easy prey to subsequent blades.
It certainly feels like you’re getting more hair out, especially when you feel the hair being plucked out lightly by the sharp edge. But it always gives more pain than it gives profit. Go with the grain and make light strokes.
6. No Skipping Shaving Creams
Shaving creams are essential to shaving properly. They lubricate the movement of the razor on the skin and save you considerable pain. They loosen up hair and dissolve oils that might make the beard hard to remove from the skin and/or blades.
They also keep things sanitary; hair caught in lather is much easier to send down the drain than hair you let drop in the sink while shaving. Even if you use an electric shaver, get one that is lather friendly and you’ll get better shaves each time.
If you run out, you can substitute shaving cream with conditioner or mild shampoo, soap or an antiseptic oil like coconut oil. Only, don’t make a habit out of it.
7. No Ironing Out Ingrown Hair With Your Razor
The problem with body hair is that sometimes, it get confused about the direction it is supposed to wiggle out of, and so it coils within your skin, making a disgusting bump that seems like a really bad dried out pimple.
Such ingrown hair are not themselves bad for you, but they can occasionally cause discomfort and sometimes be the centre of infection.
You can have them removed a couple of ways, but scratching at them with a shaving razor is the worst way to go about it. Not only does it not work, but it also causes you cuts and horrible pain.
8. No Leaving Cuts Unattended
If you shrug off cuts and gashes you get while shaving, you need to stop. It might be a cleaner world now than it was when shaving first began, but cuts still need to be attended to. Washing your face with a mild soap helps.
Having an antiseptic lotion or face cream is useful as well. Bigger cuts might require a band-aid. Leaving a cut unattended can make it hurt for several days.
9. Don’t Shave A Long Beard With A Razor
The biggest error most people commit while shaving has got to be when they try to shave off a month’s growth directly with some foam and razor. Razors are NOT magic! With hair this long and thick, your razor will probably get clogged, and you’ll only have it pulling at your beard, taking only bits of it off at most.
It is really helpful to take the length out of the beard using an electric trimmer or even some carefully wielded scissors if your hair is thin enough.
10. Skipping Moisturiser Afterwards Is A Sin
Moisturisation is important. It saves your skin from looking like it was left on a clothesline.
It keeps pores healthy. It makes you look much more polished than aftershaves too. Rubbing an antiseptic lotion into your skin can keep it free from germs, make razor burns heal faster and makes you feel so much fresher.
11. Do Not Go Over The Same Area Again
That is, if you aren’t in love with how razor burn feels. Going over the same area over and over will irritate skin, and it can also make you prone to razor burns. If you feel there is more hair on the surface than you like, examine and ask yourself if it is visible.
If not, you can get it the next day. But if you really need to take it all out as close as possible, don’t go beyond a second application of foam followed by a single, gently pulled and curved stroke in sync with the grain of the hair.
A Quick Recap
To keep things simple, here is a short summary of what we just talked about in our shaving guide.
Basically, you need to use short, gentle, curved stroked if you want to get a close shave. This also saves you a lot of discomfort from cuts and razor burns.
Using this guide, it will become effortless to shave your facial as well as body hair. Be sure to use gentle strokes and avoid repeating strokes at the same place. Happy grooming!