I have a client that has HORRIBLE razor burn and ingrown hairs all the time. His hair (on his head) is quite curly so I assume this is most of the problem. Do any of you have any suggested products or tricks to minimize these issues.
SIDE NOTE: I finally got him to stop shaving with a bar of soap. I urge you to do the same!! And start shaving in the shower or right after. It makes it a million times easier.
He actually may want to go to his doctor. Most men have in-grown hairs because they've never learned to shave properly, but people who are born with curly hair have it much more difficult. There are a wide array of products for African-American men, who are most affected by this and they actually work well at preventing ingrown hair.
- Shave after shower
- Try a sensitive skin shaving gel (Nivea makes a good one)
- Try shaving every two days instead of every day for a few weeks
- If all fails, invest in a beard trimmer
Sometimes, it depends on what he's using. We here would all like to pretend that a safety razor works the best for everyone, but some skin responds better to an electric shaver. If he hasn't experienced both, recommend that he try the other for a little while to see how it goes.
Additionally, I'm going to agree with shaving less frequently. Not only does it cause less irritation to the skin, but it also gives you that rugged stubble that's in style these days (assuming he can develop such a shadow in 3-4 days).
OR, he could just beard it up. You don't have to worry about ingrown hairs if each hair is extended at least a half-inch from the face.
While the stock answer for many of us would be for your friend to switch to a DE, I think that's a bit further down the road for him. Probably some basic things would make life easier. 1) A good shaving cream. If you have to go canned (ugh) Nivea or Aveeno work pretty well. Of course, you could introduce him to a shaving brush and a cream that's inexpensive like Proraso or Musgo Real that's not hard to whip into a lather. 2) Teach him to do one pass at a time and then relather with each pass. Too often with multiblade razors, guys just keep going back over the same spots and there's no lather. Lather-one pass-relather-another pass. May take a little more time but should do wonders for the burn and ingrowns.
1 Pick and prepare razor:
I use straight razors, so I try to pick one that I did not use yesterday, or the day before. After I've picked my razor I give it a quick sharpen on a hanging leather strop, then a quick rinse to remove any dust or particals.
2 Prepare face:
I wash my face with the hottest water I can stand, dry it, then press a hot towel against my face and neck for a few seconds. This relaxes booth the hair and your mind preparing you for the task at hand.
I use a sandalwood shaving soap from a supplier on German st in London, and a badger hair brush, finding the right soap for your face is important, as is using a brush with rounded bristles, as non-round bristles push the hair into your skin. Badger hair is probably the best materiel to make a shaving brush out of because the hair is soft, and round.
Again using the hottest water you can stand apply a small amount to the soap, dip the brush and stir in small quick circles whipping up the lather. Apply the lather to your face brushing along the grain.
I take the razor in my left hand (I'm heavily left handed) and start with the left side of my face, shaving down against the grain, then the left side of my neck. I use my right hand to pull the skin tight in the area I'm shaving as I find this gives the best results. I continue to the right side of my face, then neck, then upper lip, leaving the chin and whiskers at the middle of the neck till last because they are the hardest, and more time in the lather lets them soften. The grain of the hairs on your chin is in 3 directions, the sides go out towards your cheeks, the bottom grows down towards your neck, and the top grows up towards you lower lip. I cut them in that order in those directions.
I rinse my face with hot water, check for any missed hairs, if found re lather, and give that patch another going over. I also check to be sure my side burns are even, and neat.
When all is well I press another hot moist towel over my face to sooth and relax the skin. Any errant hairs are removed with tweezers, then a post-shave moisturizer by Chanel is applied.
The razor is rinsed, shaken dry, and left on a towel to air dry while I rinse the brush, which is then hung bristles down to maintain its shape. the soap is rinsed, and re-turned to the cabinet with the razor.
When I began this regime it took me 45 mins to an hour, now i do it in 20-30, and can rush it in 15 if I'm running late. I find I leave the house more relaxed, refreshed, awake, and better looking even after a long night out.
I also rock a straight razor and have found that it makes you focus much more on the shave and thus avoid razor burn. You have to take your time(20-30 minutes), which is good in a world where everyone is rushing around. The only differences in our routine is that I wash my face with cold water after the shave to close up the pores and use a lavender soap as I have sensitive skin, which led me to the straight razor in the first place.
For me, on my work days I shave in the shower to get a close shave as I tend to take hot showers. On my off days, I use my mug and brush at the sink taking my time to get a close shave. I will give my face a break only once a week from shaving as my wife tends not to want to kiss me ... go figure eh it's only 100 grit sandpaper.
I'd suggest he start using a straight razor or a double-edge (DE) safety razor. Ingrown hairs are a problem because of the "lift-and-cut" system that disposable razors employ these days. The straight razors and DEs only have one edge so none of that lift-and-cut is going on. There is a learning curve with the razors. There is a lot less pressure that needs to be used and in the case of the straight, there is the possibility of maiming oneself. For the maiming to occur it would have to take a combination of severely poor planning, horrible technique, and flat-out bad luck.
DE razors can be readily found in antique stores and on the net. They're heavier than disposable razors (except for those high-end silver, horn, brass handles that one can buy for their Mach 3 or Fusion) and initially they're slightly more expensive at about 10-15 dollars for the old, used ones or he can purchase a new one from a company called Merkur. Initial cost may be a few dollars more but blades are where this thing really saves money. Most likely they will have to be ordered online because not too many brick-and-mortar stores carry them any more but a pack of 100 can be had for anywhere from 20-50 bucks. If a new blade is used every three shaves that can cover almost a whole years worth of shaving if he shaves every day and it costs the price of 15 disposable heads (on the average.)
My personal favorite combination in the DE realm (there are literally thousands of combinations between DEs and their blades) is the Gillette Tech Ball End ($10) and Feather Hi-Stainless blades. Feather is a company that is known for their medical instruments (scalpels and the such) but their razors are hands down the sharpest blades out there. Combine these two products with a hot shower, some Cremo Shaving Cream, Mod Spa Avocado Shaving Cream, or a nice soap from Ogallala Bay Rum and a good badger brush and he should have those ingrown hairs stopped in no time. He should also invest in aftershave. I personally love Geo F. Trumpers Limes Skin Food. It's great stuff. I also use 10 parts witch hazel to one part vegetable glycerin as a low-cost, superior quality aftershave.
I had the same problem until I started shaving with a straight razor. Soften the hair (a nice hot shower will do) lather with a brush and shaving soap, then shave with the straight. Follow with a hot towel and the after shave of your choice. Never had a problem with ingrown hair since...
1.soften hair and skin with hot shower or hot towel
2. use good shaving soap or other facial lubricant
3. sharp razor (you get what you pay for)
4. TAKE YOUR TIME!!!!!! You are shaving, not mowing the grass.
5. Follow with cool water rinse and aftershave.
Razor burn happens because one or more of the above techniques have been neglected, probably rushing the shave with a cheap razor and not following up with an aftershave to condition the skin. Regular hand soap is probably ok to shave with in a post apocalyptic Mad Max world where that is all you've got, but for the rest of us it's a no no. Sounds to me like your customer was simply never taught how to shave properly and probably doesn't know the right way, or that there even is a right way. Good news is that there is a cure for ignorance...
I just purchased my first DE, a red cross gillette tech. Even though my skin has done well with modern razors and crappy gels, i am thoroughly looking forward to finally taking pride in shaving, and doing a little something nice for my ugly mug.
When i first started shaving, it was with tabac soap. I haven't smelled that stuff in a LONG time, it brings back great memories to be using it again (that and it's just terrific stuff!).
Also, shaving with a DE requires skill. Starting your day by doing something skilful prepares you to be manly for the rest of it. I enjoy being proud of myself before i get to work. :p
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