Shaving Etiquette

It’s unsightly, unforgiving and a problem that nearly all men face, but shaving rash can be avoided if you embrace your inner metro-sexual and get behind the growing trend that is men’s skincare.

Many Kiwi guys tend to have a pretty inconsistent approach to skincare, but the truth is that good products before and after shaving are a must to keep your skin smooth and free of those ugly red bumps and lumps.

Dermatologists have long known about the benefits of a pre and post shave skincare regime. According to leading New Zealand dermatologist Dr Mark Gray, more male patients are proactively seeking advice on how to treat their skin during the shaving process and which products are best to address their skin issues.

“Although men have become more sophisticated regarding their grooming routine, I think simple is best when it comes to the pre-shave, shaving and post-shave process,” Dr Gray says.

Dr Gray believes preparation plays a critical role in elevating the shaving experience. “I recommend washing the face with a mild, soap-free cleanser, as ordinary bar soap may dry the skin of its natural moisture. An exfoliating cleanser, such as those containing small beads, may be beneficial for men with oilier skin”.

Washing your face and neck helps to remove the natural oils and perspiration that inhabit water penetration.  Although bear hair is as tough as copper wire, applying warm water causes hair to expand, making it softer and easier to cut.  The force required to cut beard hair is reduced by almost 70 percent after a two-minute application of warm water.

Although water is the essential softening agent, the water absorbed by hair quickly evaporates, leaving the hair in its original rigid state.  Shaving gel provides a protective blanket that prevents the evaporation of water and keeps beard hair soft during the shave.

“Many men may not recognise the importance of shave gel for the closeness and comfort of their shave. In reality, the right shave gel can make the difference between a good shave and a great shave,” says Dr Gray.

The next step is a close shave and technique is the key.  Make sure your blade is fresh and use light, gentle strokes when shaving.  Rinse the razor frequently to prevent the buildup of hairs and shaving gel on the blade edges and in the cartridge.  

Shave cheeks, sides of the face and neck first.  The toughest whiskers grow on the chin and around the lips so shave these areas last, as more time soaking in shaving gel will soften them further.

After shaving, rinse your face and neck with cool water and pat dry before applying a light moisturizer or after-shave balm.

 “Men’s skin is typically coarser, thicker and greasier than women’s. A light, non-greasy formula works well for men to help restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier,” Dr Gray says.

Once you’ve got your daily regime down pat, you’ll be confident and ready to get in the game.  If you find that after a few weeks you have razor burn still hanging around it may be hereditary and something that skincare alone can’t fix.  If that’s the case, have a chat to a doctor or dermatologist who will be able to give you the right advice because let’s face it, leaving the house without a paper bag over your head is always the best option.

This article was brought to you by:

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  • 1234 says
    Ahah sweet article. Amazing how many people get it wrong after doing it every day for years.
  • Masaki says
    I was getting it completely wrong all this time
  • William says
    The comment about using an exfoliating cleanser is a good one.
    I use one and you know when you have two to three days growth and the rash that can ensue after having a shave?

    Well...when you wash your face with the exfoliant, massage it in for a bit and you'll find it helps to soften the growth and make your shave less of a drag....pun intended!

    I suggest doing the wash in the shower - combined with the hot water and the exfoliant it really does leave the beard softer.

    And I strongly recommend (if you have the time ) the 3 step process.

    It is three separate shaves but it'll give you the cleanest shave of your life without the burn:

    1. Shave with the grain of your beard (do not tempt yourself and go against it on this run). RInse when finished and place a hot flannel over your face for a couple of minutes.

    2. Fresh hot water. Shave against the grain. Flannel again.

    3. Fresh hot water. Shave with the grain. Rinse.

    This is old school and pretty much how to use a cut throat bu using a modern blade.

  • Shane says
    What's the deal with the cost of blades? I know it's only approx $20 for 4/5 blades which last you 3-4 months but it always seems heaps for what they are....

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