How To Shave Daily and Look Sharp For Your Job Without Skin Irritation
The vast majority of men shave, often on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many men also know the agony of nicks and cuts or, even worse, razor burn when they are done. Sensitive skin can be an absolute nightmare, because you will often not shave as often as you would like or need for your job, effectively sacrificing your appearance so that you don't have to experience the burn as often. Luckily, there are plenty of things that you can do in order to have that clean, smooth, comfortable shave, even if you have sensitive skin.
What Is Sensitive Skin?
To understand sensitive skin, and why you have it, you have to learn a little about the skin itself. The skin is actually the largest organ of our body, and the only one that is kept on the outside. Its role is to protect all our other organs, bones, muscles, nerves, and vessels, from external forces. To ensure we are protected, nerve endings are found just underneath the skin, and these respond when something isn't quite right.
Because nerve endings are found just underneath the top layer of the skin, they can detect pollutants, harsh chemicals, and irritants. However, they usually don't respond to these, unless something is wrong in the barrier, which is the top layer of your skin. When you shave, and particularly if you don't shave with the right products, you will destroy some of that barrier. As a result, the nerve endings will feel that there are things that should not be present, leading to redness, stinging sensations, tightness, breakouts, and blotches.
Besides external factors, there are internal factors that can make your skin sensitive as well. The lower layers of your skin are filled with tiny blood vessels and hormones travel to these, telling the cells how they should behave. If there is a change in your hormone levels, for instance if you are stressed, the cells may start to react in a different way. On the skin, this can translated into breakouts, blotches, dryness, and redness.
Shaving for Sensitive Skin
There are a number of key factors to remember if you have sensitive skin, particularly taking into consideration the above. Those key factors are:
- Always wet shave, as this moisturizes and protects your skin.
- Always use a high quality shaving soap or shaving cream that is completely free from chemicals and other potential irritants. Opting for a vegan/plant based ingredient product is the most recommended, as you will know for a fact that all ingredients are clean and natural. You will also need the right accessories, such as a shaving brush to ensure that the shaving cream is much richer than that provided by a can.
- Always use sharp, clean, blades, whether you use a double edge safety razor or a straight razor.
If you have sensitive skin, there is no need for you to grow your beard for many days, just so you don't have to shave as often. Rather, it is about knowing how to shave and when to shave. If you follow the three key factors described above, things should already start to get better.
The following 8 tips will make doubly sure that you end up with a clean face, without any red blisters or other irritations.
Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
The so-called "5 P's" can be used in any area of professional or personal life, including shaving. You must make sure that you are properly prepared for your shave before you start. This means that you should start by softening your facial hairs, using a facial scrub or face wash. Your skin should be properly hydrated, exposing it to warm water for three minutes at least. This will make the facial hairs even softer, and therefore easier to cut. Remember, again, to only use chemical-free products on sensitive skin.
Have the Right Tools on Hand
You can use either a shaving soap or shaving cream (soap is generally classed as better, but requires a bit more work than cream). Don't forget your shaving brush and mug where you can mix up your shaving soap or cream with water to make it richer. Make sure again that the soap or cream are made with natural plant vegan ingredients. They should be non-drying and have a neutral pH level. This will protect your skin from irritation, and it will also prevent you from having small nicks and cuts. Of equal importance is that you have the correct razor, which could be a straight razor or a double edge safety razor. Make sure that your blade is very sharp, so that you do not have to put any pressure on it in order to cut the hairs. The less pressure you use, the better it is for your skin as you will leave the barrier to the nerve endings intact.
Double Check Your Blade
As stated, it is vital that you use a sharp, clean blade. If your blade is dull, you will have to put pressure on it, and the chance of nicks and cuts, and subsequent irritation, is greatly increased. If you notice any discomfort or tugging during your shave, you will need to either replace or sharpen your blade, depending on what type of razor you use.
Get Your Technique Right
The exact technique that you use has to depend on the type of blade that you use. However, with all razors, the goal is to make the blades work for you, rather than the other way around. Your strokes should be gentle and light, gliding over your skin. Do not, under any circumstances, shave against the grain. Contrary to popular belief, you will not get a closer shave by going against the grain. Rather, even the least sensitive skin is likely to build up some irritation if you do this. You must shave with the grain of the hair, so that the hair is cut as closely to the skin as possible. If you find that you are left with stubble, then it is likely that you need a new blade, or that you are not angling your blade properly.
Some people say that once you have shaved yourself with the grain in full, you should shave against the grain once as well, as this will give you the closest possible shave. This is actually true. However, the difference will be truly minimal (your face will feel totally smooth without going against the grain), and it isn't worth the irritation you are almost guaranteed to feel if you do shave against the grain.
Shave in the Right Order
The last two areas of your face you should shave are your upper lip, and the area near and around your mouth. The reason for this is that your skin is the thinnest, and therefore most sensitive, in those areas. By saving them till last, you will make sure that the soap or cream you have used has had a chance to really soak in, leaving your facial hairs super soft and easy to cut off. Do make sure that you use a single blade razor when it comes to the area just underneath your nose.
Rinse All the Time
You must make sure that, while you are shaving, you regularly rinse the blade. This is because the cut hairs and leftover shaving cream or soap will start to build up on the blade. This will prevent the blade from gliding properly.
Check Your Shaving Foam
If you have been shaving and you find that some of the foam has come off areas that you have not shaved yet, make sure you reapply the soap or cream before doing that area. Similarly, if you feel the first shave wasn't enough, you need to repeat everything by covering your face with foam once again. Do not ever shave your skin without there being and shaving soap available, as you will instantly remove the top skin layer.
Last but not least, you need to give your skin that extra little bit of protection. If you are satisfied with the shave you have achieved, you should start by properly rinsing your skin, using water that is quite cool. You should then pat, not rub, the skin dry using a soft towel. Once you are ready, you should use an aftershave product to further protect your skin. Again, choose something that is made from vegan, natural, plant ingredients. Mother Nature provides us with all the natural products we need in order to be happy and healthy. As an added benefit, these natural products generally also smell very nice.
Aftershave is vital for a number of reasons. First of all, it helps to contract the pores slowly, so that they don't get clogged up with dirt, leading to irritation. Secondly, they provide important moisture for the skin, again avoiding sensitive skin reactions. The fact that it also smells nice is just a welcome bonus.
The Importance of Vegan/Plant Based Ingredients for Sensitive Skin
You will have noticed the mention of natural plant, vegan ingredients several times in the above tips. But why is this so important? After all, there are plenty of dermatologically tested, cruelty free products that you can use as well, which are not necessarily vegan and not made from plant extract. The reality, however, is that plant based ingredient is truly the only way forward if you have sensitive skin.
The most important reasons for using vegan products are:
- You will not expose your skin to the byproducts of dead animals. When you go vegan, you know there is not a trace of a dead animal in what you use. This isn't just about the potential cruelty element, but also about the fact that you don't know where those dead animals came from. They may be roadkill, they may have been euthanized, they may have been diseased, and so on. While a product may be cruelty free, therefore, it may still contain all sorts of things that you don't want to be exposed to, and that you particularly need to protect sensitive skin from.
- Vegan has been proven to be better for sensitive skin in particular. They simply perform much better, mainly because there are far fewer ingredients actually contained in them.
- You choose to be truly cruelty free. A lot of products that claim to be natural still contain certain ingredients that have been tested on animals, often in very cruel ways. Just because one company doesn't test on animals does not mean that the companies from which they purchase their ingredients don't. When you opt for vegan, however, you will know for a fact that the products are all 100% cruelty free. That should make you sleep better at night, if nothing else.
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