Growing up, my father was telling me stories about my grandfather’s youth and why he was so strong and healthy.
Among the crazy things that my grandfather did when he was a teenager, was to put rusted nails inside a glass with water and after stirring it a bit, drink it. My grandfather claimed that this was perfect for iron and this is why he was so healthy.
It was so convincing that, for a moment there, I actually considered trying it.
While Superman had the kryptonite, my grandfather had the razor blade..
Fortunately, my grandfather didn’t die because of this original approach to health, but it gives you quite a good idea of the images created in my mind, at that time. If I could relate him to a super hero, he would be pretty close to Bruce Willis, in the Unbreakable.
Because of those kind of stories, one of the things I liked, was to pay close attention when he was shaving. These were the only occasions when I could understand that he is actually mortal, since I didn’t have the chance to see him bleeding in other circumstances. He was always shaving in the morning with a safety razor right after his morning face cleansing. After he finished shaving, the cold water was leaving his skin smooth but full or irritation. His morning routine.
Sensitive skin is something that I owe to my grandfather. My father has a thick skin like elephant’s -and the smoothest I might add. But, apparently, he wasn’t generous enough to pass it on to his son.
Ever since I started shaving, in 8th grade (Yes, I am THAT manly!), my skin would look like a mine field. Especially close to Adam’s apple area. It took me a while to understand that there are ways to prevent the skin irritation.
The first person to give me great advice on how to avoid after shave irritation was the barber that was cutting my hair in university. He was elected best barber by my friends (only because he charged the least). After a few days I decided to listen to his advice and put the “theory into practice.
As a student you shave only once per week, tops.
And the result?
Shaving finally stopped being a bloody, painful and messy experience. My apologies for the illustrative description.
Enough with the stories though. How do you shave your face sensitive skin then?
1) Take a shower first
Doesn’t sound like shaving but, to me, it’s probably the most important step. By taking a hot shower you soak your face and the hair becomes a lot softer and makes it easier to shave and prevent razor burn.
If you don’t feel like taking a shower in order to shave, soak a small towel in warm water and place it on your face for a minute or so. Be careful not to get burned if the water is too hot.
2) Cleanse your face
This can also be a part of the 1st tip. Since you have a sensitive skin, you might need to use a face cleanser to wash away any impurities. It is highly advisable to use a cleanser specifically designed for sensitive skin since it might cause irritation in case of a high Ph level.
3) Moisturize before you start shaving
For people with very sensitive skin, it is highly advisable to moisturize the skin with almond oil or aloe before you apply the lather of your face. This is something that I don’t do anymore but I tried it several times and it makes a big difference in the shaving experience.
You can also consider using a mild and all natural pre-shave oil -which is also the best for your skin, to make shaving a smoother experience.
Again, try to find the right pre-shaving products for sensitive skin since not all products are suitable for every type of skin.
4) Choose the right lather
You’ve got some options here but usually a shaving soap or shaving cream with a good shaving brush is more preferable. The badger brush applies the lather uniformly and under each whisker which allows you to have a smooth and bumpless shaving experience.
Shaving foam or shaving gel might not be the best choice here even if it’s labelled ideal for sensitive skin. But this is up to you.
There are certainly good gels and foams available on the market but I would recommend against very cheap products. Sure, you ‘ll find some goods ones, but again, it’s your skin, your rules.
Nevertheless, try not to experiment with anything else besides products that create build great lather on your face.
5) Razor selection is crucial
There are many razors on the market with up to 5 blades per razor. These are good razors but I would advise against them. Especially if you have a very sensitive skin. Usually, more blades in a razor means higher probability of irritating your skin. You are better off with a razor that has up to 3 blades or even better, wet shave with a good safety razor.
Apart from the number of blades, you also need to pay attention to the space between the blades. Larger space is more preferable for shaving a sensitive skin. The smaller the space, the higher the possibility of clustering hair and irritate your skin with every stroke.
Don’t forget that your razor should have a clean and sharp blade. If you have excessively sensitive skin, try to replace the blade every 2 or 3 shaves.
6) No one is rushing you. Shave with care
If shaving is a daily ritual for you, try to have the least discomfort. Try to shave with the grain, with gentle strokes. The blade needs to glide and do the job without putting pressure against your face. More pressure leads to more irritation.
Tip of the tip: With every 1 or 2 strokes, clean the razor with running water, preferably warm and not hot.
7) After shaving
Once you finish with the shaving, wash your face with cold water in order to close the pores. Do not rub your face with too much pressure since you might irritate it.
Dry your face well with a small towel. I usually use kitchen paper which I really like and absorbs the water effectively. Works like a charm.
Apply a moisturizing balsam or mild oil on your face to keep your skin soft and hydrated. There is a possibility that your skin may get irritated if you use alcohol based after shave. If this is the case, it may be a good idea to use an aloe based oil instead.
Few alternatives to shaving your sensitive face with a razor
There are certainly a lot more ways to avoid skin irritation. Some may prefer shaving with an electric shaver. From my experience with electric shavers however, you need to invest a considerable amount of money in order to get a good machine that does not irritate your sensitive skin. I personally used a few of them already and I found out that very cheap electric razors are not very friendly with faces that are prone to skin irritation. Invest a bit more money to avoid frustration.
I also had the opportunity to shave with straight razors and I believe that they tend to be very friendly with sensitive skin. It gives you the feeling of a very aggressive shaving but when you become a bit familiar with the blade and get some experience, you will get a smooth face with reduced or even no skin irritation.
I am not a big fan of straight razors not because of the shaving experience, but mainly due to the fact that it takes me a long time to finish shaving. And since I shave in the morning right after I take a shower, I don’t want to be late for work.
Even the more experienced people with straight razors do not want to rush themselves. After all, you really don’t want to make any “deadly” mistake while you are holding the straight razor.
Safety razors on the other hand, are great for shaving a sensitive face. Getting used to it might take a while but it’s really the best when it comes to shaving sensitive skin. Just like with straight razors, a good safety razor gives you a deep shaving. In case you’re inexperienced with it, you need to be a bit careful. The blade is more exposed than cartridge razors and the shave is much more aggressive.
A good video that shows you how to shave your face sensitive skin step by step is the following from Gillette.
What’s your secret for shaving a sensitive face?
Image Courtesy: Yastremska/Bigstock.com