There's a lot of questions on shaving. Here is just a few of them, with answers. Go ahead and post a comment / or question below to get answers and more help.
"My low-foam shaving gels and oils don’t produce a ‘Father Christmas beard’ of foam... does that mean they don’t work?"
It is true to say for most shaving preparations, the more lather in a product produces, the more it will dry out your skin. It may feel good to have a lot of lather on your face, but the fact is that this lather is created by surfactants (similar to detergents) which dry out your skin. As you are already scraping off natural oils when you shave, you do not then want to further dry out your face. Lathering is also wasteful. That white peak of shaving cream, gel or soap isn't actually touching your face - so why is it there?
So "yes", the low foam gels and oils do work. You don’t need to cover your face in cream to get a good shave. Oils and low foam gels allow for precision shaving so you can see exactly what you are doing.
With a clear or low foam shave preparation, the more likely you are to see (and thus avoid) any problem areas such as spots, red or rough skin around the neck and so on. Also, if you have a moustache, goatee or beard, you will be able to shave around it with pinpoint accuracy - something that is impossible with traditional lather based shaving products.
"I have spots, which I keep making worse by shaving over them. Should I stop shaving?"
Not unless you want a beard! The low foam gels and oils we were talking about are ideal for you. They allow you to avoid particularly sensitive areas – so you won’t keep cutting the same spot!
Generally you just need to read and follow our basic shaving tips carefully. They will put you on the right track to achieving a smooth rash free shave even if you have sensitive skin.
Do not be tempted to shave over and over, to get a closer shave. Finally, once you have done this, if you shaved with a gel then splash cool water on your face,and pat your face dry. If you used an oil, simply pat your skin dry. Consider using a post shave balm or moisturiser as this will help your skin recover. After three or four days of shaving in this way, your rash should have gone, and you will be able to revert to shaving in the morning remembering to use all the advice above!
Additional tips: to help prevent black heads and other skin impurities we recommend you wash twice a day with a deep pore cleansing face wash. For optimum results, exfoliate your face once or twice a week with a gentle exfoliator (Baxters Skin Toner Facial Scrub) - you may think this is a bit 'girlie' but there is nothing particularly 'manly' about poor skin condition. You owe it to your face to do the best you can for it!
If you suffer from a skin related disorder that prevents you from achieving a pain-free shave, you should consult your local pharmacist or your doctor. Do not simply accept skin problems. Get some help!
"I have a very heavy beard and find that shaving with the grain doesn’t give me a close enough shave. What can I do?"
Begin by shaving with the grain. This removes the bulk of the hair without pulling and scalping the hairs. If you need to, reapply your shaving software and shave again (carefully), going against the grain. Perfect!
Additional tips: don't shave first thing in the morning. Have breakfast, let your skin wake-up! Shaving is made much easier by giving the area to be shaved lots of warm / hot water (or steam) before shaving. So have a bath or shower and wash your face as this softens the bristles and opens up the pores of the skin preparing it for a closer and less painful shave. After washing apply a hot towel to the beard area for a minute or so to really soften and prepare the bristles for a smooth shave.
"How do I stop razor burn / razor bumps?"
These two are kind of linked so we’ll address them together. By having a good shaving routine you should eliminate both. To help eliminate razor bumps (check out our "Avoiding Ingrown Hairs" column for more detailed info), which are caused by the hairs curling round and re-entering the skin (ingrowing), you should exfoliate at least twice a week. Exfoliating is not just for girls!! Exfoliating helps to remove dead skin and frees ingrowing hair. And by following our top shaving tips (see above), shaving with the grain and not pressing too hard when you shave, you should prevent razor burn.
"Is it OK to electric shave?"
There is no doubt that electric shaving can be faster and simpler than wet shaving. However, electric shaving is harsher on the skin as it strips away natural oils and usually requires the hairs to be dry and brittle to get a close shave. For a closer and more comfortable shave, our advice is to move to wet shaving. But hey, it's a free country, so if you wish to continue with the electric we suggest you apply a few drops of a shaving oil to your face before-hand as it will prepare the skin and stubble and help leave you feeling moisturised (not sandpapered)!
Additional tips: avoid pre-shave lotions containing alcohol and other astringent (drying) agents which are not good for your skin. So read the label and check the ingredients before you purchase.
"Is moisturiser for girls?"
Certainly not! It's important to look after your skin, irrelevant of your sex, and the daily routine of life damages your skin. Women have been wise to this for years - men have taken a little longer to catch up! Shaving can be very drying on your skin and coupled with weather and lifestyle conditions (yes, those late nights drinking in the pub will affect your skin) you need to protect it. Many of products on the market that claim to be able to replace moisture are lying - once it's gone it's gone, but you can help to protect the skin by using a moisturiser post shave. They key is to lock moisture into the skin rather than try and replace it later. The simplest way to do this is to apply a moisturiser or post shave gel / balm to the skin as soon after shaving (or washing) as possible, but definitely within ten minutes of shaving (or washing). If you use a moisturise with a built in SPF, all the better!
"Does it matter what sort of blade or razor I use?"
The brand name of the blade is far less important than the state it is in. You will not get a close shave from a blunt blade; you will be shaved on parts of the face and not on others and you will end up with redness and blotches on your face and neck. The cure is simple. As soon as you feel a blade is not performing properly, replace it!
Shaving with a cut-throat razor (or open or straight razor) is becoming popular again. A little practice with this rediscovered method can give you a great shave and really give you the edge trimming shaped beards and lining up those awkward sideburns. For a well illustrated guide on how to hold and use a cut-throat razor visit http://www.cutthroat-shaving.co.uk
"What's the best method of shaving my head?"
For a great head shave, simply follow our basic shaving tips and use Headblade!