A Cut Above: Ten Tips for the Perfect Shave
Shaving is neither fun nor progressive, but a necessary evil in most of our daily routines. Although shaving is a seemingly simple endeavor, there are various tried and trusted techniques which can improve the quality of your shave and ensure you avoid dermatological catastrophes such as skin rashes or sliced cheeks. If you are unsure if you should follow the grain or oppose it or whether you should douse yourself in aftershave or hardly use any, then read on...
1. Slow Down: Your Skin takes longer to wake up than you do
Try not to reach for the blade as soon as you wake up. Just as you are liable to feel groggy and in a somewhat ragged state first thing in the morning, the same is true of your skin. Your face is liable to be puffy at this time due to fluids that congregate in your facial tissues during the night. So grab yourself a cup of tea or brush your teeth to kill about ten minutes or so before tending to your face.
2. Lubrication, Lubrication, Lubrication
Be sure to apply a high-quality pre-shave oil or gel before beginning your shave, leaving it to work on your skin for around a minute. This will ensure your face is sufficiently lubricated - meaning you will have a solid foundation for achieving a close and gentle shave. Without this foundation, your skin may suffer from razor burns or rashes, as it's simply not prepared for the invasiveness of a sharp blade. There has been some speculation that pre-shave oils are unnecessary and simply supplement the largely inadequate levels of lubrication in most commercial shaving products. Until both products can be successfully merged, you would be best advised to employ a decent pre-shave oil.
3. Leave a Clean Slate: Use a Face Scrub
Washing your face with a decent facial scrub before shaving will open up the pores of your skin and tauten your hair follicles to help achieve a close and more comfortable shave. By exfoliating your pores in this manner you will also scrape away any malignant dead cells and impurities that can lead to acne and ingrown hairs. Using a scrub will also help to smooth your complexion and encourage the growth of fresh and healthy skin cells.
4. Less is More: Shaving Foam
It's neither necessary nor desirable to slap colossal amounts of foam on your face before shaving. Masses of foam resting on your face is doing nothing to improve the quality of your shave, so only apply a moderate layer - this is all that's required. Many varieties of foam actually contain ingredients such as Sodium Laurel Sulfate, which act in conjunction with the other ingredients to create the foam-swelling effect out of the can. However, these ingredients -although aesthetically pleasing to the eye - can also act as severe skin irritants so bear this in mind when next reaching for a huge hunk of foam.
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