Why It’s Important to Use a Good Razor for Sensitive Skin
Men with sensitive skin need to shave just as often as everyone else. Unfortunately, the majority of popular shaving products aren’t geared to their special needs. The wrong razor (and the wrong creams, balms, and oils) can make sensitive skin worse. If you frequently experience irritation after you shave, this isn’t something you should grin and suffer through.
Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It needs to be healthy, well cared for, and properly nourished. The way you shave should consider your skin’s requirements. Using the right razor and the right shaving care products can minimize or eliminate the irritation you might experience.
The Way Shaving Impacts Your Skin
When you shave, you’re dragging a blade across your skin. There’s no two ways about it. Unless you choose an alternative hair removal method, you need to be sure that your razor and your skin are going to get along.
Your razor won’t discriminate in what it removes. It will take away the hair, but it causes mild abrasion to the skin surrounding that hair at the same time. When you’re using a good razor, the right pre-shave oil, and a thick shaving cream, this abrasion is so minimal that you won’t notice a thing.
The wrong razor, dry shaving, inadequate shaving cream, and poor preparation leave your skin vulnerable to injury. If your skin is already sensitive, you’re bound to notice excessive redness and sensitivity as a result of improper shaving technique or tools.
Why Cartridge Razors May Harm Your Skin
Cartridge razors are often regarded as the easiest to use. They’re convenient to maintain, and you can even find refills at the grocery store. The problem is with their convenience. Cartridge razors are designed to speed up the shaving process, and that’s exactly what makes them a bad fit for sensitive skin.
Cartridge razors give you a faster, easier shave by using several blades at once. Most cartridges have anywhere between three and five blades. The idea is that each blade will catch what the last blade didn’t, allowing you to shave in fewer passes. This can be a problem.
What if the first two blades caught everything? Then, the last three are dragging against your skin for no real reason. There’s no rhyme or reason to the process. You can’t control it. You could be shaving your bare skin with every stroke of the razor, because you don’t get to decide when that series of blades stops cutting.
The best way to maintain optimal control over your shave and avoid as much bare skin as possible is to use a single bladed razor. It might seem like a single bladed razor rakes much longer, but the time difference isn’t that substantial once you’ve mastered your technique.
Safety Razors, Straight Razors, and Shavettes
Safety razors, shavettes, and straight razors all have one thing in common: having one blade, because that’s all they need to give you a clean, close shave. A single bladed razor with a high quality blade gives you complete control. You’re only shaving where there’s hair, and when it’s gone, there are no more blades passing over the smooth spots.
If you’ve used cartridge razors your whole life, a safety razor might feel most intuitive in your hand. It has the familiar handle and head shape, so using it won’t feel like a foreign concept. Safety razors have one double edged blade backed by a safety guard.
The safety guard is designed to help you find the proper angle. You don’t want to go straight down or straight across with a single razor blade. The razor needs to make contact with your skin at the proper upward angle to catch and remove hair without snagging across the skin. The safety guard makes it easier to find this angle, but it won’t do all the work for you.
Safety razors require a bit of a learning process. If you’re patient and avoid applying any kind of pressure with the razor, you’ll begin to see how some angles work better than others at effortlessly removing the hair.
Straight razors and shavettes are the same design, but with one major difference. A straight razor has a blade that mimics a knife. It’s meant to be maintained and used for years. A shavette is nearly identical, but for the fact that the blade is replaceable. Shavettes are easier to maintain, making them among the most popular style of straight razor.
Shavettes and straight razors are single-bladed razors without a guard. The handle is much different. This comes with a few advantages and disadvantages. The obvious disadvantage is that you’re completely left to your own devices. There’s no safety guard to protect you. The advantage is that your view is unobstructed, so you can accurately observe the angle and watch what’s happening.
Straight razors are a little harder to learn, but they give you more control over your shave than any other kind of razor.
Maintaining a Sharp Blade
Nothing will irritate sensitive skin more than a dull blade. If you shave most days, you need to be replacing your blade at least once a week. If you shave half the days of the week, replace your blade every two weeks.
Don’t worry about what it costs. Blade replacements for safety razors and straight razors are extremely inexpensive.You won’t miss shopping for cartridge refills.
Preparing Your Sensitive Skin for a Shave
It’s always easier to shave your face when your skin and hair are wet and hot. The best time to shave is right after a hot shower, or after you’ve thoroughly washed your face with hot water. Hot water encourages blood to rush to the surface of the skin, plumping it up and opening up your pores. Hair shafts open, allowing water to enter.
If your skin is sensitive and dry, a pre-shave oil is always a great idea. You can use a premixed pre-shave oil for sensitive skin, or you can use something like coconut oil to provide some additional lubrication.
You need to use real shaving cream, not the stuff from the can. The stuff from the can is mostly bubbles, and it doesn’t do much to lubricate or nourish your skin. Lather is even better when it’s hot, as it helps to maintain the warm temperature and softness of your skin and hair while you shave. Heat your shaving cream up in a hot lather machine, and apply it with a brush.
Take your time shaving with your single bladed razor. It may take longer, but it’s worth the extra effort to walk away with smoother skin and less irritation.
When you’re done, rinse away the remnants of hair and shaving cream. Finish off with an aftershave balm or a sensitive skin moisturizer to keep your skin soft and calm.
Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, you should probably be shaving this way. Shaving can potentially cause damage to your skin if you aren’t doing it correctly. You might feel like your skin is rugged, tough, and impenetrable. That doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from a luxurious shave designed to leave you smooth and soft, replenishing the moisture and nutrients your skin needs to stay healthy.