How to Make a Shave Last Longer on your Face | Tips & Tricks
Shaving is an important grooming ritual, but if you feel like your beard grows in too fast, it probably feels more like a time consuming hassle. If you feel like you have to shave everyday or every other day, changing your shave routine might give you a little more flexibility in timeline. Especially if you’re a fan of a little rugged stubble every now and then.
If you shave correctly with the right tools, you should be able to get by with a couple of shaves a week. Get an extra 15 minutes of sleep. Enjoy a warm shower for a little longer. Watch another episode of your show before you head out the door. Free up some more time for life stuff.
Use the Right Razor
Each blade on your razor counts as a pass. A single bladed razor is one pass. You might have to go back over the same spot several times to completely shave the hair. Ideally, you want to have at least three blades. Five blades would be even better. Each blade will pass what it missed onto the next blade, giving you clean, smooth skin with a single swipe.
Alternatively, you can use a barber’s razor. These folding razor blades are only one blade, but they’re much sharper and give you a lot more control. With that control comes certain risk. If you’re a little clumsy or you don’t know your angles, you probably shouldn’t attempt to use these kinds of blades. If you’re all about skill, finesse, and patience, it may be worthwhile to practice with a barber’s straight razor.
Replace Your Razor Cartridge Regularly
Imagine if your doctor used the same needle on you every time you got a flu shot. You wouldn’t be thrilled about the second shot. You’d dread the third shot. By the time you were ready for the fourth one, you might decide that you’d rather have the flu. It gets a little duller every time you use it. Your razor works the same way.
Although your blades may still cut, they’re losing a little bit of their edge with every swipe you take. Think about how many strokes it takes to shave your entire face, and multiply that by two weeks of shaving. At the end, your blades are dull and they’re going to have a hard time giving you a clean cut.
Daily shavers should change their razor head at least every two weeks, although once a week would give them better results. Alternate day shavers can get about three weeks out of a razor cartridge. Twice a week shavers can wait up to a month before making the swap.
The same goes for disposable razors. Instead of replacing the razor head, just toss out the razor and switch to a new one.
You should also regularly replace your razor for hygienic reasons. Dead skin and bacteria will build up between the blades, and they’re not designed in a way that makes properly cleaning or sanitizing them possible. If you nick yourself with a dirty razor as it begins to dull, the bacteria in the blade might lead to an infection. Even if dull blades don’t bother you, infected cuts definitely will.
Wash Your Face First
There are a number of advantages to washing your face (or taking a full-on shower) before you shave.
The first benefit is shaving clean skin. Since shaving involves putting something sharp against your face, it’s simply good policy to try to remove as much bacteria from that surface as possible. You wash your hands before you eat, and you should wash your face before you shave.
The second benefit is what water is going to do to your facial hair. Water makes things swell up just a little bit. When your facial hair is wet, it’s softer and easy to manage. It comes up off the surface of the skin a little bit better. It’s much easier for the razor to grab and cut close than dry hair.
When your face is wet, the surface is a little more slick. This helps the razor glide without causing irritation or snagging. That little bit of extra slip makes for a gentler and more efficient shave. Even if you need to do another pass on a difficult spot, like along the jawline, the moisture on your skin will prevent the razor from dragging.
Exfoliate Your Face A Few Times a Week
Your body is constantly shedding skin cells. The surface of your face is constantly dying off and regenerating, just like all the other skin on your body. When you have facial hair, even light stubble, these dead skin cells are more likely to get caught. Your hair will trap them and leave them right at the surface.
This situation is bad for three reasons. The first is that your dead skin can actually clog your razor, becoming lodged between the layers of blades and making it harder for your razor to cut your hair. The second is that the dead skin will dull the blade much faster, and razor cartridges certainly aren’t cheap. You want to dull them by using them, not by collecting dead skin with them.
The third and most important reason is the obstruction dead skin creates. This thin layer of dead skin acts as a barrier between your facial hair and your razor. You can’t cut the hair close to the root if a small layer of dead skin is preventing your razor from shearing off the hair directly at the source.
Exfoliating your face at least once a week, but preferably twice, will help to keep this dead skin at bay. You’ll look nicer, you’ll be less likely to experience dry patches, and you’ll be able to get a close shave every time.
Use a Warm Lather
If you’ve ever been to a barber, you know how great the warm lather feels. Sometimes it’s more than just a lather. He might use hot towels or steam on your face before he gives you a shave. This isn’t just a pampering tactic. It might feel relaxing and refreshing, but it serves a very important purpose.
Warmth improves your circulation. It draws blood to the surface of your skin. It opens your pores and engages your hair follicles. It opens up the cuticle of the hair, making it softer and helping it to absorb water or the moisture from shaving cream a little better. Your skin cooperates, your hair cooperates, and your razor loves it.
Moisturize Your Skin
Moisturizing your skin after you shave can help to soothe any potential irritation. By making your skin, your stubble, and the tiny invisible bits of hair beneath your skin a little bit softer, you may be less prone to developing ingrown hairs or razor bumps.
A little bit of gentle moisturizer for sensitive skin can make your face easier to maintain in the long run. It will also make your skin healthier, which is never a bad idea.
Making your shave last longer isn’t too much harder. You should be doing most of these things anyway. It’s just a matter of structuring your routine in a way that makes for the optimal shave.
Make it a self care ritual. Spend a little longer at the bathroom counter every morning. You’ll look better, you’ll feel better, and your beard will thank you.