It’s a burning issue: the International Journal of Cosmetic Science reports that two-thirds of men suffer irritation after shaving, with the neck area particularly vulnerable to redness and razor bumps. Here’s how to soothe your skin and get your smoothest ever shave.
Do your prep
“Rinse your face with warm water to clean and soften hairs,” says dermatologist Dr Natasha Cook. Softer facial hair means you can use a lighter touch with your razor. Shaving post-shower is ideal. And choose a shaving product with glycerin. “It moisturises, softens and protects the skin barrier,” says Cook.
Don’t blind shave
Teeth brushing, singing, winning imaginary arguments – all suitable shower activities. But avoid shaving under the spray; instead use a mirror to guide you. “Always go with the flow –shave the same direction of hair growth,” says Cook. Shaving <I>against<I> hair growth pulls skin in the opposite direction to the root of the hair, increasing skin tension and irritation.
Keep it clean
Rinse your razor after each stroke, says Kristian Jones, head barber at Sydney’s QT Hotel. Rinsing between swipes ensures skin is not exposed to any bacteria gathered in the previous stroke. After your final stroke, rinse your face with cool water and moisturise immediately, says Cook. “Remember, you’ve taken skin off microscopically so it needs a layer of protection immediately.”
Have a break
Give your razor the weekend off. Taking a break from shaving will rehabilitate sensitive skin. “Every time you shave, you remove a layer of skin, so a rest is always recommended,” says Jones. “Don’t shave every day. These days it’s increasingly acceptable to have a day or two of growth even in the corporate world.”
Use Protection: Shaving Products for Sensitive Blokes
1. Dermalogica Close Shave Oil, $35. This lightweight oil provides visibility for shaping edges and deposits a protective barrier on skin for an easy glide.
2. Black Leopard Skin Soothing After Shave Balm, $49. Instantly dials down post-shave stings with soothing horse chestnut extract.
3. Bulldog Sensitive Moisturiser, $12.95. Finish up by massaging in this soothing, fast-absorbing cream – leaves no shine or greasy feel.
4. Schick Hydro 5 Razor, $12.99. The gel reservoir near the blades reduces razor friction and lubricates skin with each stroke.
5. Gillette Fusion Hydra Gel, Pure & Sensitive, $6.99. Has no dye or fragrance to reduce skin irritation, plus contains “glide” technology for smooth shaving.
6. Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Conditioning Beard Oil, $76. To polish up your beard post-trim this gives texture, lustre and a classic aroma.
7. Klim Face Wash, $12.95. Uses natural foaming agents like coconut to cleanse and unplug pores gently, plus glycerine to protect your skin barrier.