From puberty until death, shaving is something most American men have to do on a regular basis. Some shave more than others – anywhere from daily to weekly – but it’s unavoidable. And, unfortunately, it’s often uncomfortable, messy, and frustrating. The question is, can shaving become less cumbersome and more enjoyable?
Read more after the jump:
The 4 Shaving Problems You Can Avoid
Shaving is a highly personal act. The how, where, and why of shaving differs from guy to guy. Some clean shave because their employers require it, while others let their beards grow out and only occasionally trim up to keep the hair healthy. Some guys like a straight razor, while others prefer electric alternatives. Some shave in the mornings, while others shave at night.
While there’s no right way to shave, per se, there are plenty of wrong ways to go about it. In particular, most men find that, at some point or another, they struggle with a handful of common problems. Thankfully, most of them can be avoided with a little planning. Let’s take a look:
1. Razor Burn
Let’s begin with the one most guys are unfortunately very familiar with. Razor burn is essentially an irritating rash that, in its mildest form, creates lots of itchy, red dots on the face and neck. In its more serious form, it can lead to clusters of razor bumps, which linger for days or weeks at a time.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to preventing razor burn. There are, however, a number of actions you can experiment around with to achieve better results. For starters, you want your beard to be as soft as possible when shaving. This will prevent your beard from snagging and pulling on your skin. In light of this, the best time to shave is after you’ve gotten out of the shower.
The next suggestion is somewhat controversial, but it’s worth trying. Instead of using one of those fancy five-blade razors that are constantly pushed on TV commercials, try a safety razor. While they only have a single blade, the simplicity of these razors eliminates skin irritation and promotes greater control and handling.
Finally, apply the correct moisturizing product after you’re done. While some guys are fine with a basic aftershave, others find that these products actually intensify the irritation. If you fall into this group, a soothing balm or cortisone cream could be a better option.
2. Cuts and Nicks
Do you have a problem with cutting or nicking your skin when shaving? This is usually the result of using a blade that’s too dull or too sharp. It can also be the direct result of applying excessive pressure when shaving. So instead of cutting the hair, the blade digs straight into the skin. Again, this is a problem that can be solved by the use of a safety razor. The weight of the handle allow for good pressure without requiring you to press hard.
3. Beard Dandruff
It’s important that you keep your face and beard properly moisturized. Otherwise, the constant irritation will lead to dry skin and unsightly beard dandruff. If you choose to maintain a beard – or even a five o’clock shadow – it’s suggested that you use a daily application of beard oil. This will leave both the skin and facial hair soft and supple.
4. Clogged Sink Drains
Let’s talk clogged drains. While it may feel like you’re the only one struggling with how to keep your bathroom sink drain flowing freely, it’s actually a pretty universal problem.
The best way to prevent clogs is to avoid putting as much hair down the drain as possible. Try standing over a towel or trash can and using an electric razor without a guard to trim your hair as close to the skin as possible. (This can also be done outside on a patio or deck.) This will eliminate all of the longer hairs that have a tendency to clump together. Then when shaving with your razor, use a separate tub or cup to rinse off your blade in between strokes.
Even if you follow these tips, you’ll still end up sending a good amount of hair down the drain. That’s why you should regularly – perhaps once every two or three months – follow this four-step plan:
· Step 1: Remove the stopper on your drain to open up the drain completely.
· Step 2: Pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup white vinegar.
· Step 3: Wait 10 minutes and heat some water up over the stove.
· Step 4: Carefully pour the hot water down the drain.
This simple process is far better than using expensive and corrosive chemicals and will actually generate superior results over time.
Slow Down and Enjoy the Process
Modern life is hurried and chaotic. It can feel like you’re always running to the next thing, so much so that you can’t slow down and enjoy the current moment. Any time you have the opportunity to slow down, you should.
As odd as it may initially seem, shaving is an invitation to intentionally pause and indulge in a few moments of self-care at the beginning of each morning. Don’t be afraid to spend five extra minutes on the process. You’re guaranteed to look and feel better.
Images by Kenneth Lam for MMSCENE