Close shaves: the complete book of razor fighting

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Sometimes, however, the journey goes astray. The strand of hair turns inward toward the skin, which treats it as an invading force, and a battle breaks out. If only a single hair is affected, we call it ingrown. But sometimes a full battalion of hairs rebels against the skin all at once, sparking total war.


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Dermatologists have a name for this conflict: pseudofolliculitis barbae. You might know it as razor bumps. Razor bumps are particularly common among black men like myself, but they can afflict anyone with strong, curly hair like mine. If that sounds painful, trust me, it is. It looks bad, and feels worse.

And so an entire market has sprung up to tame our wayward hairs and repress the scourge of razor bumps. Many of the products seemed to give up on the idea of a close shave altogether.

Prevention of Shaving Acne Starts With The Razor

The razors and trimmers were advertised as keeping the blade a safe distance from the skin, not that useful for a clean shave, but perhaps effective as stubble maintenance. The creams and ointments tend to boast their effectiveness at softening the hairs and exfoliating the skin around them, but generally must be applied twice daily without fail, or else the bumps come right back. But even if you follow all the right steps in order to get a close shave , men at any age can get pimples after shaving.

The core reason why pimples appear has to do with the fact that your pore has been clogged and the mixture of sebum oil and bacteria has formed a white head. When just doing a bit of searching around Google, you can quickly get lead down the wrong path when it comes to people using the terms razor bumps and shaving pimples interchangeably.

First and foremost, razor bumps occur due to your hair growing inward as opposed to outward from the follicle root. Razor bumps are largely caused by a razor cutting the follicle just beneath the surface of the skin. The razor blades on these multi-blade cartridge razors work in tandem with one another by having one razor lift the follicle slightly up and second blade follows close behind to cut the follicle. As the follicles go through the lift-and-cut process, they eventually get cut so low that the hair follicle will now rest just below the surface of the skin.

Depending on the hair follicle growth pattern, the hair may grow in a non-uniform manner causing a razor bump or on the opposite end of the spectrum, grown normally outwards. To combat these razor bumps, men have used alternative tools to get around this discomfort which we will cover in just a minute. Taking what we covered above, with the hair follicle just below the surface of the skin, you now open yourself up to potential shaving acne as well.

As we eluded to in the opening, the primary culprit of shaving pimples will be attributed to bacteria and sebum oil that is clogging up your pores above the tip of your hair follicle that rests just beneath the surface of your skin. Double edge safety razors, or often referred to simply as safety razors, have been around for years. In fact they were widely popular in the early s when they became part of the standard field kit issued to GIs during WW1.

Compared to the razor that preceded it, the straight razor, a double edge safety razor was considered insurmountably safer at the time. Instead when shaving with a safety razor, to accomplish the same level of closeness that you get out of the best cartridge razors , you need to make several passes with the blade.

The Hundred-Year-Old Remedy for Razor Bumps - The Atlantic

Now if shaving pimples are an ongoing concern for you, which likely they are or why would you be reading this, then you would want to only make either one or two passes with a double edge safety razor. While you might not get that same level of smoothness, the amount of control that you have with a safety razor, will allow you to test different methods and see what is best.

Now if this is your first time ever considering a double edge safety razor, then we highly recommend that you check out our complete guide to selecting the best one for you. When men use their hands to apply shaving cream to their face there are a couple of things going on. First and foremost, your hairs are being matted down to the surface of your skin. This means that you are physically pushing the dirt and grime into your follicles as you are prepping your face to shave. Secondly, the matted down movement provided by your hands makes it harder for the razor blade to get a clean cut on the base of the hair follicle which may lead to additional passes of the razor blade on your skin — which can increase post-shave skin irritation and perhaps even shaving pimples.

Instead, a shaving brush is design to not only generate a rich lather that is going to be favored by your razor blade, but it will help to provide a gentle exfoliation to the surface of your skin. H ow to use a cut throat razor. If you really want to be at the ahem cutting edge of the male grooming world, it's best to use a cut throat razor such as Geo.

Shave Your Way to Smooth Skin

Due to health and safety legislation, cut throat razors used in barbershops have a cartridge, allowing the blade to be disposed of after use. After your shave, exfoliate your face with aftershave balms containing natural cooling agents such as aloe vera or eucalyptus, and breathe a contented sigh. A good choice for those hoping to smell good, as well as look good, after their shave.

Buy now. L ike many other shaving creams, Taylor's sumptuous Sandalwood cream contains glycerine, an ingredient that helps maintain its softness. D esigned to soften and soothe skin, this shaving gel turns into a rich foam upon contact with the face, acting as a perfect barrier to blades and preventing irritation.

The History of Shaving – From Prehistoric Times to Modern Day

D ecent shaving foam for sensitive skin doesn't have to come at a hefty price, as this neat little tub from King of Shaves demonstrates. Perfect for sensitive skin, it'll leave the face smooth, supple and suitably hydrated. B uy now. T here's a reason the Mach3 range has stood the test of time. A classic cartridge razor with the advantage of a flex-ball pivot, to help reach tricky areas of the face, chin and neck.

Think of a Dyson vacuum in razor form.

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Its in-built shield also lubricates before and after the blades, to guard against irritation for a smooth shave. O nce equipped with a safety razor, you'll need the requisite blades. F eather's safety razor blades come in packs of ten, and are suitable for use in traditional safety razors. T his classic safety razor from respected outlet Geo.


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  • Trumper is a simple and elegant object designed to achieve a close shave. W ith 17 LED displayed lengths from 0. B uilt for versatility, this shaver can also trim and style, making it a good choice for those with goatees, stubble or beards. T his straightfoward model provides a consistent and good quality shave.