What are razor bumps and how can I get rid of them?
Razor bumps (Pseudofolliculitis barbae) are hairs that have curled back into the skin and as a result have caused inflammation – tiny red bumps. A common result of shaving, the hair that has just been shaved is short, rigid and has a sharp tip, which enables it to easily curl around and force its way back into your skin.
Here are several tips to help combat razor bumps:
• A completely effective treatment is to grow your beard out and this means that once the hairs are a certain length, they won’t grow back into the skin.
• Use your regular scrub just before shaving to help raise the hairs from your skin, lessening the chance that they’ll re-enter the skin.
• Don’t shave upwards, against the grain of your stubble!
• Try not to pull the skin too tight when you’re shaving.
• Using an electric shaver as opposed to a wet razor can help too, as electric shavers don’t shave as close to skin.
• Shaving every other day can also help to alleviate the problem.
There are also several products that can help with razor bumps. We recommend using Tendskin which has great results.
What can I do about razor burn?
Razor burn is the general redness, irritation and abrasion of your skin that many men suffer from as a result of shaving. The most common cause of razor burn is shaving against the grain of your hair. Another common cause of razor burn is applying too much pressure to the shaving area with your razor – doing this creates more friction on the skin leading to razor burn.
Some tips on how to prevent razor burn:
• Never shave against the grain of your hair.
• Make sure that you apply sufficient shaving lubrication to reduce the amount of friction on your skin.
• Using an aftershave or cologne containing alcohol on your shaven area can dry your skin out and irritate your freshly shaven skin contributing to the problem of razor burn.
If you’re suffering from razor burn the best solution is to apply a soothing shave balm onto the freshly shaved area. This will ease the irritation and cool the sting out of the burn.
Should I Ever Shave Against the Grain of my Hair?
Shaving against the grain is usually always a bad idea and is the most common cause of razor burn! Many men think that it is the only way to achieve a closer shave; however it can cause numerous problems such as ingrown hairs, razor bumps and irritation. If you need to find out in what direction your hair gows, run the side of your forefinger over your face – the direction which gives less resistance is usually the right direction to shave.
When you shave against the natural growth / direction of your beard, you run the risk of cutting the hair off below skin level, causing ingrowing hairs. You also invite irritation & redness to the skin when you shave against the grain, as it pulls the skin in the wrong direction which can cause tiny cuts and abrasions. If you find that shaving with the grain of your beard doesn’t achieve a close enough shave, then you can always safely shave across the grain afterwards.
What’s the best way to shave with spot prone or blemished skin?
If you do suffer from spot prone or blemished skin, then you’ll know that shaving can be a little tricky. Simply shaving over these tender areas will just inflame them even more and make the situation worse. If you do have to shave directly over blemished areas, then it’s best to shave very gently.
Using a shave gel will be helpful to you as they are clear (transparent) therefore allowing you to see exactly where you’re shaving and which areas to avoid on your face.
Another option is to use an electric shaver instead of a wet shaving system. Although electrics don’t generally give you as close a shave – they won’t damage your blemished areas, thus allowing your skin to heal more quickly. If you do decide on this option, then it’s best to invest in a good foil shaver as opposed to a rotary head.
What’s the best shaving routine for dry skin?
If you’ve got dry skin, we recommend that you use the following shaving routine:
• Wash face with normal face cleanser
• Apply a good shave cream or shave oil to your shaving area – shave creams & oils are more suited to drier skins and help to keep your skin well moisturised throughout your shave
• Shave as normal – being careful to go gently over any skin imperfections and take care not to press too hard on your skin surface
• After shaving, rinse your face well with some luke-warm water and follow with a splash of cool water. Pat face dry with a clean towel.
• Dry skin can suffer particularly from the shaving process – It’s vital to therefore finish off your shave with a shave balm
• You may also need to apply some moisturiser as well if your skin still feels a little tight
What’s the best shaving routine for oily skin?
If you’ve got oily skin, we recommend that you use the following shaving routine:
• Wash face with normal face cleanser
• Apply a good shave gel to your shaving area – a shave gel will allow you to see exactly where you’re shaving and is most suited to oilier skins
• Shave as normal – being careful to go gently over any skin imperfections
• After shaving, rinse your face well with some warm water and you may want to follow with a mild toner / astringent – removing excess residue
• Splash a little cool water over your face, closing your pores and cooling your face. Pat face dry with a clean towel.
• Finish off with an oil-free shave balm – you may have oily skin but you still need to replace the lost moisture taken away from shaving
Does a shaving brush really help?
If you use a shave cream and you don’t use a shaving brush – then you’re really missing out! The benefits of using a shaving brush are huge. If you’re looking for a closer shave (and a good quality shaving brush can increase the efficacy of your shave by up to 50%), check out all of the benefits a brush will bring:
• It provides the fastest way to prepare for your shave & a far closer one at that
• A shaving brush will quickly moisten and warm up your face – ideal condition for shaving
• It’ll lift your hair away from your skin surface allowing the razor to cut them off closer & helping to prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs
• The brush will help remove dead skin cells acting as a great, easy exfoliator
• If you feel that you need to go over with the razor again, you can re-use the remaining shave cream on the brush – more economical
How can I get a really close wet shave?
Getting a close shave is easy! Just follow these guide principles and you’re on your way:
• Make sure that your skin and stubble is very well moistened – hot water breaks down the hair’s toughness and softens the bristles
• Your usual face wash is recommended before you start shaving – this gives you a clean surface to shave on & can prevent any infection
• Work your shaving medium into your skin and beard well – if you’re using a shave cream, make sure that you use a shaving brush
• Ensure that your razor is sharp and clean – blunt razors pull on your skin and cause damage and dirty razors can lead to possible infection
• Rinse your blade often between strokes – a blade full of shaving medium is going to reduce efficacy
• Use short strokes with your razor rather than longer ones – this gives you more control over the razor
My face feels very dry after shaving – how can I prevent this?
When you shave, you strip the skin of several layers of protective tissue and oils. The heat of the water and shave process on your skin also open your pores which let’s moisture evaporate from your skin’s surface.
To avoid having that horrible tight feeling after your shave, follow these simple tips:
• Don’t use shaving foams or harsh products on your skin when shaving – soap is definitely a ‘no-no’!
• When you’ve finished shaving, wash the excess shaving residue off with cool to luke-warm water.
• ALWAYS finish off with a shave balm or a moisturiser to restore the skin’s moisture levels and calm your skin down.
Does shaving make hair grow back faster, thicker or darker?
No. This is probably the most common myth of shaving that many men have. It is not true that shaving makes the shaved hair grow back any faster, thicker, darker or more profusely.
Your hair is simply dead protein – not grass!
Shaving is an external process and therefore has no permanent effect on the rate of hair growth. Although there is an immediate increase in the rate of hair growth directly after shaving, this is followed by a decrease within the next few hours.
Shaving your hair won’t make it any darker or coarser either. A hair shaft is darker and coarser at the root than at the tip, where it tapers to a point, and shaving or cutting it near the root may give the appearance that it is darker and coarser.
Achieve The Ultimate Shave
Getting that shave to a level of ultimate perfection is an aspiration for a lot of men who are burdened with having to plough a razor over their mugs’ every day – shaving for the vast majority of men is done incorrectly, resulting in shaving cuts, razor-burn, rashes and dry-skin. However shaving doesn’t have to be a burden and taking your time to give yourself a good quality shave is in fact quite beneficial. Just follow our simple guide below and you’re on your way to a lifetime of great shaves:
The key to a perfect shave is preparation – one of the most important factors being water.
- It’s best to shave in the morning when your skin has been resting for the night.
- Don’t be in a hurry to shave as soon as you get up, as your skin will be a little ‘puffy’ from your night’s sleep and your shave won’t be as close.
- Wash your face before shaving – shaving with your skin completely clean will help to prevent infections and razor bumps.
- Soak your stubble with warm/hot water or even better shower before you shave. The warm moisture will increase your skin’s elasticity and will soften your beard. Wet hair is easier to shave and the hot water will help break-down your hair’s toughness. Allowing your hair to soften with water is also important to the life of your blade, partly due to the fact that your stubble is actually tougher than the edge of your blade!
- Next – apply your preferred shaving product. We recommend using a good quality shave cream. Try to apply a consistent layer of the product on your face using either your hands or a brush, in a circular motion, going back and forth over the skin and against the grain. This softens your hair, will smooth the skin and lifts your hair, allowing for a closer, less irritating shave.
Shaving – choose a good quality blade and remember to keep it clean during the shave.
- Use both hands – holding your razor with one and using the other to pull / stretch the skin. If stretching your skin with your other hand doesn’t work out, try using your face muscles to give the razor an even surface. An even surface will prevent the razor from ‘pinching’ your skin.
- Always shave with the grain so you don’t get razor burn or damage your skin. Remember that hair doesn’t grow in the same direction on your cheeks as it does on your neck and chin. Stroke your hand over your face to feel the direction of your hair growth.
- Be careful not to press too hard on the blade or you could cause damage to your skin.
- Shaving with short strokes will allow you to be far more precise and will give less skin irritation.
- Rinsing your blade on every other stroke is also important – it’ll increase the performance of each stroke. You should rinse the blade under hot, running water which is far more hygienic and efficient than simply shaking it in the sink.
Post-Shave – equally important as the others, this step ensures that your skin doesn’t feel uncomfortable all day.
- Splash your face with cool/cold water and rinse off any excess shaving residue. Cold water is important as it closes your skin’s pores and reduces razor burn.
- Sooth and hydrate your skin finally, as your skin will be both dry and irritated, with a soothing balm to moisturise your skin and avoid that feeling of razor burn.
Avoiding Ingrown Hairs
Many men suffer from ingrown hairs as a result of daily shaving. Ingrown hairs form after hairs have been cut below the skin surface. As the hair continues to grow, it curls over within the skin follicle and fails to exit the surface. Sebum (oil) can then build up around the hair which causes a ‘plug’, resulting in an unsightly bump on the skin. Most men occasionally have one or two ingrown hairs, especially on the neck area, and they can be a real pain when they become infected and swollen. Ingrown hairs are also a lot more common in men with Afro-Caribbean skin because of their curly hair tendency.
Treating Ingrown Hairs
In some cases, the problem hair may continue to grow out of the skin follicle but becomes trapped under a thin layer of skin. In this case you’ll be able to see the hair growing along under the skin surface and should be able to ‘dislodge’ it with a pair of sharp, sterilized tweezers. Be careful not to actually pluck the hair completely out until the following day, as the follicle will then heal around it rather than over it.
If the problem of ingrown hairs and bumps seems to be getting out of hand, we recommend that you use a product called TENDSKIN Solution – we think that it’s probably one of the most effective solutions to getting rid of ingrown hairs on the market today. However, as with a lot of skin care problems, prevention is usually better than cure.
More Tips on Controlling Ingrown Hairs
• When you shave, never shave against the grain of your beard – instead shave with the grain and use a good quality shaving prep which gives you good lubrication.
• Using a face scrub is also vital in removing dead skin cells and loosening hairs from the skin surface – helping to preventing ingrown hairs.
• To encourage hairs to grow through without any difficulty, you should use an effective moisturiser or shaving balm.
Shaving Your Head
You’re thinking about shaving your head – is it the daily maintenance that comes with owning a mop of hair that you’re fed up with? Maybe you just want to make a statement with your hair (or lack of). Perhaps there aren’t many of your old locks left? Whatever your reason – shaving your head comes with both its advantages and disadvantages. There are also a few tips that you should take on board before you make the plunge.
You can forget about gels, waxes, sprays and shampoo. In fact you can even forget about spending another penny on haircuts. Shaving your head will give you the freedom to wake up in the morning and not worry about a ‘bad hair day’ or the trouble of having to style your hair into place. A shaven head will be cool in summer and will create an instant fashion statement to those around you all year round.
On the other hand – summer won’t stay, and there will be days when you’ll freeze without a warm hat or beanie. Also, when it is summer, your head is far more prone to burning in the sun as the skin on the scalp will be more sensitive than the rest of your body. You’ll lose the hair styling maintenance but you’ll have to shave your head regularly if you want to keep up the shaved look.
Taking the plunge
1. Make sure that before you start to shave, that your hair is at ‘stubble length’.
2. Wet your head thoroughly with warm water
3. Apply your preferred shaving lubrication and work it well into your head – we recommend any shaving oil or gel
4. Choose a good razor to do the task such as the specially designed HeadBlade razor
5. Start to shave as you would normally on your beard, taking your time and leaving the back of the head until last as this is the toughest hair
6. Rinse your head under running warm water
7. Finish off with a shaving balm rubbed into your scalp
8. We also recommend that you use a moisturiser with an SPF on your head to avoid sun damage to the scalp.
There you have it – the complete guide to shaving your head. If you think the bald look is for you then go for it – it’ll always grow back!
Shaving Products – the Lowdown
SHAVE GEL | SHAVE CREAM | SHAVE OIL | SHAVE BALM | ASTRINGENT | ALUM STICK | SHAVING BRUSH
WHAT & WHY?
Shave gels are a popular form of shaving lubrication that allow you to see where you’re shaving due to the transparency of the gel and are generally recommended for oilier skins. Gels containing numbing agents such as menthol or benzocaine can be refreshing but tend to close the pores and stiffen your beard.
HOW & WHEN?
Use in your normal shaving routine before shaving – applying thinly with fingertips to the area to be shaved.
Find a Shave Gel
WHAT & WHY?
Shave Creams are great form of shaving lubrication that provide both moisturising properties and good lubrication. They can be used for all skin types but normal to drier skins will probably benefit most from them.
HOW & WHEN?
Use in your normal shaving routine before shaving – applying thinly with fingertips to the area to be shaved or use a brush to work up into a lather.
Find a Shave Cream
WHAT & WHY?
Shave oils are great for men with thick, heavy beards and can be used underneath shave creams and gels to give extra closeness in your shave.
HOW & WHEN?
Pour a little shaving oil into your hand and work into the shaving area. You can either shave using just the oil or apply a gel or cream over the top of it to give an extra close shave.
Find a Shave Oil
WHAT & WHY?
Most men shave daily, stripping about two layers of skin and protective tissue & oil away each time – this is why shaving balms are essential – very much like moisturisers in that they’ll provide and replace the moisture lost from your shave back into the skin. They are often lightly scented and help to sooth any irritation or razor burn.
HOW & WHEN?
Use after your shave on a dry face. A moisturiser can be used subsequently if your skin still feels tight.
Find a Shave Balm
WHAT & WHY?
Astringents are used to clear the skin of any shaving residue and help to tighten / close the pores. Recommended for oilier skin.
HOW & WHEN?
Splash a little astringent or apply some to a cotton-wool pad and dab onto your face, after shaving.
Find an Astringent
WHAT & WHY?
Alum sticks / blocks are indispensable accessories when you’ve nicked yourself shaving. They instantly stop any bleeding and can disinfect the area. Don’t bother with the little pieces of tissue paper!
HOW & WHEN?
Dab the stick / block on any nicks or cuts after shaving.
Find an Alum Stick
WHAT & WHY?
If you use a shave cream, then you’ll definitely want to use a shaving brush. Not only do they prepare your skin and stubble for your shave but they help to remove dead skin cells from your face surface. They can increase the effectiveness of your shave by up to 50% by lifting your hair and allowing for a far closer shave. They also help to prevent in-grown hairs as they lift the beard away from the skin. If that’s not enough – shaving brushes are also more economical if you want to go over a second time with your razor by just re-using the remaining lather and product on the brush.
HOW & WHEN?
Before using the brush for the first time wash with soap and water and then rinse in clean water. When you are ready to shave, wet the brush under hot water and apply some shave cream to the bristles. Massage over your face in a circular motion to work up a lather. Always rinse your brush well after use and allow to dry naturally with the bristles hanging down to avoid water seeping into the base.
Find a Shaving Brush