Do you get weird bumps on your face and neck after shaving? You know the ones - itchy, sometimes painful, irritating bumps that make shaving and going out in public a bit awkward.
You may know them as razor bumps when in fact they're more than likely ingrown hairs - and you're making them worse without even knowing it.
What are ingrown hairs?
They’re hairs that have grown into your skin. People with curly or coarse hair tend to have it worse than others since their hair curls back towards the skin. Even something as simple as clogged hair follicles can cause hair to grow back into the skin, causing ingrown hairs.
And, as you well know, shaving doesn’t always help the situation.
If you’re struggling with this, the good news is you can prevent it from happening. There’s a way to shave without getting ingrown hairs, and it only takes a few simple steps.
So without further ado, here are 5 simple ways to prevent those nasty ingrown hairs from rearing their ugly heads.
1. Prepare your face properly.
The first step is knowing how to prepare your face and when the best time to shave is.
Your face is prime for shaving when it's clean and whiskers are soft, and the shower is perfect for achieving both. Plus any dead skin that is washed away will help prevent your hair follicles from clogging - which causes ingrown hairs.
So shave right when you get out of the shower to nip that issue in the bud. If you can't shave immediately after you take a shower, soak your face with a hot, wet towel for a minute or two.
2. Use the right products.
Still using shaving foam or gel from an aerosol can? Stop.
Shaving gels and creams have chemicals and numbing agents that damage your skin and cause irritation. And nobody has time for that.
Instead, use a quality shaving soap with all natural ingredients to help build a thick, protective lather. This will provide a good cushion for your shave, while also lifting the whiskers away from your skin for a much closer shave.
And finally, after shaving use a non-alcoholic post shave tonic to soothe and restore moisture to your face.
3. Know how to shave without sabotaging your face.
If you’re pressing the razor against your face while you shave, you’re doing too much. You might think you’re achieving a closer shave, but in reality, you’re only creating an uneven surface to shave on, which won’t properly cut the hairs.
Think of it like you're sweeping the hair off your face - not scraping it off. Your job is to pull the razor along and guide it. If you’re having to push down, it’s probably time you retire that blade.
4. Take the time to map your grain properly, and shave accordingly.
If you have sensitive skin, it's best to only shave with the grain. Shaving against the grain tugs and pulls hairs in the opposite direction (which, as we've already learned, is one way ingrown hairs occur). But how do you know if you’re going with the grain at all times?
Hairs can grow in all directions in different parts of your face and neck. When you map your grain, you ensure you’re not accidentally going against the grain and causing more ingrown hair problems.
To map your grain, let your beard grow for a few days, and then take a picture of it. You’ll probably want to take a couple from different angles, including one pointing up at the middle of your neck and chin. You can then use these pictures as a map of your grain going forward.
5. Rinse your blade after every stroke.
Every time you take a stroke while shaving, your blade accumulates shaving soap, hair, and skin. This build-up prevents your blade from getting that clean close shave every time and can also cause skin irritation.
Fix this by simply rinsing your blade thoroughly after every stroke, and you’ll be one step closer to a clean, ingrown-hair-free face.