Poor shaving habits can leave your skin itchy, red, and irritated. Why go through the whole process of shaving if your skin is still going to feel prickly afterwards?
The goal of shaving is to get sleek, smooth skin without any irritation, but getting there can sometimes be harder than you think.
So what’s the best way to shave and avoid these adverse effects?
If you’ve tried both dry and wet shaving, you’ll already know which one is better for your skin, just based on how your skin felt.
Beyond shaving wet or dry, there are plenty of other things to learn about shaving in a way that’s healthy for your skin. In this article, we’ll find out which is best, and discuss how to get the perfect shave without sacrificing the quality of your skin.
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What Is Dry Shaving?
Dry shaving is pretty self-explanatory: it means you’re shaving with dry skin and hair. That’s right—no water, no shaving cream or gel, nothing. It’s just you and a razor—yikes.
Dry shaving does have its advantages, however minimal. It may seem like a good idea if you have limited time, no access to water, or are otherwise in a rush to remove body hair.
On the flip side, skin irritation is almost inevitable with dry shaving. You are more likely to develop razor burn, razor bumps, and ingrown hairs, all of which are extremely uncomfortable.
Even worse, dry shaving doesn’t cut your hair as close to the surface as wet shaving does, meaning your shave will not be as clean, smooth, and even as typically desired. All that pain for nothing!
Dry shaving with a simple razor is dangerous, so if you’re going to dry shave, use an electric razor. Unfortunately, the latter is much more expensive and takes more work to maintain. So, any time you might save by dry shaving might actually be spent cleaning your electric razor.
Finally, dry shaving is a certified no-no for anyone that has acne or other skin conditions. Skin that is already bothered or inflamed will only be made worse with dry shaving.
Essentially, the (very) minimal benefits of dry shaving are totally outweighed by the many, many downsides—so don’t even think about it.
What Is Wet Shaving?
Wet shaving is the most common way to shave, and it involves wetting the skin with water and then applying shaving cream or gel before going in with the razor.
There’s a clear reason for using water and cream to shave. Without them, the hair is brittle and makes for a tougher, more uneven shave. When the hair is wet, it softens, allowing for the razor to get closer to the surface.
By shaving wet, you can achieve the smoothest, most even shave possible while minimizing any irritation to your skin. Wet shaving is more affordable than dry shaving, too, since you don’t have to (and probably should not) use a pricey electric razor.
In fact, the only downside of wet shaving is that it takes a little bit more time than dry shaving. However, this should not be a turnoff. Start to look at wet shaving as a regular part of your daily or weekly body care ritual, and shaving will start to feel like less of a chore.
Which Shaving Material Should You Use?
You might think water is all you need, but there’s more to that in wet shaving—always use shaving cream as well. In addition to making the hair extra soft, shaving cream creates a barrier between your skin and the razor, so you’ll be less likely to cut yourself or create razor burn.
Another little tip is to avoid buying a shaving cream or gel if it doesn’t have non-comedogenic on the label. A comedogenic cream is one that will cause your pores to clog, therefore stimulating acne growth. Also, stay clear of shaving creams and gels that contain any alcohol or drying features.
What’s The Difference Between Shaving Cream And Shaving Gel?
- • It’s less transparent, so using shaving cream makes for a somewhat ‘blind’ shave. This is not necessarily dangerous; you just won’t be able to see each hair that you’re shaving from under the cream.
- • Shaving cream turns into foam once applied to the skin.
- • Shaving gel is see-through, so you can see exactly where you still need to shave.
- • Shaving gel doesn’t have a lathering texture.
Both shaving gel and cream are readily accessible and generally affordable. Which one you decide to use purely comes down to personal preference.
What Type of Razor Should You Use?
Using the right type of razor is crucial to an excellent shave. With wet shaving, use a single-blade or multi-blade simple razor rather than an electric razor. Simple razors will allow you to get closer to the skin surface for that silky soft feel.
There are two myths regarding razors and shaving that need to be set straight:
1. Myth: More blades are better.
A greater number of blades on a razor isn’t necessarily better. Every time you shave, you’re making tiny lesions on the skin. If you use a single-blade razor, you’re only making one lesion per shave.
Multi-blade razors, on the other hand, make multiple lesions with every stroke. Multi-blade razors may be more convenient for larger surfaces, such as your legs, but one-blade razors are preferable for more sensitive regions like the armpits and the pubic area.
2. Myth: A sharper blade is more dangerous.
Nope. In fact, it is quite the opposite! You’re more likely to cut your skin with a dull blade, and therefore it is extremely important to make sure to use a sharp blade. One way to make sure that your razor blades are always sharp enough is by changing them frequently. The longer you use the same blade, the more chance there is of bacteria growth and increasingly duller blades.
It’s also good practice to rinse your blades off between every stroke of shaving. For one, this removes any shaving cream or gel that may have attached to the blades. But it also washes off excess hair and keeps the blades as clean as possible for the healthiest shave.
Shaving With The Grain vs. Shaving Against The Grain
When you shave with the grain, you’re shaving in the direction of your hair growth. When you shave against the grain, you’re shaving in the opposite direction of your hair growth. You should be able to tell which direction your hair is growing by the way it leans or curls over to one side.
Shaving with the grain is better for your skin. This is especially important when it comes to coarser hair, such as facial and pubic hair, as these areas are more sensitive to irritation and razor burn.
Shaving against the grain when shaving your legs is not as dangerous, but aim to shave with the grain whenever possible, especially if you frequently experience skin irritation after shaving.
What Should You Do Before And After Shaving?
The steps you take before and after shaving are specific to the region of the body that you’re planning to shave.
Let’s take a look at the best practices for each body part:
- • Take a warm shower and use a cleanser before shaving.
- • After shaving, wait around 30 minutes before applying moisturizer.
• Treat your face afterwards with the Vitamin C Clay Mask from Gleamin, an excellent revitalizing and hydrating option, especially for people with acne.
- • While in the shower, use warm water instead of hot water.
- • Longer strokes are better than short ones, and be especially careful in the bony parts of your legs, where nicks are more common.
- • When moisturizing afterwards, use cream in place of lotion.
- • Though it may seem excessive to apply shaving cream to your underarms, do so anyway.
- • Wait a considerable amount of time after shaving your underarms to apply deodorant.
- • The bikini area can be a particularly pesky area to shave, prone to itchiness and razor burn. First, trim down any hairs before using a razor.
- • Get rid of any dry skin buildup in the area by lightly exfoliating.
- • Finally, use a fragrant- and oil-free moisturizing cream after your shave.
These tips should help you achieve the optimal shave in all parts of your body while maintaining healthy, moisturized, razor burn-free skin.
The Bare Faced Truth
Dry shaving requires no water or shaving cream or gel, and its greatest advantage is time and convenience. However, dry shaving is also more likely to irritate the skin than wet shaving, causing razor burns, ingrown hairs, nicks, and other damage to the skin. Wet shaving is a far better option to get the smoothest shave and to avoid any skin irritation.
The type of shaving cream and razor you use requires some deliberation. Certain razor types and post-/pre-shaving activities are preferable depending on what part of the body you’re shaving. And remember, you should also moisturize and replenish the skin after a shave, no matter where you shaved. With that, you get smooth and silky skin that lasts longer.
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