` Getting Smooth: 5 Tips to Make You a Better Shaver
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Getting Smooth: 5 Tips to Make You a Better Shaver

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In 336 BC, Alexander The Great advised his troops to keep their facial hair in check. “A shaved face eliminates dangerous beard-grabbing in combat,” the Macedonian king said. He also preferred the baby-faced look because it appeared more well-kempt and “polished.” In Alexander’s time, people removed hair by pulling it out between seashells or trimming it with copper tools. Today’s high-tech razors range from blades made out of meteorites to oscillating heads. Despite these advancements, getting an ultra-smooth shave free of nicks, ingrown hairs, and irritation seems like a daunting task for the everyday man. Revamp your shaving routine with the following 5 tips to make you a better shaver.

1. Wetshaving. If you want a truly close shave, wetshaving is the only way to go. The term wetshaving just means to use water with the shave, as opposed to using the razor on dry skin. To get a good wetshave, prep your skin with warm water for at least 5 minutes by steaming your face with a steamy towel or taking a shower. The water creates a smooth layer on top of the skin, protecting it from the tug of the razor. Tugging occurs because your hairs are actually sharper than the blade of the razor, which can drag across your skin. The warmth of the water also opens up your skin’s hair follicles, allowing more of the hair to protrude from the skin for a closer shave.

2. Go with the grain. It’s pretty common knowledge that shaving in the direction that your hair grows will seriously cut down on ingrown hairs and rashes caused by shaving. The reason few people follow this guideline is because shaving with the grain simply doesn’t offer you a very close shave. “It won't be as close because the hairs are at a 45-degree angle instead of 90 degrees, but it is gentle. You can always do one last pass against the grain,” says David E. Bank, MD, director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York.

3. One is better than two (or six). Most of today’s heavily marketed razors offer a battering of blades—the ultra popular Gillette Mach 3 uses a standard trio of blades while Men’s Zone offers a 6 blade razor. But many experts report that one blade is all you need, with additional blades increasing irritation. Roxanne Griego is an administrator and director at Arizona Board of Barbers, and strongly prefers a lone blade. “If you've prepared the skin, all you need is a single.” Regardless of how many blades you use, make sure that they’re super sharp. Dull blades can leave you with stubble and irritation.

4. Exfoliate. Over time, people’s skin builds up with dead skin cells that make the skin appear dull and rough. It can also contribute to a less-than-stellar shave, as the skin cells create a barrier between your fresh skin and whiskers. There are a number of ways to exfoliate, and they’re not all reminiscent of girly sea salt scrubs. British men are fond of using badger hair shaving brushes to buff shaving cream into their beards, dually creating a lather and sloughing off deceased epidermis. If that sounds too high maintenance to you, using a paste made out of mashed up aspirin and water once a week will keep your cheeks supersoft.

5. Shaving isn’t the end-all, be-all of hair removal. We get it—shaving is pretty easy, convenient, and cheap. But for some people, the frequency and irritation associated with shaving outweighs its benefits. Hair removal alternatives include waxing, electrolysis, and laser hair removal. These methods initially require more commitment than the morning shave, but they payoff is that they last longer—as in the case of laser hair removal, for the rest of your life. Plus, these hair removal methods eliminate painful and unsightly ingrown hairs, rashes, and other signs of irritation.

Hair Removal Forum is dedicated to providing valuable information on all things laser hair removal, including laser hair removal from the facial area. In addition, we can schedule you a personal consultation with a laser hair removal specialists in your area. During your consultation, you’ll learn more about the procedure as well as your personal candidacy, pricing, and more. Start finding a laser hair removal professional now!

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