When you want to show some skin but feeling too lazy or too busy to visit a waxing salon, shaving is the ultimate speedy solution. With just few sweep of your razor, you are hair-free and your skin feels amazing in an instant. However, 2 to 3 days after, ugly bumps and dryness can come to haunt you after a careless shaving session. How to avoid these? A little diligence can go along way when you follow these easy steps:
- The skin should be thoroughly cleansed. Cleansing removes surface soils that can interfere with the shaving process.
- Apply moisturizer or shaving cream/gel. Hair is mostly keratin, and keratin has a high affinity for water. Hydrating softens the hair to make it more pliable and easier to cut. Avoid products containing ethyl alcohol or denatured alcohol.
- Rinse with warm water. Warm water makes the hair stand as the razor glides through the surface. This prevents creating sharp edge as the hair grows back up.
The graph below shows effect of hydration time on force required to cut hair though shaving. The most significant reduction occurs over the first 2 minutes. It is therefore important to wait for 2 to 3 minutes before shaving wet & moisturized skin.
Source: Draelos, Zoe (2016) Cosmetic Dermatology: Products and Procedures, 2nd Ed, UK
However, one should avoid prolonged soaking because it can macerate skin and cause surface to become uneven. This makes hair removal less efficient and increases the risk of damaging the skin. Excessive soaking can also deplete the natural moisturizing factor in skin which exacerbate any dryness caused by shaving.
- Cover the shaving area with moisturizer or shaving creame.
- Shave along the direction of the hair, at least for the first few strokes
- Constantly rinse to keep the blade surface clean. Dirty blade can result to irregular cut
- Use short, precise strokes. Longer strokes increases pressure applied on the razor.
- Following the shave, skin should be thoroughly rinsed with water to remove all traces of shaving preparation, since these products are generally surfactant-based and leaving surfactant in contact with the skin can induce or exacerbate irritation.
A gentle acne cleanser containing salicylic acid can be used to cleanse area after shaving. Salicyclic acid has keratolytic properties (it softens keratin) which prevents ingrown hair
2. Rinsing with cool water can have a soothing effect on the skin.
3. Apply a mild moisturizer to speed the repair process and thus help to mitigate any stratum corneum damage that might result from shaving. Choose moisturizers containing aloe vera, chamomile, allantoin or licorice for their soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Do not use after shaves formulated with alcohol (ethyl or denatured alcohol). Alcohol is volatile (quickly evaporates) and leaves a cooling sensation as it dries up right after application. Alcohol binds with water from the skin as it evaporates and causes dryness.
Human Nature Acne Defense
Price : PHP 10/ gram ; PHP 200 per bottle
Product highlight: This can be applied to shaved skin that is prone to appearance of bumps or chicken skin. It contains anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties from tea tree oil. It’s aloe vera juice is also soothes the newly shaved skin.
Vaseline Intensive care spray moisturizer
Price : PHP 1.47 per gram / PHP 279 per botte
Where to buy: http://www.beautymnl.com
Product highlight: Contains aloe vera extract which is very effective in healing skin. This product is a spray moisturizer which makes it even more ideal for after-shaving.
- Exfoliate 24 hours after shaving and thereafter. Salt scrubs can smoothen superficial layers of the skin. Chemical exfoliates can help in fast turnover of skin layer to remove dull and dry skin. Do not exfoliate when there is skin cut as a result of shaving.
- Moisturize skin regularly with gentle products.
I was often told by my grandma not to shave because it makes the hair grow back faster and thicker. As a teen, I used to believe this. But the truth is, this myth is unfounded. The visible hair above the skin surface is consist of dead keratin and does not contain any living cells. Shaving does not affect the root of the hair, where the “living” cells responsible for hair growth is located. This myth is perhaps based on the observation that after shaving, straight and thick hair is observed. Hair is normally thinner on the tips and is thicker the nearer it is to the roots. In shaving, the tip of the “grown” hair after shaving is the cross section of the whole hair that was close to the roots, hence its thicker appearance compared to plucking, threading or waxing.
Some helpful advice
- It is okay to use your boyfriend’s razor. Men, as we all know, has mastered the art of shaving. Razors designed for men have improved their cutting technology to get very close shave. Choose the nifty ones available in the market over those disposable lady-razors.
- Allow your hair to grow at least half an eyelash length before shaving again. Do not shave through ingrown hair.
- You don’t have to buy shaving cream and after-shave products as simple moisturizer can do the trick. Make sure to apply a small area on your skin first, especially after shaving to check if it stings or irritates your skin.
- A gentle anti-acne product can be handy after shaving. This softens keratin and prevents chicken skin after shaving.
Draelos, Zoe (2016) Cosmetic Dermatology: Products and Procedures, 2nd Ed, UK
http://www.dermascope.com/hair-removal/when-razor-meets-skin#.WObzJdL5jIV ; retrieved April 7 2017