We’ve all been there. What looked like a sexy bit of stubble, has turned into a bearded mess and you realise you need to sort it, pronto. My wife is only too quick to point out that us men really don’t have any beauty needs to worry about. But, she couldn’t be more wrong. Shaving is an art form, and we’re just expected to be able to do it, with our end result often looking more ‘Stig of the dump’, than the David Ghandi look we were going for. I mean, we seem to be surrounded by beautiful men wherever we go. And I have to say, in a job like mine, where travel is my bread and butter, I too often experience shave envy. On my travels, I started thinking to myself – hey, I’m a man. And I’ve got facial hair, so why can’t I become part of this elite group? Why can't I pull off a clean shave without looking like a stubbly mess?
The male grooming industry is big, and considered one of the fastest growing industries to be in. And having been in this industry a while now, I’ve started to learn more and more about what not to do when it comes to facial hair, and indeed how I, and you can become the David Ghandi, you so desire.
One thing us men really tend to overlook and indeed one of the biggest culprits of the dreaded 'barbers rash' is the hygiene and condition of your razor. We only too often neglect our skin, with these very basic no-no's.
- A clean, smooth razor. You wouldn't clean your car with a dirty jagged sponge, so why on earth would you attempt a shave with a potentially bacteria filled, blunt razor? Using a razor like this is just asking for trouble and will only encourage those pores to fill up with rubbish and cause you and your skin problems. Using a blunt razor can cause real slicing and dicing, and none of us want to emerge from the bathroom looking like we’ve gone to battle. Bear in mind that there is nothing wrong with a clean towel and fresh razor. Treat your skin how you treat your car.
- Spot prone skin - no-one can change the skin they were given. Some men are lucky enough not to suffer with the likes of acne, but some do, and it's probably more common than you think. So, it's time to give your skin the TLC it wants and deserves. If you do happen to have spot prone skin, take extra precautions. Use pre-shave oil and face wash. As well as a natural moisturiser. Incorporate these things into your shaving ritual. And of course, take your time when shaving. There is nothing worse than piercing skin unnecessarily, because you didn't take the time to shave carefully.
- Neglecting sensitive skin – If you do suffer from sensitive skin it’s important you don’t neglect it. If you don’t give your skin the TLC it needs, you are more likely to develop a rash or reaction to shaving. All it takes is some pre and post shave rituals to relieve even the most delicate dermal layers. Consider using a beard softening oil, face wash or exfoliating scrub, to prepare your beard for battle. And once you’ve emerged from the other side, pick up an aftershave balm to help avoid bumps.
- Ignoring dry skin – dry skin can be unsightly, and you can imagine, taking a blade to it doesn’t exactly rub it up the right way. Ignoring dry skin and shaving without any precautions is inevitably going to end up in flakes, redness or worse, the dreaded in-grown hairs. Changes in weather can wreak havoc on your skin, but don’t overlook to power of harsh soaps, vitamin deficiency and sun burn. Thankfully, this can all be avoided if you use an all-purpose SPF moisturiser every day, post shower to get that soft supple skin you’ve been longing for.
- In grown hairs – arguably the most irritating of the bunch and equally the most tempting to try and tackle yourself. In grown hairs are just an annoying reality when it comes to maintaining facial hair. Some people admittedly suffer worse than others, but I’m sure we’ve all fallen prey to them. Tempting as it is, try to avoid going fishing with tweezers, as it will only make the problem worse. Instead, grab a hot wash cloth to help bring hairs to the surface of the skin. Then you’ve got the green light to pluck them out, as you won’t damage the skin in the process. Keeping on top of exfoliating will also help to alleviate the problem as well.
Taking all the above into account will ultimately make the process of shaving a lot easier. It’s tempting to not take the time you really need to look after your skin. But, at the end of the day – we only get one face, so treat it with the respect it deserves.