Solving the Muzzle Puzzle
By Brian Greenwood
Shaving. It’s one of those key lessons in a boy’s life one would assume would be handed down by the father. For me, it was not so. That’s not to say that my old man was a deadbeat – not by a long shot – he spent many hours schooling me on the intricacies of women, hockey, fishing, and the stock market. However when it came to the topic of my muzzle, the lesson was short and sweet: Barbasol plus a Bic razor. Go. Wham bam thank you ma’am!
A face full of ingrown hairs with a few nicks and cuts were my post-shave norm.
I learned, at age 30, how to shave properly from my wife’s dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett. The first thing she told me was that about 50 percent of her patients don’t shave properly. “It’s a time-consuming ritual, and the other problem is educating men about their skin,” she says.
Because I know that I am not the only guy who was left in the dark about how to properly shave, I’m here to share with you Dr. Kellett’s game-changing advice, so that you can see the light too.
New father? Consider this your cheat sheet for that all-important boy-to-man chat.
Step 1: Shower!
A nice hot shower will open up the pores and soften the skin and hair. Be sure to use a gel-based exfoliator – not a harsh one make from apricot or walnut shells, which are fine for the body but not the face, says Kellett. This type of scrub gently and effectively remove the dead outer layer of skin and keep the pores clean, she explains.
Step 2: Lather and Lift
Use a badger-hair shaving brush to apply shave gel (which doesn’t dry out the skin) in a circular motion. Using a brush, instead of your hands, helps lift the hairs, allowing the razor to cut them more cleanly and minimizing the stubborn few that escape the blade.
Step 3: Splurge on a good razor
Disposable razors are okay if you’re in a pinch for time, but not for long-term use. Use a sharp, multiblade razor that cost more than $10. Rinse after every pass to remove hair and shave cream, and don’t press hard when shaving or you’ll be removing a layer of skin too. Simply let the blade glide over your face and replace the cartridge after four or five uses.
Step 4: Go with the grain
Shave in the direction the hair grows, not against it, suggests Kellett. Otherwise you’ll scrape away a layer of skin! Also note that sideburns, chin and neck hair doesn’t always point downward.
Step 5: Wash and pat
Splash your clean shaven face with cold water to close the pores. Pat dry with a clean towel.
Step 6: Moisturize asap
Use a gel-based lotion or aftershave to replenish the skin, advises Kellett. Skipping this step may result in dryness and itchy skin that could result in pesky ingrown hairs.