To learn how men can shave better, we turned to a woman. A Brazilian woman. A Brazilian woman who is also a dermatologist: Rachel Garcia, M.D. We asked her: Why should a man care about a close smooth shave? “It is much better to touch a man’s face with a close shave,” said Dr. Garcia. “I know women whose boyfriends have very stiff beards.” Not good. “A woman’s skin can become very irritated if she rubs up against that.” Men also notice when a man is taking care of his skin, she adds, and that’s good for business. Good shaving technique also reduces nicks and cuts. So for a healthier, smoother skin, take Dr. Garcia’s advice:
Get Your Skin Hot and Wet First
The more water your skin absorbs before you shave, the better. That’s why it’s a good idea to shave right after your morning shower – or during it. Once your skin is hydrated, put on some shaving cream and go to it. Go with the direction that your hair grows – don’t shave up your neck, but down.
Use Your Own Stuff
After you shave, moisturize. But don’t reach for your girlfriend’s or wife’s skin cream – use a product that is formulated specifically for male skin, says Dr. Garcia. “A man’s skin is usually more oily than a woman’s,” she said, which is why borrowing her cleanser, or using something unisex, is just not as good. “Men also need different levels of hydration,” she explains. Because your skin is likely to be more oily, you’re probably better off with a lighter moisturizer. What products does Garcia recommend? “Vichy is very popular in Brazil,” she says, adding that Clinique and Lancôme have excellent lines for men.
Just as you shouldn’t use your girl’s moisturizer, she shouldn’t share your razor. That’s way too much ground for your razor to cover and it’s sure to dull the blade. “I have learned, not to mess with his razor,” said Dr. Garcia’s colleague and friend, dermatologist Dr. Susan Weinkle, M.D., who has a practice in Bradenton, Florida. “A sharper blade is far less traumatic to the skin. A dull blade pulls at the hairs, so a blade should be changed often. You can feel when your blade is not sharp. I could feel that when I was using my husband’s razor on my legs.” The American Academy of Dermatology recommends swapping out your razor every 5 to 7 shaves.
Never Shave Cold
The bad advice about avoiding razor burn came in came a voiceover during the film Good Morning Vietnam: “Rinse your razor in cold water instead of hot.” On the website, Sly Bald Guys Forum, some of the bald guys thought that meant shaving with cold water. It doesn’t! It means warm during your shave, and cold to rinse your razor after your shave. What about your face? Cold water after you shave is a good idea, as it helps close up those pores that you opened up with warm water or a hot shower. After a cold splash of water, pat your face dry with a towel, but don’t rub.
Now that you’ve got a cool clean smooth shave, venture forth and be a true gentleman.
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