Everyone has their individual preferences on the topic of facial and body hair. Some women like to embrace it, others want it to stay away and will go through any measure for removal. There are two primary methods of hair removal which are depilation, removal at the surface of the skin and epilation, removal beneath the surface of the skin. To learn more about hair removal visit www.hairremoval.org. On a daily basis, I meet women that are simply afraid to experience epilation methods. Although they typically last longer are result in smoother skin, many women prefer the traditional shaving technique. With this technique, however, women and men encounter the dreaded effects of…ingrown hairs. These little monsters are painful, irritating and downright ugly!
In my experience, the best way to ward off ingrown hair is to first exfoliate the skin before shaving using an exfoliating topical product, a rotating shaving brush or loofah. This helps loosen the skin and helps allow the hair to grow out of the follicle properly. You may want to invest in a brush which is made for both cleansing and applying shaving cream or gel, this tool also helps point hair up giving you a closer shave if you use it to apply your shaving cream or gel. Because of its powerful, yet gentle cleansing and exfoliation, many people say it wards off razor bumps/rash and ingrown hair. When the skin can breathe: it treats you better.
Read how to wet shave…PROPERLY
Step 1: Gather materials
Sharp, clean razor
Shaving brush/ exfoliating scrub / loofah
Quality shaving cream shaving gel or oil
Step 2: Prep your skin
- Before shaving exfoliate the skin by removing dead skin cells…leaving you with a smoother surface. Apply exfoliating scrub, rub in circular motions for about 2-3 mins, then rinse.
Step 3: Soften the skin
- Apply a warm towel on your face and allow the steam to soften the pores and the hair, making hair removal easier.
Step 4: Apply the shaving cream, evenly
- Shaving cream prevents chafing/rubbing that may be caused by applying the razor over your skin. It also moisturizes the skin and hair. If you are using a brush, apply a generous amount to the brush and use circular motions for at least a minute. Using a shaving brush, again, helps lift the hair which means easier removal and less ingrown hairs. For side burns or goatees, use a clear gel or oil so that you can see where you are shaving.
Step 5: Use a sharp razor; do not rush
- Never use a dull razor because it will drag along the skin and possibly leave you with a razor burn or rash…painful! Start at your cheek and move downward toward the chin, FOLLOWING THE DIRECTION OF THE HAIR’S GROWTH. Hold the skin firmly in the opposite direction of the razor.
- Use short, firm stokes and rinse the razor after every 3-4 strokes.
- The bikini line and some facial hair, especially on your chin, is more coarse. Allow the cream to sit and soften before shaving. Remember to shave in the direction of hair growth; going opposite the grain will lead to ingrown hair and rashes!
*Tip* invest in a men’s razor for those areas as they are designed to remove coarser hair
For the lip area, curl your lip over your teeth and use short strokes in a downward motion. Do the same for the bottom lip.
Underneath you arms: some people have hair growing in all directions. Examine your hair growth and shave in the direction of YOUR hair growth. Everyone’s hair does not grow downward.
Legs and arms: shave in the opposite direction of hair growth for maximal removal in these areas.
*TIP* shaving in the shower using a fog free mirror is great. The Steam will keep pores open and soften the hair, resulting in a smooth finish.
Step 6: Rinse and remove
- Rinse with cool water to seal the pores and check for stray hairs, if you’ve missed a spot, remove with cream and the razor.
Step 7: Dry and Moisturize
- Pat dry with a towel, rubbing causes friction and lint residue. After which, apply aftershave balm, oil or cream to calm the skin. Choose a product that minimizes redness, burns and irritation. Lastly, replenish the essential oils that were lost during shaving by applying a moisturizer and SPF to protect the freshly shaved skin.
- Lastly, a few days after shaving, make sure you exfoliate again. Dead skin cells build up daily and it is important for us to keep the surface of the skin clear and smooth. If you happen to experience ingrown hairs, (as more African Americans are more susceptible) consider your shaving technique and make adjustments. Secondly, consider purchasing an ingrown hair products such as tend skin or kity kity. If the problem persists, see your dermatologist and consider other methods of hair removal.