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Tips for getting the best shaving results

Letís face it, shaving is an invasive activity. Applying a sharp metal blade to your face cuts hairs but also removes microscopic layers of skin and can cause irritation. Contrary to uninformed opinions, you shouldnít abuse your face to get a close shave. Quite the opposite. These seven simple rules will minimize damage and improve your shaving results.

Picking a razor

When youíre picking a razor, look for a high quality double or triple blade razor. Ones with disposable heads are typically higher quality than disposable razors. (Never shave your face with a single blade disposable razor.)

* Use a sharp blade: Discard shaving blades after four or five uses. Unfortunately, they donít stay sharp enough for more than that. Use gentle strokes; donít put too much pressure on the blade.

* Avoid irritants: They can damage your skin and create microscopic swelling. Avoid anything that tingles, stings or numbs during or after shaving, when your skin is vulnerable. Stay away from alcohol or strong plant extracts such as menthol, peppermint or citrus.

Shaving cream? Shaving oil? Just hot water?

In order to get a close shave, you need water, and lots of it. Many men stand in front of the mirror and splash their face with a bit of water before adding on shaving cream.

* Shave in the shower: Shaving should be your final step before leaving the shower. If you want a close, comfortable shave, get a fog resistant mirror and put it in your shower. The warm moisture of a shower makes hairs soft and plump and opens your pores.

By giving your face time to soak in hot water and steam, your razor will glide, not drag, across your face. If you canít shave in the shower, shave after your shower for best results.

* Lubricate: Try using shaving oil for a smooth shave. A performance shaving formula should form a slick lubricating cushion to allow shaving blades to glide without scraping. Leave it on your face for a minute before shaving.

A few drops are all youíll need for your whole face. You can use oil alone, or apply it under your shave cream for more protection against bumps.

Avoid the cheap-o creams that you find at the drugstore which can dehydrate your skin, making it more prone to nicks and cuts. Try a moisturizing shaving cream which contains aloe vera to soothe your face.

Get a brush

When you use a shaving brush to apply your shaving oil or shaving cream, youíre literally lifting the hair on your face, preparing them for the shave. Simply rubbing cream on your face doesnít give each hair ample attention. Select a soft menís shaving brush that is cruelty-free as well as budget friendly.

Donít forget to exfoliate

Exfoliating might not be in your skin care regimen, but if you get shaving bumps, youíre going to want to add it. Simply use a facial exfoliator 2-3 times a week to buff away the dead skin cells that your hair grows back into. By removing the layer of dead skin on a regular basis, youíll see a vast improvement in your shaving bump situation.

* Use a face scrub: A gentle scrubbing massage will help open pores, prime follicles and raise stubs for a closer shave. This exfoliation removes dead cells and impurities that can cause acne, ingrown hair and infection. It will also smooth and renew your complexion. After you wash your face, simply massage in a grainy facial exfoliator for a minute or two with gentle circular motions.

Another option is to use a moisturizer each morning with AHAís in it. Because AHAís will naturally exfoliate your skin, this will eliminate the need for the extra exfoliating step.

* Post-trauma soothing: Donít skip this step; it is important to calm irritation, balance your skinís moisture content and prevent potential problems such as ingrown hairs or clogged pores. No alcohol! You need proven functional anti-inflammatory and pore-clearing ingredients.

* For special occasions: Shave in two steps. First, shave with the grain with very light pressure. Second, reapply a coat of shaving cream and shave against the grain for super-close and smooth results.

- skincare.about.com

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