Blades give the closest shave, but that's also their downfall. They're much more likely to leave you with a nasty case of pseudofolliculitis barbae--those red post-shaving bumps that hurt like hell and don't look too great, either. Razors can sharpen your hairs into tiny spears, and as they grow out, they can curl back into the skin, says Tina B. West, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Three- or four-blade razorsproduce a closer shave--but the more blades, the more bumps. If you get bumps, go electric. If you don't, choose the space-age design you prefer--neither is more likely to cause wrinkles, skin damage, or premature aging.
Shaving with a blade can be quick and easy. Dab on some shaving cream, pick up a razor and drag it across your face until the stubble’s gone. A really good shave though, requires a little time and know-how.
Start by washing your face. Facial cleansers work best because they help soften the protein in the hair. Harsh soaps, on the other hand, wash away hair-softening oils. Leave the cleanser on your face for one minute before you rinse. Rinse with hot water. One key to a good shave is keeping the skin hot and moist.
Lather (use a brush)
A good brush really pushes the cream into the hair and makes it much easier to shave. We recommend using a badger hair brush for its ability to lift the hairs and really coat them with cream. Use a shaving cream or gel. Choose one labeled "for sensitive skin" if you need it.
Let the shaving cream sit on your face for 2 - 3 minutes. You can trim your nose hair or worry about your hairline to pass the time. Waiting a couple minutes softens the hair and makes a one-pass shave possible. The longer you let it sit, the better.
When it comes to razors there's no need to fool with multiblade razors. A single blade will work fine. The important thing to keep mind is the blade you use must be sharp. Discard it if you see a nick in the blade; otherwise, if you shave most days, change blades every week or two. How often you must change blades is another good reason to stick with inexpensive single blades rather than three- or five-blade razors, which can be costly. The more expensive the blade, the less likely you may be to change as you should.
Also, leave the straight razors to the pros. Though they might come in handy in a back alley fight, they’re hard to handle and keep sharp and even.
Go With the Grain
Shave with the grain. The direction your hair is growing. Though you may get a closer shave if you go against it, you make razor burn or ingrown hairs more likely. Softening the hair first, as described above, should allow you a close, comfortable shave in one with-the-grain pass. The more time you go over an area, the more irritation you'll get. If you have thick hair it's particularly important to go with the grain.
Follow your shave with a cold water rinse. Cold water reduces inflammation, close your pores, and tightens your skin. You can use any aftershave you like. but try using one without alcohol. Alcohol dries out your skin.
The shaved head can be several things: a low-maintenance styling solution, a way to cope with baldness, or a fashion statement. It can also be very erotic. First, use clippers to give yourself a buzz cut. Then, remember . . .
Your Scalp is not Your Face
Scalp skin is tougher because the dermis, or collagen layer, is thicker, also, facial hair grows in single units, but scalp hair grows in groups of one to four. If you're going to shave your head, exfoliate it with a facial scrub the night before. Then apply an oil treatment like the Art of Shaving preshave oil with lavender to soften the hair and lubricate your skin.
Use Only Alcohol-Free Shaving Creams
Check for ingredients that end in "ol," indicating an alcohol, which will dry your skin. Look instead for natural oils like coconut and olive.
Pressing Down Doesn't Give You a Closer Shave
Use short strokes, under 2 inches; long ones can clog the blade with hair. Don't shave against the grain—shave sideways to get closer, or apply more lather and shave again.
Start at the Front
Shave from your left ear to your right ear. Then shave down from the crown. A super-sharp Gillette Mach3 Turbo Champion razor ($9 at drugstores nationwide) will make the job easier.
Polish It Up With A Moisturizer That's Noncomedogenic
Use one that won't clog your pores.
REMEMBER! Always protect your suddenly unprotected head with an Spf-30 or higher sunscreen!