Table of Contents
How and why I took actions with my Razor bumps and ingrowing hairs…
Razor bumps, irritated skin, and ingrowing hairs… if these words fill you with dread then you’re probably in the same position that I was in just a few months ago. For a two months period, I was really suffering, and nothing I tried to soothe my skin was really helping. The first turning point was using an astringent, called witch hazel, which had an immediately positive effect (you can see the before and after pics in the video)!
I decided to do more research and found 5 key factors that have a real impact on the results of a shave, and more specifically on razor bumps and ingrowing hair. In this first part of my new series on getting a better shave, I will layout these reasons – my follow up videos will be exploring each in a lot more depth. Now, this will be particularly relevant for other black people, as our coarse and curly hair makes us particularly susceptible to problems while shaving. However, it will also be relevant for anybody who wants a precautious shave to soothe sensitive skin and, although I’ll be discussing facial shaving, it can also apply to women who have troubles with razor bumps and ingrowing hairs when shaving off body hair.
Here are the 5 key things that you need to start factoring into your shaving routine to prevent razor bumps and ingrowing hairs:
- Stop using a multi-bladed razor. I’m sure many other people, like me, make the mistake of using a multi-bladed razor. While these are supposed to cut through all the hair in one clean pass, you’ll generally find that some of the blades will pull rather than cutting. The result is that the razor cuts below the skinline. For black people, this increases the risk of razor bumps as the hair will start to curl beneath the skin!
The alternative is a single-bladed razor with a double-edged blade – which cuts parallel to the skin. In my video you’ll find a handy animation that demonstrates the difference; using these razors also means that you can get the highest quality blade, making for a better and more comfortable shave.
- Make sure you’re shaving in the right direction. The two main options here are shaving with the grain, e.g. from the root to the tip, and shaving against the grain, e.g. from the tip to the root. Going against the grain is a big cause of irritation, leading to the types of shaving problems that I’m discussing in this post.
So how do you fix it? Well, rather than using TV ads to decide how to shave, which won’t be tailored to your skin, you need to become familiar with the way that your hair grows. I’ve created a unique face map which will help you learn which way your hair grows, and allow you to shave with the grain every time. This will be explored in much more depth in the next part of the series.
- Start Exfoliating. Although I was already exfoliating, I know that a lot of people don’t realise just how important it is. Add exfoliating to your skincare routine, making sure to do it at least twice a week. This will take the dead skin away, allowing your hair to come to the surface and limiting the risk of it becoming ingrown. I will also stop you from shaving away dead skin rather than hair; again, this makes for a cleaner shave with less irritation.
- Prepare Your Skin Properly. For most of my life I’ve been making several key mistakes during my shaving routine – firstly, shaving before having a shower, and secondly using an alcohol-based gel or cream. This was not getting my skin ready to meet the blade at all! Recently, I’ve discovered a far better way of doing things that opens up the pores, relaxes the skin, and ensure that your face is well-prepared.
You should start by getting your skin and beard properly wet, ideally by going into the shower for at least 3 minutes. Alternatively, you can cover your face with a hot towel for a couple of minutes to achieve similar effects. This will open your pores. Follow it up by massaging shaving oil into your skin to create a barrier. An optional third step is to use cream-based shaving cream – this allows your hairs to stand up properly, and puts them in the right position for the blade. Personally, I would say that if you don’t have time to follow all of these steps then you should postpone your shave!
- Close Your Pores When You’re Finished Shaving. If you follow the steps that I’ve outlined above, then you’ll have opened up your pores ready for a great shave; at the end of the process, it’s important to close them again before you head out into the world. This makes them less susceptible to bacteria, meaning less irritation, and… you guessed it, less chance of a shaving rash. I use an astringent called witch hazel: it’s antiseptic, and also a cooling agent. All around, it’s really great for your skin!
Where can you find more Tutorials on razor bumps and ingrowing hair???
Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel and keep an eye on my blog; in just a few days I’ll be posting part two, where we’ll look at mapping your face to make sure you’re shaving in the right direction. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch here.
follow me on Instagram: