Any man who has shaved even only once in his life knows that it doesn’t always go as planned. Believe it or not, there is a definite learning curve to shaving. In fact, even men who have been shaving for decades might still encounter bumps in the road—or on their face!

Whether your problem is bumpy facial skin, too many nicks and cuts, or you’re just not getting a close enough shave,you can manage your shaving technique by making a few small changes to your routine and techniques in order to get the results that you are looking for.

In this article, we will provide some tips and tricks on how to manage the expectations and reality of shaving to help you get the best shave possible.

Shaving Expectation #1: Smooth Skin

What man doesn’t want to begin each day looking fresh, clean, and smooth? After all, the entire reason we shave is to enjoy that youthful, cleanly-shaven look. Unfortunately, your razor doesn’t always let that happen.

Shaving Reality #2: Razor Bumps

These uncomfortable and unsightly, red bumps are the bane of every shaver’s existence. Razor burn bumps can be caused by a number of shaving-related problems, which include the following:

  • Ingrown hairs
  • Using a dull razor
  • Not working up sufficient lather or a general lack of lubrication
  • Getting bacteria into your open pores, causing inflammation

Razor bumps are a reality for many men,but they don’t have to be. Luckily, these are all causes you can fight.Here are some tips and tricks on how to do that:

  1. To fight ingrown hairs, try adding an exfoliant to your routine. This can be a physical exfoliant, such as almond shells in your face wash, or it can be a chemical exfoliant, such as salicylic acid. 

  2. Try swapping out your razor for a sharper blade more frequently. If you’re guilty of using the same blade for several weeks, then your face is almost certainly suffering. 

  3. Ditch the old-school canned shaving cream. Trust us—it isn’t doing you any favors. Instead, look for a moisturizing lubricant, such as one that contains jojoba or coconut oils. Don’t be afraid to use it generously!

  4. Use an alcohol-free aftershave to close your pores after you shave. Leaving your face bare after a shave also leaves your pores open to infection, which can cause bumps and acne.

Shaving Expectation #2: Close Shave

We’ve all had that “holy grail” shave once or twice in our lives, and admired our totally hairless faces in the mirror afterward. Sadly, that close shave can be difficult to replicate if you don’t know how.

Shaving Reality #2: Just Enough Stubble to Be Annoying

Stubble doesn’t have to be your post-shave reality. Hint: The answer could be in your exfoliation routine.

Do you wash your face with hot water? Hot showers are comfortable, but they aren’t necessarily your friend when you’re about to shave.

Exposing your skin to hot water causes the skin to expand and loosen, making it harder for your razor to get to the very base of each strand of hair.

Try washing your face with cold water,which helps shrink your skin instead. When your skin is naturally tighter, it’s easier to nip off each hair at or below the skin so it’s practically invisible.

Shaving Expectation #3: Quick and Painless

Shaving should be an easy endeavor, right? Ten minutes in the morning, and you’re off to a great start to your day.

Not so fast: Nicks and cuts quickly get in the way of a quick and easy shave.

Shaving Reality #3: Cuts Everywhere

If you’re covered in cuts after you shave, then that’s an indicator that you might not be using the right blade for your face. Your razor should glide effortlessly without catching on your skin. It should also be sharp enough to cut your facial hair easily without grabbing, yanking, or causing damage to your skin.

Not sure which razor blade to buy? Here are some guidelines for finding and buying a razor that works best for you:

  • Avoid too many blades: Disposable blade cartridges containing five to six blades might give you a close shave with little to no effort. Yes, this seems like an efficient way to shave, however, don’t fall victim to marketing hype. 

    Multiple blades only nick at the surface of your skin more, potentially cutting you with every pass. The reality is that you really don’t need more than two blades if you choose this type of razor. 

  • Consider getting a straight-edge razor: Even though it might seem counterintuitive, straight razors are actually harder to cut yourself with—as long as you’re using the right technique. 

    Think about it: Straight-edge razors require frequent maintenance, which means you will almost always be working with a sharper blade. Dull blades are much more likely to cut you.

Shaving is a Science

Shaving is a science, and it can take some trial and error to get it right. Even if you’ve been shaving for a decade or more, there are probably parts of your routine that aren’t perfect.

However, a bad shave doesn’t have to be your reality. You can meet all of your shaving expectations and more by making a few small changes to your routine and technique.

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