Just thought you might want to know that your advice regarding shaving pretty much jibes with the standard advice given by Kyan Douglas. It is best, according to him, to shave immediately after a hot shower because the whiskers are already softened considerably.
(Incidentally, your so-called “long” answers do not hold a candle to Bibliophage’s. ;))
What about chemical hair removal products - like Immac or Veet?
After searchng for an agreeable way of shaving for years (I have a tender face and a tough, fast-growing beard - shaving hell, basically), I have found that the system that works best for me is to shave with an electric razor while in the shower.
However - be SURE to use a CORDLESS electric that is made for this purpose (I personally recommend the Panasonic wet/dry line). Use a shaving gel instead of a cream (the cream washes away to quickly), and get one of those fog-free mirror gadgets. I get a close shave, little or no irritation, and, as a bonus, a valid excuse to take a longer shower!
I was very perplexed by Dex’s claim that electric razors are worse for your skin. I have very sensetive skin and was always told by my doctor to use an electric. I think the reasoning is that the electric blade never actually touches the skin, preventing exfoliation, which can be bad news for folks like me.
Empirical evidence supports this, since the few times I’ve been forced to use a blade, my face won’t forgive me for several days, despite using a technique very similar to Dex’s.
I’m glad someone brought up Kyan before I posted. My girlfriend and I are big fans of Queer Eye, and only have one gripe. Sometimes the product placement takes precedence over good advice.
Multiple products for shaving? I've had thick, quick growing facial hair since high school, and just a few years ago, the same girlfriend suggested run-of-the-mill hair conditioner for shaving. This is easily the best shave I've ever had and I'll never try anything else. Conditioner makes the facial hair soft, so soft that my normally thick beard melts off without cuts or burns. The conditioner also moisturizes your face, and comes off easily.
Kyan on Queer Eye actually suggested two specific products for preparing your face, when no special purchase is needed. The actual shaving tips were great, stuff I've learned through trial and error over time. But I can't stress enough how garden variety hair conditioner will do the same job as multiple creams and moisturizers for much less cash and effort.
I use plain old soap to shave. Shaving creams are another product that people have been duped into buying.
Now, I have a tough beard and sensitive skin. Shaving hurts! No creams ever worked too well. I finally started using Edge Gel as it seemed to be the best.
One day I ran out of Edge and since I shave in the shower, decided to use soap, like my wife uses on her legs (and stuff ;)). It worked better than anything I ever tried.
Here’s my technique; First of all, I shave in the shower. I use the soap for a bit to soften it up. I then rub it on my beard as if I were shaving with an electric razor. THen I rub the soap in my hands, adding water when needed to make a frothy lather. The lather goes on my face. I then shave WITH the grain. After done, I shave AGAINST the grain. No need to relather, your fave will be slippery enough. I even ‘scrub’ my face with the razor with no ill effects.
I have never cut myself this way and rarely get razor burn. Try it next time and you’ll be amazed. Let me know how it comes out.
Thanks for the great article. I personally have used an electric shaver for years, and the convenience makes up for not getting quite as close a shave as with a razor. I wanted to add that when shaving with an electric with a foil (e.g. a Braun or Remington), one should go against the grain, so that the hairs are forced into the holes in the foil. Shaving with the grain wouldn’t accomplish much. It can be helpful to make multiple rapid passes in varying directions over any stubborn areas.
Also, as mentioned above, there is one other method of facial hair removal not covered in the article: chemical depilatories. One such product is Magic Shave Powder, marketed to African-American men because it’s less likely to cause razor bumps. One mixes the smelly stuff with a little water and spreads the resulting paste on his face, then after a few minutes squeegees it off, ideally taking the hair with it.
I just wanted to throw in the fact that Dave Barry’s column of 7/31 had to do with the subject of shaving. Opening bit:
Attention, consumers with bodily hair: The razor industry has news for you! You will never in a million years guess what this news is, unless your IQ is higher than zero, in which case you’re already thinking: ``Not another blade! Don’t tell me they’re adding another blade!!’'
He also mentions that Neanderthal man used to pluck his facial hairs with two seashells used as tweezers. Check it out!
I’ve got the beard stubble from hell. No matter what I use to shave, or what direction I go, I still feel stubbly. I can’t solve the problem by growing a beard, because I didn’t inherit beard genes from my parents (I wound up looking like Shaggy from Scooby Do the one time I tried).
I was using a Gilette Mach 3 for a while, as it did the best job, but the blades get expensive very fast. I finally bought an electric razor. If I can’t get a decent shave no matter what, I might as well try and save some money.
I like the chemical depilatory idea, though. I’ll have to see if I can find it.
Thus speaks the man who has never used King of Shaves gel.
Here’s a link for the Dave Barry column RiverRunner mentions.
I really appreciate brief columns, because you know, I’m a busy guy. But I’m glad I stuck around to the end of this one, for this little gem:
I’m picturing some guy in his bathroom pointing a laser gun at his face, reading this column, and putting the gun down, so much the wiser.
.Quid pro quo…
Thus speaks the man who has never used plain old soap.
I actually went to their website and was excited to see “Free Samples”, but aparently they don’t sell King of Shaves in the US
I have trouble getting rid of the stubble feel no matter how I shave. I don’t like it. I feel like if I’m shaving, my skin should be smooth, and when it’s not it bugs me.
I used to use a Norelco spinning head razor. Have to scrub the face to get most of the stubble, and left my face raw. Talking when it’s summer and I start sweating, my neck starts stinging raw. OUCH!
I switched to blades - Atra plus with shaving gel. Not as raw, but more prone to nicks. Then switched to Sensor XL. Finally I tried shaving in the shower. I use regular soap. Best method I’ve found. Almost never get nicks, and avoid the really raw feeling.
I shave against the grain striving to get rid of all the stubble. Still not perfect.
Oh yeah, he says pat dry, don’t rub. But no reason why.
If a few more guys chime in with their shaving techniques, I’ll enter a motion to move this thread to IMHO.
One other tip I learned from the Learn2.com website, back when it was cool and had discussions of how to shave, and tie balloon animals, etc.
Take a wet washcloth, and rub your beard against the grain.
This (1) gets the whiskers wet so they are softer, and (2) makes them stand up so they are easier to shave off. THEN apply your cream or gel or whatever.
Even though I shave right after I get out of the shower, I still use this technique because I find it leads to a closer shave, with fewer scrapes.
When you use a chemical hair remover, does the hair grow back blunt, smooth or flat like it had been shaved?
kaylasdad, it’s sometimes a tough call, but frankly, the Staff Report is about shaving, so personal anecdotes are still “Comments on Staff Report”… although I agree, we should try to keep such anecdotes relevant to shaving techniques.
I did not find a reason given in any of the books for “patting” rather than “rubbing” to dry, but several books said it, so I passed it on as is. I suspect that rubbing runs the greater risk of turning the little teeny tiny hair stubble inward, and thus runs greater risk of infection, but that’s just my wild guess.
All this makes me glad I’ve had a full beard since 1981. I shave my neck about once a week; not too concerned with getting a close shave. However, I admire the dedication of you smooth boys.