Follow this step-by-step procedure to achieve calmer, smoother, and clearer skin, and avoid shaving irritation and beard bumps.
• Always cleanse the face first with a low-foaming cleanser. Rinse thoroughly with room-temperature water.
• If using a manual razor, make sure the blades are fresh and sharp. Use an unscented shave cream. Fragrance can be an irritant to freshly shaved skin. Apply the shave cream liberally to the skin.
• A single-blade razor is a better choice if you have a tendency toward ingrown hairs.
• Shave in the direction of hair growth. Carefully check different areas of the face to see in which direction the hair grows. Different areas of the face can have different growth patterns.
• If you don’t think you get a close enough shave when you shave with the growth pattern, shave twice. Shaving against the growth pattern does give a closer shave, but can definitely cause the hair to be cut at angles so hairs can easily become ingrown, causing infected follicles (beard bumps), folliculitis, inflammation, redness, pimples, and even possible scarring.
• If using an electric razor, the skin should be completely dry before shaving. Shave following the razor manufacturer’s directions. Again, you may need to follow the pattern twice to get a closer shave.
• After shaving with either method, spray the face thoroughly with an alcohol-free toner in a spray mister. This one step makes a huge difference in diminishing the likelihood of shaving irritation and ingrown hairs.
• If the skin is very sensitive or reddens easily, apply a soothing serum with ingredients like green tea, allantoin, Hamamelis extract, or licorice extracts.
For ingrown hairs, apply a specialty product containing salicylic acid, sulfur with resorcinol, or benzoyl peroxide. Sulfur masks may also be helpful in drying up these lesions. Use a lightweight, broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen moisturizer to include in the morning routine. If the skin is oily, make sure the sunscreen is a matte-finish moisture product.