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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hair Removal: Shaving



*This is the third post in a three-part series on hair removal.

Did you decide the cons outweighed the pros after reading our previous blogs on waxing and laser hair removal? No worries, we’ve got you covered. If waxing or laser hair removal isn’t for you, there‘s always shaving. Let’s take a look at this more traditional method of hair removal.
What is shaving?
Shaving is a temporary form of hair removal, typically done in the comfort of your home, hotel room, gym, wherever. A razor made up of one or multiple blades cuts the hair off at the surface of the skin. Re-growth or stubble is usually evident within one to two days.
Are there different types of shaving?
There definitely are a variety of products you can use to shave your body, but they all typically work in the same way; some sort of lubricant is used to help soften the skin and hair, making for a closer shave with some sort of razor.
The lubricant may come in the form of a gel, cream, lotion, foam or oil. The chosen product will help soften the hair shaft, soften the skin and help the razor to glide across the skin to produce a close, and, hopefully, a nick-free shave. You’ll want to make sure that you choose a lubricant suitable for your skin type that doesn’t contain any ingredients that might irritate your skin.
The razor can be an old-fashioned straight razor, a double-sided razor, a multiple-blade razor or possibly a corded or battery-powered electric shaver. Again, this is about preference. Some people work better with a five-blade razor, while some may prefer the older, double-sided razor. Figure out the style you are most comfortable using and gives you the best results.
What areas are safe to shave?
For the most part any area of the body is safe to shave, the questions are (1) do you trust using a blade on that part of your body and (2) is it the most effective form of hair removal for that part of your body? You could shave your eyebrows, but will it give you the result you’re looking for? You can shave your bikini/groin area, but are you comfortable with using an incredibly sharp object around that area of your body?
What are the cons of shaving?
Although shaving is usually the first method of hair removal that most people experience, that doesn’t mean it’s the best. Some of the cons to shaving are:
  • Skin irritation at the site - Razor burn occurs when the skin becomes irritated, breaking out into little red bumps after shaving. This can occur due to the lubricant you use, razor you use, how much pressure you use while shaving, the type of lotion you apply after shaving or a host of other reasons. You may also experience ingrown hairs, depending on how close of a shave you achieve.
  • Potential for injury - If you’ve ever shaved any part of your body, most likely you’ve cut or nicked yourself at least once. The nick in question can range from a little nick on your ankle to a large laceration while shaving your head. Make sure to be careful while shaving as most people who try to balance their legs on the side of a shower wind up with a few cuts after the fact. If you’re shaving a large or awkward area, like your head, consider asking someone to help you or get it done professionally.
  • Short-lived results - Regardless of what combination of products you use, shaving doesn’t last much longer than one to two days, maybe three depending on your hair’s growth rate. At least with the warmer weather, stubble won’t be apparent immediately after shaving.

How should I prepare for shaving and care for the site afterward?
Before shaving:
  • Exfoliate the day before, but not right before, to avoid irritating the skin.
  • Shave in either the shower or a bath. The heat and moisture will help soften your skin and hair.
  • Skip lubricants with alcohol and/or fragrance listed in the first three ingredients. (Hint: Ingredient labels are always listed in order of potency, with the first ingredient having the highest concentration in the bottle.)
  • Don’t shave dry. Always use shaving cream, conditioner or some other lubricant.
  • Don’t use a dull razor. This can result in razor burn if you have to shave the same area multiple times, and it will not be as effective in achieving a close shave.
  • Don’t shave over the same area too many times. 

After shaving:
  • Apply a lotion or product appropriate to the area of the body immediately after shaving.
  • Exfoliate the area to avoid ingrown hairs, but not immediately after, as the skin is a little sensitive after shaving.

Do you have any lingering questions about shaving? Leave them in the comments, and I’ll try to help you out.

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