The Art of Shaving is a retailer of upscale shaving products that was founded in Manhattan in 1996 by Eric Malka and Myriam Zaoui. It was purchased by Proctor and Gamble in 2007 and its headquarters are now located in Miami, FL. Alum is a compound in which aluminum and a monovalent cation (usually potassium) form a salt with sulfate; it is an astringent and helps stop small nicks and cuts from bleeding. Alum is an acidic compound; it has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and can help decrease the incidence of post-shaving irritation. When used in wet shaving, alum comes in the form of a block or other solid that can be directly applied to the skin afterward.
Type: Solid block.
Color: Whitish; translucent.
Finish: Smooth; leaves skin with a “tight” feeling.
Price: Inexpensive ($5.43 per ounce); lasts a long time.
Shaving cream is something that I had anticipated using since I was a child; I relished the scent and appearance of the cream long before I actually began shaving.
These days, there are so many shaving products that a lot of guys feel inundated with choices when trying to make a decision on which particular product to purchase.
The type and quality of the particular shaving product can make a big difference with regard to the comfort and the quality of your shave.
Shaving creams, soaps, and gels help to lubricate the skin and soften the facial hair to make shaving easier and more comfortable while helping to prevent irritation; however, each class of product has its own unique properties.
Shaving Foam and Aerosol Gels
Contents are packaged in cans with aerosol propellants that allow them to be applied directly to your face without having to work the product into a lather.
Although the foam may appear rich and luxurious, it can be deceptive, and the low-quality lubrication doesn’t offer as much skin protection as that obtained from traditional shaving cream and soap.
They often contain fragrance and alcohol, which can irritate and dry out skin, worsening post shaving irritation.
These products do not allow your facial hair to be lifted off of your face so that it can be optimally cut by the razor; hairs that are pressed flat against the skin can increase the chance of razor burn.
Shaving foam is relatively cheap and convenient; it is ideal if you’re in a hurry.
Shaving foam is quick and easy to use; it is a perfect product for teenagers and guys just starting to shave.
Most guys (myself included) began shaving with a razor and a can of aerosol shaving cream as teenagers; a relatively small number of men used oil after shaving to help with skin conditioning.
The use of oil prior to shaving came into public attention in the 1990s, and it has steadily increased in popularity.
So, what exactly is pre-shave oil; is it beneficial, or even necessary?
Most pre-shave oils are a blend of natural plant oils; some of these oils are the same types as those found in facial oils and other cosmetic products.
Although pre-shave oil has begun to enter the mainstream over the past two decades, many have either not heard of it or have not tried it for themselves.
There are several benefits to using a pre-shave oil in addition to a high-quality shaving cream or gel; these benefits include additional lubrication, softening of facial hair, and a reduction in post-shaving irritation.
What’s In It?
Although pre-shave oil can be made using synthetic products, most guys agree that those derived from natural plant oils are of superior quality.
Quality pre-shave oils are packaged in dark glass bottles, which helps to prevent their degradation.
Depending on the types of oils used, they can have benefits ranging from increased lubrication to maintenance of the natural skin barrier.
When I think about shaving, I picture of all the shaving products currently available; all the razors, creams, gels, brushes, aftershave, and other shaving products on the market make it easy to forget that shaving is a crucial part of any guy’s skin care routine.
Although men have been shaving their faces for centuries, this essential challenge remains: to shave as close as possible without causing skin irritation.
Overaggressive or improper shaving techniques in an effort to shave more closely may only result in frustration and irritation.
Some techniques that have been employed to avoid shaving-induced skin irritation include:
Shaving while applying less pressure.
Development of pre- and post-shaving skin treatment.
Giving up on shaving altogether and growing a beard.
Shaving seems pointless if you have to compromise closeness; one reason that the beard has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the past decade could be due to the perception that shaving is a hassle.
Although growing a beard is certainly a viable option, it should be a matter of choice and not a consequence of becoming so annoyed that you abandon the very idea of shaving.
While no technique or product can guarantee a shaving experience completely free of irritation, following a few simple guidelines drastically reduces your chances.
Preparation is Essential
Before you rush off to pick up your razor, it’s important to make sure that your skin is prepared for the impending shave.
Clean skin is ideal, so the first step is to wash your face to remove oil, dirt, and debris that accumulates throughout the day; shaving during or just after a shower gives the heat and steam time to soften your facial hair, making it easier to shave.
Hydration reduces the stiffness of beard hair by 30-65%; the force necessary to cut a beard hair is reduced by 20% after 1 minute and 40% after 4 minutes of hydration.
If you don’t have time for a shower, a good alternative is to wrap your face in a hot, moist towel for 2-3 minutes, which softens the hairs and opens pores.
Another grooming tip is to exfoliate your skin prior to shaving, which removes dead skin cells that can otherwise end up lodged between the blades of your razor.
A mild physical exfoliant can be used to gently exfoliate your face, which only takes 30-60 seconds.
Since shaving is an exfoliating process, it’s best not to be overly aggressive and to rinse with lukewarm water when you are finished.