The choice of the proper shaving cream can make the difference between a very good shave and a terrible irritating shave. In many cases, if you do not use the right product, shaving can result in razor burn or in other words the appearance of red raw skin or red irritating bumps on the skin. However, should you use a shaving gel, shaving foam, or shaving soap? How important is it to get this decision right?
In some cases, choosing the right shaving gel or foam depends on personal preference, in others on the product itself. In the end, the individual needs to find a product that works well for them. Below are some shaving tips and recommendations that might help shed some light on the best shaving cream to use.
For a shaving cream to be effective, the skin needs to be prepared for the shave. A useful shaving tip is to exfoliate the skin first with a cleanser or scrub. This will eliminate dead skin cells residing on the surface of the skin, clean the skin properly, and allow for a closer shave.
Wet The Area
Before you apply the shaving cream, the skin should be thoroughly wet for two to three minutes. It is best to use warm or hot (not too hot, but comfortably hot) water, which helps to swell and soften the hair and loosen it. The hot water also acts to open up the skin pores and relaxes the facial muscles. All these elements result in a smoother, closer, and less irritating shave.
Choosing the correct shave cream is the key variable in determining whether you get a poor irritating shave or a good shave. For some, any shave cream product can be used with good results. However, for most, closer attention should be paid to which shave cream is used. In order to find the right product, some trial and error is usually necessary. It does not matter if you use a shaving gel or shaving foam. However, it is important to find a shaving cream that works best with your skin and do not settle with the thought that every shave cream product will result in shaving irritation. If you find a product that works well, you may even want to experiment a bit more. There may be something out there that works better for you.
The first shaving tip for shave cream is to avoid cheap products. Cheaper products are cheap and contain poor quality ingredients. Their use will give poor shaving results nine times out of ten. Such products also contain perfumes and irritants and can lead to dry skin and possible negative skin reactions. On the other hand, products that are more expensive are better quality, contain better ingredients and fewer irritants, and can produce substantially better results.
Good quality creams are vitamin rich and contain ingredients such as aloe vera that will give a close non-irritating shave with little or no razor burn or razor bumps. Many recommend the use of glycerine based shaving creams. Such creams produce a rich lather and soften the skin well for a close and comfortable shave.
Avoid products with sodium laurel sulfate if you have sensitive skin as it can irritate the skin. Mentholated shaving creams have also been known to cause a lot of skin irritation and therefore should be avoided as well.
Although some individuals prefer to shave with soap instead of a shave cream, it is generally not a recommended practice. Soap can dry out the skin. It is not a good lubricant for the shaving process and will lead to more post-shaving irritation.
Combination shave creams also exist and may be the right choice to make. Such products contain three elements in one: a pre-shave oil to help soften the hair and condition the skin, a shave cream, and a skin conditioner to help repair the skin after the shaving process.
Apply the Shave Cream
The hairs or stubble to be shaved need to be thoroughly moisturized with the shave gel, shave foam, or shave lotion. Whichever shave cream you choose, it should be massaged thoroughly into the hair. This can be done with your fingers or preferably with a shaving brush.
A good quality shaving brush such as those made of badger hair (cheaper brushes use boar hair) can make a large difference in the quality of the shave. These brushes are used to spread the shave cream on the area to be shaved. As the brush spreads the cream onto the skin, it also releases some of the water it absorbed, keeping the face or skin nice and wet. Therefore, the result is a better lather, better skin conditioning and better lubrication than if fingers or hands are used to spread the shaving cream. A shaving brush will also lift the whiskers effectively, which makes shaving much easier. Finally, the action of the brush on the surface of the skin exfoliates the skin and this is a beneficial step in the shaving process.
The cream should sit on the skin for three to four minutes before shaving. This time is necessary so that the cream can condition the skin and soften the hair. Some recommend the use of hair conditioner to really soften the hair before shaving. The conditioner is applied and after a few minutes, it is rinsed off and then the shave cream is used. Others recommend the use of shaving oil. The oil is placed on the area to be shaved and left for a few minutes to soften the hair. Next, the shave cream is applied. The use of shaving oil is beneficial for those with very sensitive skin or for those with very tough stubble.
A lot of shave cream, gel, or foam is not required for a good close shave. The only thing that the excess shave cream does is clog your razor and not give you the type of shave you want.
Other Shaving Tips
Rinse the razor often when shaving to on-clog the blades from shaved hairs and shaving cream. Cheap shaving creams tend to clog the blades often and are difficult to rinse out.
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