Shaving. As if it wasn't dangerous enough with all the blades? Now there's those little ingrown hairs to deal with known as razor bumps. Here's how not to get them. Long time lurker, first time instructable, so please be a critic. But please, I beg you, be constructive. And hey, if you like it, please gimme a vote!
Update: Now with 50% more rambling about shaving tools! Bullets now included.
Step 1: Get your stuff ready!
Alrighty, you're about to shave, but wait, you don't know how? Or you do, but you need some pointers. And you definitely don't want any funny little bumps. Here's what you need, but there are more complex things if you wanna go further than these basics.
- Hair that needs removin
- A razor (Not electric). Any old bic or cheapo will do, though if you wanna get fancy you can buy one of those ten bladed Gillette's that vaguely resemble an onion slicer.
- Shaving Cream. Again, you don't need anything expensive, but you can always shell out
- more cash if you wanna for gels or the like.
- A sink, or some other water holder. No need for fancy.
- Washcloth. Not exactly necessary, but it beats using your hands to wipe your face.
- Scissors. Again, really not needed, but nice for whacking down the major shrubbery before
- you mow it.
- Aftershave. Makes you smell nice, and helps kill anything nasty on your face.
- Mirror. Almost needed. If you're good you can do without it, but I wholly recommend being able to see yourself while you work.
Once you've got what you need, all you really have to do is go ahead and fill your sink up with some nice warm water and plug that drain.
Step 2: Get yourself ready!
Almost to the bleedin'. If you can stand to look at my ugly mug, you might notice that my awful awful hairdo is wet. That's because I just got out of the shower, which is a great way to help soften up the hair on your face. An alternative is to take that cloth from before, soak it in hot water, and let it spend some time on your face.
After you've softened up those whiskers, if you have scissors, now is the time to use them. They're useful for trimming your sideburns a little, as well as shaping your stylish mustache. Be careful, think about where you cut.
This is important. Run your hand all over where you intend to shave, in a few directions. You might notice that your hair has a grain, and it's smooth to run your hand one way, rough the other. Remember the grain of various areas, and it'll make your life easier. It's a key to not getting razor bumps.
All done? Dollop some shaving cream into your hand. Go on, don't be shy. Slather it all between your hands and rub it onto your face anywhere you'd like the hair to be gone. Aside from lubricating your skin, it's also helpful in seeing where you've still got to shave.
Step 3: And now to shave the first pass!
Despite what you've ever been told, you're at that point in your life, right now, when applying a very sharp object to your face becomes a good idea. Respect that razor, and it will treat you well. Disrespect it, and it'll cut you like...well...It will cut you. It's sharp enough to be cliche.
Important tip! Always, Always, Always move the razor in a perpendicular direction to the blades. That is, never slide it sideways, always in the direction of that handle. And keep it flat. Do this and you shouldn't cut yourself lest you go over a weird rumple in your face. Or cut the top off a zit. Don't worry, that doesn't hurt, and you'll barely notice.
By now you're probably tired of listening to me yammering, so let's get to it. Carefully apply the razor on the side of your face. Doesn't matter -exactly- where you start, but your cheek is good. I like to start around my side burns and take nice, even paths downwards. Go in the direction of the grain of the hair, that is, the direction your hand went smoothly across your face in the previous step. After you've taken a swipe at it, take a look at your razor. Clogged huh? Go ahead and jiggle it in the water before cutting another path. When you've finished the cheek you're on, go do the other one. Same deal, just in reverse.
The neck isn't hard either, just keep going with the grain, keep your razor clean, and you're golden.
Now there's a little bit of a tricky part. Mind your jawline, and make sure to keep that razor with the grain. It helps to contort your face to smooth the skin. Around your chin and nose aren't hard either as long as you take your time and pay attention to the grain. Carefully shape around any hair you wish to keep.
Step 4: And now to smooth it all out!
You look done, but here's where you get smooth. Really smooth, and bumpless. Remember which direction the grain of your hair went, and how you shaved along with it? Changeup. Now we're going to go across. If you shaved down, shave to the side. If you shaved to the side, shave up or down. Absolutely don't go against the grain. You'll be smooth, but you're dooming yourself to a week of ugly red dots, especially around the chin. Go over it all with the razor across the grain, careful now, it's a bit different than last time. You might notice that the razor gets less clogged, but still keep it rinsed.
Done? Might not be. Run your hand over your face, check for rough spots. Go over those again before moving on to the next step. You oughta be very smooth by now.
Random Note: Yes I know I'm bleeding a little. I didn't cut myself, it's a zit. The aftershave in the next step takes care of cuts, anyway.
Step 5: Finishing up!
Wipe your face off, and get ready for the pain! Yes, pain. This will most likely hurt. Rub some aftershave onto your hands. Not much, but enough that they feel slick after a vigorous rub together, you don't want to bathe in the stuff. After you do that take a deep breath. Ready? Rub it all over your face where you shaved. If it hurts at all, it'll burn like mad. But only for a second, leaving you with a weird tingly feeling. Presto! You're shaved! Clean! And to boot you smell good, and you won't get bumps over the next few days.
Step 6: And so begins the talk of tools!
Let's chat a little on the topic of tools. Razors, mostly. This might get wordy as well as somewhat opinionated and if you don't care poke around the comments, they have some interesting information on alternatives to shaving cream and aftershave. But hey, you listened to me thus far so why not?
Tool care! This be a little important. When you finish shaving, dry that razor. Ever so gently blot it with a napkin or some toilet paper. Letting the water just set on the blade will make it wear out quicker. And don't forget, disposable razors are called that for a reason. When it just barely starts to not work as well, chuck it. If you buy the same kind I do they come in a bag of like 10 or more anyway. I like to swish the blade in a little rubbing alcohol before I dry it, just to make sure it's nice and clean. Some people even like to soak their razor in baby oil, but I never found it worth it as I use a new razor every couple of shaves. Oil those scissors, just a drop on the hinge ought to keep them smooth. And please, please put the safety cap on the shaving cream if you just toss the can somewhere like a suitcase. You can imagine the mess it makes if that button is accidentally depressed.
So far you've learned how to use a cheap disposable razor that comes in a massive bag, but what if you want to be different? Let's discuss some options.
First, there's the electric razor. If you're terrified of sharp things, these generally are your best bet. Easy to use either dry or with the specially formulated gel, just turn it on and rub it all over your face. I can't cut myself on the face with one even if I try. And trust me, I have. Got curious just how guardy those guards are. Though I will note you can nip your lip if you try. That hurts so don't do it. Most also have a doodad on back known as a mustache and beard trimmer. Think of the clippers they use to cut your hair. This is what I normally use instead of scissors, to trim my sideburns, mustache and beard. I also go once over my whole face with it to get off any high hair if I haven't shaved in quite a while. Electric razors are simple to clean. Brush them off, they usually come with this dinky little brush for the purpose, after use. Your instructions will tell you if there's anything special you have to do.
Alas, for all their ease and convenience, they don't shave near as close as blade. It might be worth noting too that the blades tend to be expensive, but don't need to be replaced as often.
There's also strait razors out there, but to be perfectly honest I don't know how to use them. If anybody would like to add strait razor use and care I'd be happy to collaborate, or even just post your own instructable and tell me. I'd love to read it.
Moving on, there's more expensive disposables. It's an arms race of who has the most blades and or who has a battery operated vibration hickey in them. Pretty much all of these us a proprietary cartridge that you replace once in a while. I had a Gillette Mach 3 once, and personally I didn't notice much of a difference. That said, you might. The powered razors supposedly vibrate the hair and lift it, sounds dubious to me. In my experience vibration makes things fall prey to gravity and settle.
Shaving cream brushes. They really help that stuff penetrate the hair. I don't own one because I'm cheap, but have gotten the chance to use one. It's simple, you just use it to apply the cream. If you can afford it, shoot for a badger hair brush. Those are top shelf in both nice factor, and price.
Thank you for putting up with me! And remember folks, you're a biological organism that is somewhat different from me. Your mileage may vary, as you may be rougher, smoother, or more greasy than I.