I am 19, and with my family gene history, that means that I am just starting to hit puberty ...
More accurately, it means I am at the point where I have just enough facial hair for it to be a pain in my ass, but not enough for me to do anything cool with (I look forward to the day when I can be moustachioed like Dali). The slow uneven growth rate of the hair, if left unchecked, will result in a fuzzy chin made up of a variety of hair lengths. The juxtaposition of hairs less than a centimeter in length with hairs over two inches in length makes for a really creepy look.
I have played with fire enough to know that it is a great way of removing hair, so I figured doing it intentionally for once might be a good change of pace, which is why I've started Fire Shaving.
I have no problem with shaving like a normal person, there are many things I do like a normal person. It is just sometimes I want a quick way to eradicate all the little hairs on my face without all the ceremonious procedures of a regular shaving.
Step 1: Materials
The great thing about fire shaving is that it only really requires one piece of equipment - a lighter.
A butane lighter is highly recommended. It is a much cleaner burn than a wick (zippo) lighter, and the size of the flame is easier to control (make sure the lighter has a flame size adjust).
If you want to be sure that you do not burn any unintended hair, then I also suggest something like painters tape or a baseball hat to block off the extra hair.
Step 2: Preparation
Fire shaving can be used on all the same areas as regular shaving. Faces, legs, and manscape are all fair game for fire shaving, and while the exact prep work and procedure may change slightly for the different areas, the basic technique is the same.
Start off by modifying the lighter to give around a 2" flame. A flame of this length is large enough to burn off a good area of hair at once, while still being easy to control.
Tape off any hair that you do not removed. I mostly just taped off my sideburns.
(Please excuse the myspace-esque photos. I was going to crop out the camera, but figured it would be easier to apologize once instead of editing a handful of pictures)
Step 3: Procedure
In close proximity to flame, hair will burn / crinkle up / disappear much quicker than the heat receptors in the skin will register the warmth. With practice, shaving with fire should never result in the skin getting more than slightly warm.
(Note to the anal-retentives out there: I realize that this whole process is technically not "shaving", but I am calling it that for simplicity purposes)
This procedure is pretty much the same regardless of what part of your body you are removing hair from.
Ignite the lighter. With the 2" flame the lighter should be held about 1" from the skin. With the flame aimed directly at the skin, quickly move the lighter around the hairy area. You should hear a crackling as the hair burns and shrivels up, and smell the nasty stench of burning hair.
If your skin feels to hot to be comfortable then you are holding the flame in the same place for too long. If the hair is not burning then you are not holding the flame in the same place long enough. There is a very small window where the hair will burn but the skin will not, and achieving that balance takes practice.
Tips for facial hair only:
- The chin is the easiest area to "shave" since the lighter can be held vertically, and all of the flame will be focused directly at the hair intended to be removed.
- Sideburns are harder because they require the lighter to be held at a range of different angles. Care must also be taken so no unintended "top of the head" hair gets burnt.
- The mustache region is the hardest. The nose must be pinched closed so no nostril hair gets burnt. The upper lip area is also one of the most heat-sensitive parts of the body, so be very careful about how long the flame is kept on it.
Occasionally wipe the burnt hairs off with a damp paper towel.
Step 4: Afterburn
At this point the "shaved" part of your body most likely smells like a burnt down barber shop, so it is probably in your best interest to bath, or at least cover it up with something more potent smelling.
What I recommend: Take a nice long shower, scrubbing the "shaved" area throughly. After the shower rub the area down with some nice soothing aloe.
What I did: Bought a bottle of lighter fluid and splashed it on my face (a la aftershave) just for the hell of it.
Below: Enjoy my various facial expressions
Step 5: Don't Burn Your Eyelashes
It was probably while I was torching my upper lip that I moved the flame a bit too high and singed the tips of my eyelashes. Unless you feel like "shaving" blind, there is not much you can do about covering your eyelashes or eyebrows, so just be extra careful when the flame is near them.
The tips are singed and curly, and have a tendency of sticking to each other like velcro when I blink.