Since much of your grooming routine is done out of habit, it’s easy to overlook how this regimen should change from season to season. By forgetting to change your shaving regimen, in particular, you are neglecting the effects of cold, dry air on your skin, the same skin you run a sharp blade over, while opening and closing pores in quick succession.
Related: The best razors for men
To find out all the ways your shaving routine should change during the colder months, we went to Simone, celebrity groomer at Exclusive Artists Management. She is the hair and skin care expert behind names like Jordan Peele, KJ Apa, Fall Out Boy and The Chainsmokers.
Before discussing seasonal changes in your diet, Simone notes that you don’t really need to change your razor choice in the winter. Just stick to your favorite blade, replace cartridges every four shaves or every four weeks, whichever comes first, and instead focus on adjusting the routine itself.
It is doubly important to exfoliate
First of all, you need to exfoliate whether you shave or not, and whatever the season. However, this is especially important in winter, and even more important before a shave. In fact, if you shave frequently, say twice a week, just transfer that habit from the shower to the edge of the sink. Here’s why Simone says it’s good to do it right before you shine your cheeks: “The humidity drops dramatically during the winter, so your skin is cracked, itchy and dry. Then, to top it off, you get in and out of the overheated interior, which can cause even more skin discomfort.
“Skin cells get dehydrated, so to rehydrate yourself and get rid of those dead skin cells that clog your face with the razor, you have to remove them by exfoliating in order to get a smooth shave. By exfoliating about twice a week, you allow your other skincare products to work more efficiently, and your shaving oils and aftershave balms also can’t do their job properly if dead skin cells are in the way.
We like: Every Man Jack Face Scrub Signature Mint ($ 5.62) Buy it here)
Shorten your preparation before shaving and save the shower for later
Hot water and cold, dry air are the perfect recipe for brittle, itchy skin. “Even though a hot shower seems like an attractive way to start the shaving process in winter, you should ignore it,” says Simone. “It’s just going to dry out the skin. You don’t want to remove all of the natural oils from your skin that lock in the hydration you need.
However, you still need to open the pores with hot water, so cut the process short: Simone says splash hot water on the face or soak it for 10-20 seconds with a warm, damp towel, but nothing more. This will always soften the hairs, open up the pores and prepare the skin for shaving.
Add oil to your routine
In winter, preparing the skin is essential for a healthy and safe shave. “During the warmer months, you may not usually apply anything before shaving because your skin is not as dehydrated,” says Simone. “But shaving a raw, chapped face in winter is not going to give you the result you want.” She recommends using a pre-shave oil after splashing hot water. Oil is something you should be doing all year round out of a good habit. It can soothe the skin and soften the hairs, making shaving easier and less painful.
We like: The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil, Unscented ($ 21.25, Buy it here)
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Strengthen your after-shave product
“There is nothing worse than being outside and feeling like an icy cold wind is tearing your newly shaved face,” says Simone. “It’s like having razor burn right after a shave.” We agree. She says you can prevent wind burns and razor burn with aftershave balm. They are denser than lotions, oils, and creams and create a nutrient-rich barrier on your skin. They soothe and nourish the skin, but also protect it from seasonal threats like dry air and cold wind, as well as things like bacteria and environmental toxins. They’ll feel a bit too heavy in the warmer months, just like you never wear a sweater in the height of summer, so stock up until spring.
We like: Nivea Men Maximum Hydration Hydrating Aftershave Balm ($ 14.03, Buy it here)
And always shave before going to bed
Here’s something we weren’t expecting: You should shave before bed in the winter, says Simone. “When you can, shave at night because your skin rehydrates and your skin cells regenerate while you sleep,” she says. “Then instead of cleansing in the morning and removing all the natural oils your face has regenerated, just go for a little water on your face for a quick rinse, followed by a moisturizer. “
All this to say that, when you shave, there is a process of application of the products so intense that it can dry out the skin, even if you remove everything with a balm and prepare with an oil. It’s exhausting on your cup, so doing it before bed gives your skin plenty of time to recuperate before taking on your coworkers. You can have shade at 5 a.m. which will be a new winter phenomenon, but it’s much better than razor burn at 9 a.m.
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