Personal grooming is an important skill that all men should learn from an early age. Learning to shave is an essential aspect of this. However, shaving alone can seem potentially dangerous for blind and visually impaired men. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips for visually impaired men who are starting to shave or want to improve their skills.
Based in Ahmedabad Maitreya Shah started shaving at the age of 14. “My dad taught me how to shave,” said the visually impaired law student. “Soon I started to shave independently and use normal razors.”
Not all visually impaired men have such an easy start. For based in Delhi Prashant Ranjan Verma, it was quite the opposite.
I lost my eyesight around the age of 19, which is roughly when young men start to shave. I didn’t receive proper advice and started using razors. I touched my beard with my fingers and tried to cut it completely. I would unknowingly shave in the opposite direction and get cuts and bruises. Suddenly, over the years, my beard has become hard and the direction of hair growth is not natural. I wish there was someone to guide me. – Prashant Ranjan Verma, General Secretary, National Association of the Blind
Prashant thinks there should be a shaving guide or training manual. “This is especially important for visually impaired men because we can’t see our face in the mirror and check where the hair is. We go there by touch and by touch, and it’s not always for the best ”.
Financial Analyst Ajay Minocha had to start learning to shave independently at the age of 22. He had just completed his MBA at Indian Institute of Management, Indore (IIM-I) and moved to Mumbai for a job. “I started shaving when I was 18 and for the first six years I went to a salon because there was one near my house and later my institute. But in Mumbai there was nothing near my housing company and my dad said it was time for me to learn ”.
Ajay’s dad taught him how to shave with a razor, but when it came to doing it on his own, there were some difficulties initially. “Choosing the right type of blade, making sure the shaving cream doesn’t spill and determining the optimal direction for your face, these were some of the challenges.” Saraiwala vineyard, who also works in Mumbai, visited a salon for a long time until he started working. “I was doing my internship in a private company where I felt the need to learn shaving on my own. At first, I was afraid to scratch my cheeks because you had to trust the touch rather than the sight. I also couldn’t see if there was any hair left to clean ”. Vineet’s father stepped in early. “He taught me for the first time and I gradually acquired the skill.”
It would take 35 to 40 minutes for Ajay to shave properly. “Now I do it in 15 minutes. I prefer the traditional shaving kit over electric razors because they clean better. In addition, the noise made by the blade in contact with the skin is more noticeable than in an electric razor ”. However, Ajay cautions that choosing the right blade from a manual kit is important to avoid cuts.
For Prashant, electric razors have helped relieve some of the shaving pains. “Since I switched to electric razors, things are better. I use a Philips brand with multiple blades because I have to shave every day, and it takes a long time due to all the mistakes I have made ”. Vineet also prefers electric razors because he doesn’t have to worry about cuts. “I can touch and feel the skin much better compared to a razor. Philips shavers are quite good and you can charge them with an AC adapter ”.
So what are some basic tips to keep in mind when shaving as a man with low vision?
- Keep your basic supplies – electric razor / razor, shaving cream / foam, aftershave and a towel handy.
- Wash the area to be shaved with soap and water and pat dry. This will soften the area, making it easier to shave clean.
- If you are new to it, take the time to feel and explore the area of the face to be shaved. You can train with an empty razor or with the electric razor turned off.
- Shave against the grain of the mustache in places where your beard is heavier like your chin and neck. In areas with sensitive skin like the cheeks and upper lip, use downward strokes and shave with the grain of the whiskers.
- Once you’re done, use your fingertips to check once more if you’ve missed any spots.
- To cut thatch, use scissors, Ajay recommends. “This is the area on the upper cheekbone. With a comb, straighten the hair and with your hand, feel which strands of hair extend downwards and cut them with a pair of scissors.”
Some other grooming tips involve checking for excess hair in the ears. These can be cut with scissors or an electric razor. “Always check your nose too because sometimes there is hair that looks bad when it’s not cut,” Ajay adds.
Don’t stick to just one thing. Explore the manual and electric options and choose what works best for you. There are manual razors that contain lubricants that make the shave really smooth. Likewise, if shaving cream is difficult to manage, go for shaving foam. All you need to do is spray it in your hands and apply it.
“Practice and trust your other senses and you’ll start to master the art of shaving,” advises Vineet, who thinks it’s a good idea to take your time. “Sometimes you can burn your skin if you try to do it quickly. Plan your shaving time and work to control it ”.
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