Creating the perfect shaving routine is both an art and a science. Not only do you have to find the products that suit your skin, but you also have to perfect your technique in order to prevent nicks, irritations and unsightly (and often painful) ingrown hairs.
For black men, a particular set of challenges often exists with shaving. Specifically: Ingrown hairs (also called razor bumps). Although men of all ethnicities can have shaving bumps as a result of shaving, black men are disproportionately affected, with about 60% of razor bumps, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology.
Step by step shaving guide for black men
First, prepare the skin:
If you don’t take the time to properly prepare your skin for shaving, now is the time to do it. This might be a step a lot of men skip, but taking the extra time to show your skin some TLC will give you a better shaving experience and help limit shaving bumps and irritation. Properly preparing the skin for an exceptional shaving experience includes the use of a combination of lukewarm water, exfoliation and a pre-shave oil. I know many of you probably scoff at the thought of taking extra time to prep your skin for a simple shave, but trust me, your skin (and your confidence) will thank you.
Exfoliate the skin: Every Man Jack charcoal face scrub
Repeat after me: Exfoliate. If you are not already exfoliating your face before shaving, we recommend that you add in this step; we promise it’s a real game changer. An exfoliation (or simple face wash) with lukewarm water and a gentle facial scrub will help soften facial hair, open pores, and remove hair. dead skin cells. By removing dead skin cells first, you will get a smoother shave that will reduce the chance of irritation and reduce razor hair snagging. Because the skin on your face is more delicate than the rest of your body, we recommend a gentle exfoliation. Simply apply the scrub to your fingertips and gently massage your skin in circular motions.
Apply a pre-shave oil: Art of Shaving Pre-shave oil
This may be new to many of you, and it is the application of a pre-shave oil. Pre-shave oils have grown in popularity in recent years, and for good reason, not least because they soften curly, coarse facial hair and provide a closer shave. Adding a quality pre-shave oil is a must for black men to reduce irritation and the risk of developing ingrown hairs. Not only will this soften the hair itself, but it will allow for a smoother glide of the blade.
Upgrade to a Safety Razor: Beveled Razor
Probably the most crucial step in your shave is to use the right razor blade that works with your skin, not against it. What a lot of these shaving companies don’t tell you when they market these multi-blade cartridges is that they’re not designed for sensitive skin. Sure, razors with multiple blades will give you a close shave, but that’s because they cut the hairs below the surface, which is a red flag for the development of razor bumps.
So what makes the safety razor a better choice for black men (and men with sensitive skin in general) rather than your traditional multi-blade razor? Simple – the safety razor allows you to cut your hair above the surface with fewer passes, effectively thwarting the development of ingrown hairs, according to dermatologists.
Ditch the traditional shaving cream: Nivea Men Sensitive shaving gel
If you just grab a shaving cream that you think it does and think it all works the same… think again. Throw in the foamy shaving cream and switch to a shaving gel for sensitive skin. Often times, these traditional shaving creams are not formulated to provide sufficient lubrication between the blades and your skin. Shaving gels often contain ingredients that soothe, calm and prevent irritation, in addition to providing a smooth glide for your blade.
Shave with the grain
Repeat after me: you will NOT shave against the tide. For this tip, it’s all about technique. Although shaving against the grain can give you a closer shave, it increases the chances of developing razor bumps and rashes. Try to shave in the direction of facial hair growth, but just make sure to avoid multiple passes in a concentrated area.
Apply a Soothing Balm: Beveled After Shave Balm
The icing on the cake, the proverbial cake is proper shaving care. ALWAYS moisturize your skin after shaving. When looking for an aftershave balm for sensitive skin, avoid alcohol and instead look for products that will soothe and calm the skin with ingredients like aloe vera or chamomile.
Optional trim: Wahl shock-free rechargeable foil shaver
This step is optional but is a great alternative for those who prefer to skip shaving altogether OR those who prefer to use a beard trimmer or electric razor to trim hair as the first step before wet shaving. It also receives an honorable mention as this line from Wahl was created with the grooming needs of black men in mind.
Well first, let’s go back and explain what causes razor bumps. Razor bumps are ingrown hairs that develop after shaving, when the hairs begin to grow back into the skin. More curly facial hair curls into the skin, causing inflammation and irritation of the skin. Over time, this can cause a host of skin problems, including scarring.
One of the best ways to prevent ingrown hairs is to just grow your hair out, but we know that might not be an option for many men. This compiled list of tips and tricks for black men will help minimize ingrown hairs, skin irritation, and nicks.
* Please note that razor bumps are NOT the same as razor burns. Although you can feel both simultaneously, razor burns are the result of rubbing the razor. These tips, however, are also great for preventing razor burns.