Whether or not you've been shaving for years, you've probably noticed some inconsistencies between sessions. Sometimes, you can go multiple days without needing to touch a razor again, and other times, stubble is already peeking through by the end of the day. And there are some reasons why your shave isn't the best every single time. Shaving on a regular basis is not only annoying but also expensive. So along the way, we've tried incorporating tricks and hacks for a faster, easier, and more inexpensive shave. But the problem is that cutting corners doesn't necessarily result in the closest and cleanest shave.
That's why, if you really want the best possible shave, it takes a little more time and effort. And sure, there's not always time to go through a full routine to ensure your closest shave whenever you reach for that razor. But for those days when you can't be bothered with next-day touchups or need to make sure your legs aren't prickly just a few hours later, there are ways to have the best shave of your life with just a little extra preparation and attention. So top-notch shaves aren't just a fluke, here are nine reasons why you don't always get your best shave, and how to make sure you can:
1. You Don't Use A Fresh Blade
Schick Quattro For Women Razor, $8.29, target.com
Your shave will never be as close as it is with a brand new razor. According to Dr. Annie Chiu, Schick & Skintimate Partner Dermatologist, razors become duller with every use, and therefore more prone to injuring your skin and leaving behind stubble. From our email correspondence, I also learned that, on average, you can use a razor five to eight times before you need to switch it out for a fresh blade. So for the days when you really need your closest shave, bust out a new blade. Another option is to invest in a blade sharpener so even when you reuse a blade, it will behave more like a new one.
2. You Don't Exfoliate First
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"Exfoliating regularly can actually decrease the risk of ingrown hairs," says Dr. Chiu. However, she warns against exfoliating for 24 hours before and after a shave, as this could cause some irritation. So when you do exfoliate, try a moisturizing scrub that will not only clear the way for a smooth shave but also keep your skin hydrated.
3. You Don't Stay In The Shower Long Enough
If you shave as soon as you hop in the bath or shower, it won't be as close as it could be. Instead, go ahead and do your other shower tasks first — soap up and wash your hair. During this time, dermatologist Christine Choi Kim, M.D. told Good Housekeeping, the steam and warm water from your shower will help soften your hairs and open your follicles so your shave is closer and less irritating.
4. You Don't Use A Shaving Cream
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No matter how pressed for time you are, try to avoid dry-shaving or shaving with traditional soap in a pinch. "Water does not provide enough glide for a smooth shave, and soaps actually dull your blades sooner as soap suds build up on the blades," explains Dr. Chiu. Instead, she recommends using a shaving cream that will create a moisturizing barrier and help a razor glide more easily over your skin so as not to drag and cause nicks and cuts.
5. You Don't Shave In The Right Direction
Shaving with the grain (in the direction of hair growth) is generally less irritating. However, this direction also doesn't give a totally stubble-free shave. Brand Managers of Schick Quattro For Women and Skintimate told Huffingtonpost.com, to ensure that you get the closest shave, shave against the grain.
6. You Shave Too Quickly
Shaving can be quite a chore, but trying to cut it short will only ruin your skin. Not only will longer, faster swipes lead to irritation, but not rinsing your blade as frequently will also cause your shave to not be as close. Instead, GilletteVenus.com recommends make shorter, more deliberate strokes and rinse your razor between each one for the closest and smoothest shave possible.
7. You Use Too Much Pressure
A clean and sharp razor shouldn't require a heavy hand to achieve a close shave. And actually, pressing too hard can increase the risk of nicks and cuts, according to Dr. Chiu. So this doesn't happen, use a light hand to make sure your razor glides easily over your skin and there isn't any tugging.
8. You Don't Use An Aftershave
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What you do after your shave is just as important as what you do before and during it. The right aftershave will help keep your skin calm and free from bumps, razor burn, and ingrown hairs.
9. You Don't Moisturize
The Body Shop Spa of the World Polynesian Monoi Radiance Oil, $25, thebodyshop-usa.com
After applying an aftershave, make sure to follow up with a moisturizer or oil. As Dr. Chiu explains, shaving is like a light exfoliation because it takes off the top layer of dead skin cells. So right after shaving is the perfect time to seal moisture into your skin with your favorite body lotion or oil.
Together, all of these steps will truly give you the best shave of your life.