10 Smooth Tips for a Better Shave

A clean shave is both a necessity and a nuisance for many men and women alike. But these low-cost tips can help keep your skin irritation-free.

To shave or not to shave: For many men, it is simply a matter of aesthetics — some like the bearded look, while others prefer to be clean-shaven.

For still others, shaving is a necessity. Too much facial hair can come between some workers and their jobs.

Unkempt, long and full beards, for example, recently appeared on a list of the top 20 styles considered inappropriate for the workplace in a survey of 2,000 workers, Huffington Post UK reports.

In the U.S., no-beard policies are perfectly legal, with a few exceptions for certain medical or religious reasons, for example, according to Business Management Daily:

Basically, private employers do have the right to set their own dress and grooming codes. That can include setting limits on employees’ facial hair, unless the employees cite [one of those reasons].

Constant shaving routines can irritate the shaver’s skin. While the shaving industry is quick to promise the next great but expensive solution, health and grooming experts say that following a few low-cost guidelines can give you a close shave while keeping red, bumpy and nicked skin at bay.

Here are 10 tips for a clean shave that feels good — and that won’t irritate your wallet either.

1. Exfoliate first

Exfoliating skin before shaving helps prevent the razor from becoming overloaded with dead skin cells, which can make the blade less efficient, says Sondra Powell, manager of the aesthetics program at the nonprofit Cleveland Clinic.

A loofah or body scrub product will work for exfoliating, Powell says. But to trim costs, try a loofah first because many can be machine-washed and reused.

By scrubbing off dead skin cells, exfoliation helps expose hair follicles, which allows the razor to lift them more easily, resulting in a smoother shave, according to Remington.

The shaving product company notes that this process is especially beneficial for men because their skin is naturally thicker and rougher.

2. Shave during or after showering

A warm shower helps open pores and soften hair, making shaving easier, according to Women’s Health. The magazine recommends shaving toward the end of a shower, while other experts state that shaving immediately after showering is also an option for men.

3. Try a brush

Lathering up with a shaving brush like the one Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson holds up in the video below helps place shaving cream up under each facial hair. According to the Art of Manliness blog, this results in a better, smoother shave.

Brushes — often made with badger or boar hair, for example — can be expensive. But they are a one-time investment and cheaper versions, including ones with synthetic hair, can be found online.

4. Say ‘no’ to soap

Products like shaving cream — or for a cheaper alternative, hair conditioner — help moisturize skin, making for a smoother shave, according to Women’s Health. Soap, on the other hand, dries out skin.

Additionally, New York dermatologist Dr. Ellen Gendler tells Good Housekeeping magazine:

“[Soap] doesn’t create enough lubrication for a razor to slide easily against your skin, which can up the odds of cuts,” Gendler says.

5. Avoid irritants

While shaving products like creams and gels have a consistency that is preferable to thin bar-soap lather, they can still upset skin if they contain irritating ingredients such as fragrance, alcohol or menthol. The same is true of products put on the skin after shaving.

To learn more about irritants found in skincare and other personal care products, check out “8 Surprising Ways to Ruin Your Skin.”

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