Surveys on Indian men’s shaving habits, reveal that 68 % women are turned off by an unshaven man. 61 % women would prefer kissing or marrying a clean shaven man. Also 91 % of employers would prefer to hire and promote clean shaven men. 93 % men prefer a clean shaven look in India, while 80 % of men consider clean shaven look to be handsome. The main reason that men shave more frequently is for looking well-groomed, maintaining good hygiene and looking younger.
Statistics say that men spend an average of five months of their lives shaving, since it is thought that 90% of all men shave at least once per day! Some men prefer shaving after a shower in the morning and then again before dinner.
Facts also say that though they notice some or the other skin problem, most men think that skin care is unimportant.
But, now men’s grooming has come of age. There is more to it than meets the eye.
Items in a Shaving Kit: Shaving kits usually comprise of little more than a blade and shaving cream. But the perfect shave means so much more. Research has it that a shaving kit should have items decided by Face Mapping and the man’s skin condition. Face Mapping is a technique used by the skin therapists to analyze the facial skin. Visual clues help identify existing problems can only be verified by actually touching the skin. This new method of analysis provides accurate diagnosis of skin concerns and also helps to detect them even before they surface. Face Mapping can help show where the problems are and what products to use on those specific zones.
The International Dermal Institute has come up with Dermalogica’s the Shave Collection – a range of 8 products to appeal to a man and connect him to skincare for India. This range is specially designed for three skin conditions – Sensitive, Normal and Oily – and the beard types men choose to wear, from extremely heavy, course beards to the barber shop close shave, to give superior shaving results at home. The products are designed for speed – with dual-purpose applications, convenience and the ability to solve a myriad of shaving problems. These Dermalogica products contain natural ingredients and other ingredients that soothe the skin.
The Shaving Process: Research has given 3 steps to the shaving process: Pre-shave, Shave and Post-shave.
Pre-Shave: The facial skin needs some preparation before the actual shaving process. In this step, the hair is lifted and ready to be cleaned off. A soap-free and non-irritating cleanser removes excess oils and debris without stripping skin’s natural moisture barrier. A scrub can cleanse and exfoliate at the same time. It removes dulling skin cells and keeps pores clear to minimize ingrown hair while lifting the beard for a closer, cleaner shave. An ingrown hair acts as a foreign body and causes infection, so this kind of cleansing and exfoliating is important. This scrub can be used 3-4 times a week.
A pre-shave guard softens and gives extra conditioning to heavy and tough beards. This is more than a shaving cream can do. Most products use alkalinity to soften beard hair, which damages the protective lipid layer of the skin causing irritation. On the other hand, a pre-shave guard has neutral pH. Pre-Shave Guard helps in preparing the skin for shaving. It works by softening the beard to minimize razor bumps and ingrown hair.
Avni Amlani, Head Educator, Dermalogica explained, “You know that you will not shave at the place where there is a cut or abrasion. If there is sensitivity, you will hesitate before you go into that area. Even if you go through that area, you will be very gentle. You will make sure that you have enough of the product in that area. Our product pre-shave guard acts as a backup. You can use this product on the sensitive areas. This acts as an added protection and a barrier.”
Shave: According to Avni, “The most common shaving paste in the market currently has alkaline base. Most of them have the ph of 10. Alkalinity helps in softening the hair and makes shaving easier. At the same time, alkalinity is drying your skin. High alkalinity and artificial fragrances cause irritation and sensitivity in the skin. Some of these even cause ingrown hair.”
Currently the Indian market has three mediums of shaving available – cream, gel and oil. A cream can be ultra-calming, anti-inflammatory and can condition the skin to reduce the irritation and redness associated with shaving. Some products can also eliminate acne-causing bacteria.
An oil-free shaving gel can achieve the “barber-close” shave many men want. Some products can infuse the skin with antioxidants to delay signs of aging. Very much recommended for oily skin.
Oil based shaving medium can create a cushioning effect between the skin and the razor. Another advantage is that you can get an extra close shave without nicks, cuts or redness at the same time giving you a precise shave.
Basically, to get a close shave apply enough of shaving medium on the skin.
Shaving medium is important because it protects the skin while the hair is being removed. Besides, the use of the type of blade depends on the hair growth, as in a triple blade gives a closer shave if there is fine hair.
Post-Shave: Post-shave, avoid dabbing after-shaves with strong artificial fragrances directly on freshly shaven skin. And basically when you are shaving, you are exfoliating the skin. Avoid anything having high colorant, artificial fragrance and alcohol content. It would dry, make it sensitive and irritate it. You need a product, which is cooling and soothing, which will help heal and repair the skin.
A treatment balm, available in the market, not just helps in the reduction of discomfort, irritation and redness associated with shaving, but it also prevents ingrown hair and impacted follicles. The balm is lightweight, oil-free and intensely moisturizes and helps shorten post-shave recovery time.
Finally, you need sun-protection. Most men do not believe in using a moisturizer. They think they are immune to getting skin cancer. However, men and women are equally prone to cancer. Another important post-shave product is a moisturizer with a defense block. SPF 15 is good for daily use and protects from UV radiation. This lightweight moisturizer should be used in the daytime and it helps recover the skin’s natural protective barrier post shaving.
A Daily Shave: The number of times a man shaves in a day is very personal and depends on hair growth. Generally hair grows 2 mm per day. Most gentlemen can get away with shaving in the morning and then they don’t have to shave till the next day in the morning. For them it’s a 24 hour cycle.
According to Avni, “If proper care is taken a daily shave does not affect the skin badly – if there is right kind of preparation of the skin, the right shaving medium and protection for your skin after it is shaven.”
Problems Associated With Shaving: There are a few problems connected to shaving. They are:
1) Razor burn happens due to numerous reasons.
A) Due to too much pressure from the razor. People think that harder the pressure, closer the shave. But that is not the case. Pressure causes razor burns. It causes abrasions, irritation and redness.
B) When shaving is done a lot of people do not use lubrication on the skin.
C) Sometimes people use blunt blades. These can also cause razor burns.
2) To make the blade last longer also you have to rinse the blade regularly, while shaving.
3) While using electric shavers, always check with the manufacturing guidelines of the shaver before using it. Avni adds, “Our products were made with wet shave in mind. However, you can use our shave products before and after you shave with an electric shaver. We have been told by our clients that they have used Close Shave Oil with electric shaver. But we would like you to check with the manufacturing guidelines of the shaver, before using it.”
4) The shaving technique also makes a lot of difference. Grain of the hair-growth is the direction of the hair-growth. Some men shave with the grain and some against the grain.
They should go with the grain because when they go against the grain, it causes irritation and exfoliation. It also causes ingrown hair. Some men have very thick hair and some men don’t shave every day.
5) If you first shave with the grain, you can avoid razor bumps, too. Razor bumps are very common around the chin, jaw and predominantly around the neck. There is a basic difference between ingrown hair and razor bumps. Ingrown hair grows back into its own follicle. In razor bumps, the hair comes out and grows into the neighboring follicle. To avoid all these problems the first shave should always be in the direction of the grain.