Timeless Shaving Dos and Don’ts

Shaving facial hair is a timeless ritual shared by men young and old, around the world, and all throughout time. Ninety percent of American men (approx. 94 million) over the age of fifteen shave their facial hair on a regular basis. Fifteen to twenty-year-olds shave an average of 275 times a year, and men ages twenty to sixty-five take a razor to it almost daily. It is a rite of passage that can be pulled off smoothly each time if the proper techniques are carefully followed. Here are a few timeless do’s and don’ts of the shaving ritual:

Do Get a Routine Down
An established and practiced routine will make the process of shaving flow more easily from step to step. First, use a high-quality facial scrub for men to soften the whiskers. They are more easily removed when prepped like this. Sensitive skin needs a specific formula, such as a fragrance-free scrub based in a lotion or gel created specifically for that skin type. Use an aftershave balm when you are finished. This provides a final layer of protective softness and can reduce post-shave irritation, not to mention, leave you smelling nice.

Do Shave After the Shower
After being in a hot and steamy shower, the pores in the face will be expanded and relaxed. This allows for close razor contact and helps produce a very clean and close shave. Since the steam has softened the pores, the razor will glide easily across the skin. It is worth it to invest in a good fogless mirror and mount it in the shower for a more convenient and efficient shaving experience. Or just take your task to the bathroom sink mirror immediately after you get out of the shower.

Do Shave in Short Strokes
It is a common misconception that the razor should be drawn from cheek to cheek in long, stretched-out strokes This is not a clean, safe, or very effective method. Short strokes give a more precise shave and employ reduced pressure on the blade handle. You will get more closeness and less damage to the skin this way.

Do Change Razor Blades Often
Using a rusty or corroded razor is one of the worst things you can do to your skin. Some brands of razors provide an indicator strip to tell when a blade has run it’s course. If the strip has turned white it is time to change the blade. Drying the razor blade after shaving has also been shown to dramatically increase blade life, even up to 122%.

Don’t Splash on the Cold
Splashing on cold water has the exact opposite affect from what the shaver really needs: warm, relaxed skin and expanded pores. Instead of helping, this method will hinder the shaving experience by shocking skin and causing it to tighten and contract. Pores will shrink and cause the skin to become more rigid and less smooth under the razor blade. Wet the face with plain, warm water before starting.

Don’t Put the Pressure On
Added pressure is not necessary to achieve a good shave. Applying more pressure on the razor will not provide a smoother shave, but could leave your face irritated and chafed. Glide the blade gently and naturally across the skin for best results.

Don’t Dry Shave
This is a terrible shaving no-no that can leave your face looking a lot like a battlefield. A good shaving cream or gel is necessary to protect the skin from cuts, nicks, and razor burn. The cream or gel provides a buffer between delicate skin and the blade, protecting you and giving a cleaner shave as well.

Common Shaving Problems

The concept of facial grooming appears to be somewhat different for every man. Some men can grow full beards without any effort. Other men may struggle to grow a decent mustache after months of effort. The same thing is found in shaving. Some men shave without any repercussions while others will encounter an assortment of problems while shaving. The following gives a partial summary of the issues some men encounter and some helpful tips for preventing these problems.

Cuts during shaving are a problem that some men may experience. This is usually common for men that are new to shaving, but the will occasionally occur with the experienced shaver. At times this can be the result of a very dull blade. Other times the issue can be caused with a sharp blade. The key to shaving is to know your blade.

If you have a blade that’s dull you need to discard it immediately. A dull blade will often cause you to pull harder at the skin to get a clean smooth shave. The constant pull and scrap can unwittingly tear the skin and leave you spending more time trying to stop the bleeding than you will spend shaving.

This can also happen if you are in a rush and you have a sharp blade present. It’s never a good idea to rush while you’re shaving. If you don’t have time to shave it’s better to neglect this task all together. The idea is to make sure that you shake your aftershave foam well before applying. Once you’ve done this cover your face smoothly and begin to shave slowly. There’s no need to press down heavily with a sharp blade. Shave slowly and rinse the blade several times during this process. Feel the skin to make sure that the hair is removed from the areas that you have targeted. If it isn’t you can return to this areas, but make sure that you only go over these areas lightly. It is a common mistake to cut yourself on the return when you feel hair in the areas that you thought were finished. Instead of rapid quick strokes you should attempt to glance over these areas slowly. This is the best way to avoid cuts.

An even more common shaving problem, especially in black skin, is that of shaving bumps and a reddened area around the throat after shaving. For some men it’s a minor issue. In these instances men can usually apply alcohol after shaving as a form of preventive maintenance.

Others that shave will find that the problem is more severe. Rubbing alcohol is usually not enough to aid in resolving the issues for these extreme cases. For many of the cases that are diagnosed acne is the common issue. The bumps and reddened skin are often the result of hair follicles that become infected with bacteria. This is more common in black males with hair follicles that are usually curled. These tiny specks of hair roll back into the skin when they are cut, and this often results in an occurrence of bumps.

There are steps for aiding in the resolution of the issue. This involves a little prep work before shaving. It is important to obtain a soap free cleanser for the skin. This is essential for removing oils from the skin, and it also aids in softening the hairs before the shave begins. It is also recommended to obtain a clean blade every time. This is will help minimize bacteria during the shaving process.

After the prep work is done you should be sure that your face is wet and that your skin has absorbed the moisture. It is good to use a hot towel to help. It is also important to apply shaving cream well and use an alcohol free toner after you have finished. These steps will benefit anyone that experiences problems while shaving.

How To: Carry A Flask

If you are about to become a father, then you are in for a tough road ahead. When you ask almost any man about their experience when their wife or girlfriend gave birth to their first child, they will unanimously tell you that it absolutely changed their life. This is true. Even brain scientists and psychologists have shown that when a man becomes a father, his entire brain practically reorganizes itself. New suites of chemicals are released, life priorities change, and new areas of the brain that were previously in a dormant state become activated for the first time. It will almost be as if you have become a different person. Nothing in life can compare to the joy that you will feel on the first day that your son or daughter is born. You will certainly have a great many days of laughter and fun to look forward to as you and your wife or girlfriend embark on this new stage of life.

Although nearly every man will be quick to point out these tremendous benefits, they will be less forthcoming about all the negative aspects of becoming a father. Although this can be one of the most joyous and fulfilling periods of your life, it can also be one of the most stressful periods of your life. You can now expect to have to wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of your child crying and screaming. You will no longer have the freedom to do what you want when you want to do it – you will be endlessly chained to the needs of your child and of the child’s mother. There are quite a few ways that men have found to be effective at coping with this newfound stress. Many men begin exercising on a regular basis. This can be a great outlet for stress. Unfortunately, it can be time consuming, and some men with particularly demanding wives and children can’t even find enough time to pry themselves away from their home to get to the gym.

Another great way to relieve all this stress and to keep some semblance of your sanity is to drink alcohol a bit more than you are used to. Alcohol can be a great way to boost your spirits at times when everything appears otherwise bleak. There are many benefits to drinking alcohol every day. New scientific research has shown that moderate drinkers who consume between 1 and 3 alcoholic beverages per day outlive heavy drinkers and even people who don’t drink at all. There are many reasons that the scientists have hypothesized that this is the case. One reason is that it improves sociability. Another reason is that it can actually improve the functionality of the liver and of the immune system.

Unfortunately, there is a bit of a stigma attached to drinking in our society, despite the multiple wonderful benefits that drinking regularly can bring to you and to your family. For this reason, you may find it more practical to make your drinking a bit more discrete. There is no better way to do this than with a flask. Flasks should be a staple in any man’s tool belt. Back in the days of the wild west, nearly every man carried one. No man ever wanted to be caught without his gun and without his flask. A common question that many men have is: what is the best way to carry my flask? This is a great question, since many men make the same rookie mistakes.

Most men will try to carry their flask in their back pocket. This is a mistake, particularly if you carry your flask every day. Everyone will soon be able to see a clearly delineated outline of a flask on your rear end. It is better to carry it in your front pocket. Shirt pockets are also a good choice, as is the inside of your coat pocket – particularly in the winter time.

The Elusive Perfect Shave

The last three generations of young men in America have been brainwashed into believing that the latest razor can provide a better and smoother shave. Razors went from one blade, then two and now you can buy razors with five blades. The electric razor underwent a similar transformation and most have at least three shaving heads.

For many men, the idea of a perfect shave follows a certain pattern. Spray shaving cream or gel into the hand, apply to face, get latest razor wet, drag across face, rinse razor, repeat. Rinse face, dry face, apply aftershave and done. The process of shaving, start to finish, takes less than five minutes. The rest of the day men grit their teeth and try to ignore ingrown hairs and razor burns.

The elusive perfect shave bears no resemblance to the shave aisle at Wal-Mart and requires a different set of tools. A shaving bowl, a badger or boar hair shaving brush, shaving soap or cream and a double-edged safety razor (DE razor) or the straight edge razor, commonly referred to as a “cutthroat” razor. Johnny Depp uses straight edge razors in his portrayal of the bitter vengeful barber in the movie “Sweeny Todd, Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

The “wet” shave is enjoying a renaissance as men realize they can get a better shave for less money by passing on cartridge razors and aerosol shave creams and gels. The Zen-like art of wet shaving becomes a morning ritual to look forward to, rather than something to dread.

One of the most important parts of wet shaving or shaving at all, is the shower. Always shower before shaving. If you cannot shower, take the time to wet your beard with hot water. This will soften your facial hair and make shaving easier than it would otherwise be. Before shaving and during shaving your face should always be wet. The water acts as a cushion and a barrier between your skin and the blade.

Next comes the most important part of the shave. How you lather your face can make the difference between a good shave and a poor one. Soak your brush in hot water for a minute or two, and then shake the excess water out of it. Badger brushes retain more water than boar bristle brushes and may require a gentle squeeze to rid the brush of excess water. Dip the brush in your shaving cream or soap and get the tips of the brush covered in soap. What happens after this point is a matter of personal preference. Some men like to take the brush and transfer it to a shaving bowl where they whip up lather. If lather is not forming, add a few drops of water to your bowl. If the lather has large bubbles in it, you have too much water. Practice will help you learn the perfect water to soap ratio. The lather should have the consistency of meringue. Some men prefer to apply the brush to the face and work up the lather on their face. This is called “face-lathering”. The most traditional method is to lather in a shaving mug with the soap at the bottom of the mug. This method tends to dry out the soap and is wasteful, so most aficionados pass on this method of lathering.

The shave is where most men will decide to stay with cartridge razors or make the switch to double edge razors. DE razor blades can be purchased for less than twenty cents a blade, compared to three or four dollars per cartridge. If you are used to a cartridge style razor, you will have to re-learn how to shave, because the DE razor is not as forgiving as a cartridge razor. You do not press the razor against the face; instead, you will make several passes, applying no pressure beyond that of the weight of the razor itself, lathering between each pass. The idea is trim the facial hair closer and closer until you have a perfectly smooth face. Remember to shave with the grain of your facial hair; this will minimize razor burn and ingrown hairs.

Many forums online focus on men’s shaving and have helpful members, links to videos and instructional tips on how to achieve the perfect shave. Whether you switch to double edge razors or straight razors or stay with the familiar cartridge razor, you owe it to yourself the make the switch to wet shaving with a brush. The quality of your shave will improve noticeably. One of the greatest gifts a father can pass on to his son is the knowledge of how to shave properly and with great enjoyment. The perfect shave is something to be mastered, perfected, and passed on to new generations.

How to Reduce Hair Loss in Men

No man wants to lose his hair; that is a fact. No matter how distinguished it makes him look, he will dread every hair he finds in the sink, try every prevention product under the sun, and hide under a hat when all else fails. The good news is that there is a way to prevent hair loss, or at least decrease its speed. Experts have it narrowed the effective guidelines down to seven tips, some new and some old. So quit wasting your money and stick with what works.

If you are at risk for hair loss due to genetics, keep your hair short. When the hair is longer, there is more stress on the hair follicles. A strand of hair may not seem to have much weight at all, but the extra weight of longer hair pulls tremendously. Also, longer hair simply needs more attention. Brushing, blow drying, and styling all damage the follicle, putting you at greater risk for hair loss.

Take care of your scalp. Wash your hair regularly with a gentle shampoo, and be sure to rinse thoroughly. If you use product in your hair, wash and rinse every single day. The products may contain damaging chemicals. If you are sans product, wash and rinse every day. Scalp hygiene is important, but washing hair when it is still clean puts unnecessary stress on the follicles.

Stick to a healthy diet. Even taking a multivitamin specifically for men can improve the quality of your hair and ensure its longevity. Our bodies are programmed to send the nutrients where they are most needed, and unfortunately, hair is low on the totem pole.

Learn to relax. Life is filled with inevitable stressors. Try as you might, it will always be there. The best thing you can do to preserve your hair is to learn how to deal with the stress. When the body is stressed, hormones are released as coping and defense mechanism. These hormones contribute to hair loss. So, if you are stressing about your hair loss, stop it. You are only making it worse.

Most hair loss drugs are just playing on the vulnerability of those interested, but minoxidil is a product that actually works. In either an oral or topical form, it relaxes the walls of the blood vessels to increase the flow of blood. The result is the promotion of hair growth and the decrease of hair loss. Scientists are not sure exactly how this drug works, but the results cannot be denied. Minoxidil is available in hair regrowth products such as Rogaine.

Another effective drug is Propecia. It works by blocking the enzyme that creates the hormone that causes hair loss. It’s somewhat of a roundabout method, but it is effective. About 80% of men saw improvements. However, for many men, it takes about 3 months before results can be noticed. Propecia works best for those suffering from hereditary male pattern baldness.

Finally, consider a lasercomb. This recently FDA-approved piece of machinery is an at-home form of a laser treatment. A lasercomb is exactly how it sounds; it as an electric comb with light therapy to stimulate a healthy scalp and hair. By stimulating the cells in the scalp and hair follicles, they are prompted to grow back healthier, stronger, and thicker. These results can be seen in as little as six weeks. Also, unlike other topical treatments, the lasercomb reduces dandruff and shows no sign of scalp irritation or redness.

Through some combination of these seven tips, you can preserve the hair you have, grow back hair that was lost, and prevent ever losing it again. When it really boils down to it, hair loss is not the end of the world; it is the end of your perceived youth. Hold on to it as long as you humanly can.