Reduction/elimination of ingrown hairs from shaving - an overview
If you are like me and have wavy hair, or curly hair, chances are you are more susceptible to getting those annoying zit like bumps as a result of ingrown hairs. If you have coarse, thick facial hair, that compounds the likelihood of the problem. That isn't meant to be exclusionary, because straight haired people get it as well, though it is less common. Over the years, after trying virtually everything, I have managed to get the best combination of steps that finally drastically reduced this problem for me. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the steps and techniques you can use to help alleviate this annoyance. In subsequent articles, I will explain each aspect in more detail.
The first step is to use the best method. Meaning, wet, traditional shaving. Use either a straight razor or a double edge, single bladed safety razor. No dry, electric shaving. No cartridges with multi blades. Five blades is four more than you need. I use a Merkur double edge safety razor. If you are going to use a straight razor, make sure you read other tutorials on how to use them. Straight razors require the most skill, and if you don't know what you're doing, you can cause yourself a great deal of pain - and bleeding. Double edge safety razors require more skill than a cartridge, but that is more from the standpoint of effectiveness, rather than safety. Since I've started shaving, I have actually had more than one licensed dermatologist recommend using an electric shaver, but that recommendation is based on a false premise, which I will explain further in an article to come.
The second rule of a less bumpy or bump free shave is using the right type of cream, and preparing it correctly. Do not use anything out of an aerosol can. Those products are twisted bastardizations of real shaving cream. Also on the do not use list includes many special shaving aids and creams that a dermatologist may recommend, unless they are recommending traditional shaving cream. Believe me, I have tried every other thing pushed on me, and traditional shaving cream is the only thing that passes the test. If there is something else out there that does just as well, I have not heard of it. But if you come across one, I would be very curious to know what it is.
The third basic technique is to remember to correctly zone your beard. It is very important to know the grain direction of your beard on your face and even more so on your neck, as that is where bumps more often tend to happen - perhaps because the neck is usually more "zoned" than your face will be. In other words, the grain direction is likely to be more varied in your neck than in your face. That way you will know which direction to shave in each area of your beard. If you are susceptible to bumping and/or have sensitive skin, I would recommend never shaving against the grain.
In the coming days I look forward to delving into more detail about each technique.