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Natural Living

Secrets to a Great Shave Every Time

Red bumps, raw skin, and rashes can be the result of wrestling with your razor for a close shave. Stay stubble- and nick-free with these slick solutions.

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Successful shaving depends on how you prepare your skin, and it starts with cleansing-but don’t use plain old soap. Choose a cleanser with a coconut oil or shea butter base that can break down grease and oils, just like a mechanic uses clean grease to break down dirty grease. Coconut oil, in particular, lathers easily and helps skin retain moisture.

When the hair on your face is dry, it’s steely. That’s why you need to soften it, and there’s only one way to do that: with lots of hot water. Facial hair will absorb up to 30 percent of its volume in moisture. So splash your face, or better yet, shower first and let the steam soften your skin. As your whiskers absorb the hot water, they swell and get weaker. And when your skin is wet, you get a better glide so your razor blade doesn’t catch and cause nicks.

Use a shaving cream that moisturizes while helping the razor to glide. Beware of foams from aerosol cans. They’re half air, and ultimately dry your skin-the very opposite of what you want. Quality shaving creams create a rich, creamy lather and won’t foam up like drug store brands.

Once you’re cleansed and lathered up, remember to shave with the grain. Shaving in the direction of the hair growth reduces irritation. Your beard has a growth pattern, which you can easily discern by letting it grow out for a day or two.

While getting rid of your whiskers, you can scrape off up to two layers of skin, which leaves your face vulnerable to the elements. After you shave, rinse your face thoroughly with warm water, then with cool, and refresh you skin with a toner or aftershave. Use a product that contains witch hazel rather than alcohol, which is too drying to skin. Then apply a moisturizer that lists any combination of aloe vera, chamomile, calendula, comfrey, and vitamin E on the label. And slather on the sunblock before you go outside-or cut down on grooming time with a multitasking moisturizing sunblock.

1 Smooth Sailing

Glide through your shave with BadgerNavigator Class Man Care Pre-Shave Oil. Olive, sunflower seed, jojoba, baobab, sandalwood, and cardamom seed oils enhance glide, prevent razor burn, and provide a close shave. Vetiver, sea buckthorn, rosehip, and myrrh protect skin and reduce irritation. It’s highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way.

2 Lather Up

Get a close, smooth shave with WeledaShaving Cream. Wild pansy flower extract, goat’s milk, and almond milk create a lasting, creamy lather for a gentle shave that won’t irritate your skin.

3 Out of Africa

Lather up with Nubian HeritageAfrican Black Soap. Soothing and hydrating coconut oil, aloe vera, oats, vitamin E, and shea butter are added to a base of palm ash, plantain peel, tar, and tamarind extract to deep clean, detoxify, and balance skin as you shave.

4 Looking Doggone Good

Reduce redness and calm skin after you shave with Bull Dog Skincare for MenOriginal After Shave Balm. This fast-absorbing balm doubles as light moisturizer. We love the clean scent (it’s very mild). Ingredients include essential oils, aloe vera, chamomile, cucumber, and green tea extract. Free of chemicals including parabens and sodium laureth sulfate, this aftershave is especially good for men with sensitive skin.

5 Just for Her

Pamper and protect delicate skin with SheaMoisture SHAVE for WomenCoconut & Hibiscus Shave Butter Créme. Hibiscus, coconut, avocado, and olive oils are blended with shea butter and African black soap to create a rich cream for a close shave, while protecting skin from ingrown hairs, razor burn, and bumps.