Men's Grooming: Shaving

Man who is shaving his face
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One thing men must deal with that very few women have is facial hair. In some cultures, men's facial hair is seen as a symbol of maturity and is expected, especially among married men. In other cultures, whether a man grows his facial hair or not is entirely a matter of personal preference. Beards, mustaches, and sideburns: there are countless variations and combinations of facial hair styles.
The appearance of a man's facial hair is determined by genetics. Some men can only grow sparse and patchy facial hair, while others grow thick and full beards. Facial hair can be smooth or coarse, straight or curly.
The colors of facial hair can be as diverse as those found on any other part of the body (including the head). The density, texture, and growth pattern of facial hair determine which styles suit an individual best.
We've discussed the various styles of facial hair men have worn, so now let's talk about removing the facial hair. The most common method for removing facial hair is shaving, which can be done in two ways: either through a "wet shave" using a manual razor or through a "dry shave" using an electric razor.
Dry Shave - Electric Razor
The electric razor is a small motor-driven device that contains one or more rotating blades under some form of guard. The blades spin very fast and clip off the hair at the skin's surface. Electric razors are safe and easy to use, but they usually require some time to become fully effective. They work especially well on coarse hair. Because shaving with an electric razor doesn't generally require the use of any product to soften the whiskers, shaving in this manner is often called a "dry shave".
Electric razor
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The electric razor needs to be regularly cleaned to remove hair particles and dead skin that get trapped in the blades. Eventually, the blades themselves can become dull and need to be replaced. However, these blades tend to last longer compared to those in manual razors.
Wet Shave - Manual Razor
A wet shave is called such because it involves the use of a cream or lotion to soften the whiskers and lubricate the skin during the shaving process. A manual razor is used to scrape the skin, cutting off the hairs at the skin's surface. Manual razors available today have multiple blades and offer a much smoother shave than old-fashioned razors provided.
After each pass, the manual razor is typically rinsed to remove the cream or lotion and the cut hairs stuck between the blades. The blades also become dull after a few uses and require replacement. In most cases, this involves disposing of the bladed "head" of the razor and replacing it with a new one. With completely disposable razors, you simply discard the entire razor and use a fresh one from the package.
Manual razor for a wet shave
Photo: Robert Golebiewski/Pexels
To achieve a good, close shave with a manual razor, it's important to know the proper shaving techniques. Surprisingly, very few men seem to be familiar with even the basic tricks of shaving, so here's how it should be done:
The Proper Wet Shave:
You will need:
• Shaving cream or gel
• A small towel
• A disposable razor of your choice
• Access to running water and a sink (or bathtub/shower)
One of the key factors in getting a good shave is softening the facial hair prior to shaving. To do this, take the small towel and wet it using water that is as hot as you can tolerate. Wring out the excess water and lay the towel on your face, or press it to the face, and leave it there for about five minutes. The heat and moisture will combine to soften the facial hair, making it easier to cut.
If you're short on time in the mornings, you may find it helpful to shave after you shower or bathe. The heat and moisture from the shower serve the same purpose as the hot towel and will save you some time.
Next, take a small amount of shaving cream or gel and apply it to your hands. Work the lather over the areas of facial hair that you intend to shave. Let the product sit for a moment, further softening the skin and whiskers. At this point, you can proceed with the shaving process.
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