The ideal clean-shaven look is one that leaves your face free of hair and red bumps or patches of irritation. Most men can achiev
e this look without any special products or the help of a professional groomer. All you really need are the right tools and a few minutes to ensure your skin is ready for razor contact.
Red bumps, which are most common in the neck area and in men with naturally curling facial hair, are caused by ingrown hairs—hairs that curve and grow in/under the skin.
Facial bumps will go away naturally as the hairs lengthen and rise once again above the skin’s surface. But that can take weeks. If you don’t want to wait that long, you may be able to prevent them with a few modifications to your shaving practice.
Dull razors contribute to ingrown hairs because they often fail to cut the hair but snag or break it instead. To avoid snagging and breaking, make sure you use a sharp razor. As a general rule, sharpen or replace your razor blades after every fourth shave (although you may need to tailor this timeline based on the texture and thickness of your facial hair).
You may also opt to use an electric razor. The coils of an electric razor do not cut as close to the skin as a razor, but that may be a good thing. The miniscule hair growth left above the surface reduces the likelihood that the hair will curl back into the skin as it continues to grow.
If you are using a bladed razor, in particular, make sure your skin is ready for contact by softening the hairs. Simply place a warm washcloth over the area that requires shaving. Re-soak to maintain moist heat over the area for two to three minutes before shaving.
Generously lather the area to be shaved with shave cream, ideally a product formulated with aloe or other moisturizers.
Shaving in the same direction that hair grows will go a long way in preventing red facial bumps. As much as possible, avoid making multiple passes over the same area. If you need to, reapply a thin layer of shave cream before the second pass.
Once your shave is complete, baby your skin to minimize irritation and encourage healthy skin cell turnover. Post-shave skin care should include:
Between shaves, you may also consider a cleanser that gently exfoliates to remove dead skin cells that can trap new hair growth, forcing it to grow back into the skin. Hale Cosmeceuticals’ Dermist GSL-624 Clarifying Cleanser is formulated with glycolic and salicylic acids that are recommended by many dermatologists as treatments for red facial bumps.