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October 19, 2017

Last time we talked about some of the perils of shaving, focusing on shaving burn, it’s prevention, and how to treat it if you already have it.  This week, we will look at shaving bumps.  I think we can all agree that ingrown hairs and infected follicles are worse than shaving burn.  As we learned here shaving burn can be prevented rather easily and is also easily dealt with if it does occur.  

Shaving bumps on the other hand can be quite painful, very unsightly, and they can last much longer.  Additionally, if they become infected, you are making a trip to the doctor (not our idea of a great time).  This is why it is much more important to focus on preventing these bumps from occurring in the first place. 

Luckily, most of what we talked about in terms of razor burn prevention can also be applied to shaving bumps (or ingrown hairs as some may call them).  While we will talk about the bikini line quite a bit in this post (this is where the majority of these bumps occur) know that these guidelines apply to your legs and underarms as well. 

While it might seem like there’s a lot to do here, it really only amounts to a few small changes in your routine and maybe a minute or two more of your time.  A small price to pay for happy skin we’d say!

  • Alternate Shaving Days.  This may seem like an odd bit of advice but keep in mind that your skin is quite sensitive under your arms and in your bikini area, you do not want to irritate the skin here too much and giving it time to rest and reset after a shave is a good thing.  This waiting period performs another key function as well. It allows the hair some time to grow out of the skin on its own.  Skipping a day between shaves will also mean that you are much less likely to break the bumps you do have open.  While you may think you want to break them open, keep in mind that doing so opens your skin up to bacterial infections which you probably want to avoid.  We would recommend shaving your armpits and lady parts on one day and your legs on alternate days.  This makes shaving less of a chore and reduces your chances of irritating an area.


  • Warm Water Is Your Friend!  For most of us, this is a no-brainer, about 92% of women that shave, do so in the shower.  There is a trick to this though.  Most women will shave rather quickly upon entering the shower to just get it over with.  This isn’t optimal since the hair hasn’t had enough time to soak through.  You want to wait about two minutes for the hair to soften and become more compliant.  This will ensure you get a shave with less resistance from the hair.  This means you actually cut it – as opposed to ripping it out and irritating the skin.  Additionally, you are allowing the skin to become warm and wet.  This will open your pores and get you a nice even shave.


  • Exfoliate BEFORE You Shave.  Another easy one that is too often skipped.  This doesn’t have to be a process, just use a gentle exfoliant around the area you are going to shave and then wash it off.  You are doing this for three reasons.  First off, your top layer of dry skin is what usually traps hairs and causes them to become ingrown (think of it as a thin tarp over a seedling).  If you exfoliate regularly, this skin layer is gently removed and that will significantly cut down on your ingrown hairs.  The other reason we recommend this is purely cosmetic.  The exfoliation helps to reveal fresh skin underneath for a naturally radiant complexion.  Finally, the exfoliation helps to smooth the skin for the razor, this means you get a closer shave with less irritation, so stubble becomes less of an issue.


  • Use A Sharp Razor!  Most women use their razor WELL past the number of times they should.  This is generally because blades are expensive.  We’ve solved that now, so you don’t have to put up with dull blades.  By using your cartridges no more than seven times you ensure that your blades are in peak condition to actually cut the hair your shaving.  When you overuse blades they start to rip the hair instead of cutting it.  As we mentioned before this is the worst possible thing for you because it irritates the skin, almost ensuring a case of razor burn and increasing the likelihood of ingrown hairs and infected follicles. We also recommend you use a newer razor because it is less likely to harbor bacteria.  While it may be tempting to use razors with oversize moisture bars, keep in mind that these can make maneuvering the blade difficult and provide great homes for microorganisms.  Also, keep in mind that you shouldn’t have to apply a lot of pressure.  If you feel like you have to do this to get a better shave it may be because your razor is old and needs replacing.


  • Use A Proper Shaving Cream.  A good shaving cream can make the difference between a clean smooth shave without any missed spots and a patchy shave job with irritated skin.  You want to use something that isn’t heavily perfumed or made with too many chemicals as this is a surefire way to irritate your skin.  Instead, opt for a moisturizing shave cream with ingredients that are known for their inflammation calming effects (aloe, coconut butter, and rose oil come to mind).  This thin layer of cream will help the razor to glide smoothly on the skin, preventing irritation. It will also help you retain moisture that is usually lost when shaving.  Also, when you get out of the shower, you want to use a thick lotion to help keep as much of that moisture in your skin as possible.


  • Shave With The Grain.  We don’t usually pay attention to this because we want to minimize our time spent shaving, not analyze the process (that's our job).  That said though, it’s definitely worth it to figure out which direction your hair normally grows.  By shaving with the grain you may need an extra stroke or two to ensure that you are nice and smooth but your skin will thank you for the added effort in reduced irritation and a lower chance of ingrown hairs.  Just as a guideline, most leg hair grows downward.  Armpit hairs generally grow away from the fold while bikini hair either grows downward or toward the vagina.  These are just rules of thumb though – better to do your own quick check to make sure!


  • Aftercare is just as important.  Just because you are done shaving doesn’t mean you’re are done tending to your skin.  Try to rinse the shaved area with some cool water to close the pores.  This helps prevent bacteria from finding a nice little home in your freshly shaven skin.  Then, when you are out of the shower, pat, don’t rub the shaved area.  Your skin has already seen its share of action for the day, try not to irritate it further by rubbing the skin roughly.  Then use a nice thick lotion with an anti-inflammatory like lavender or peppermint, remember you want to stay away from perfumes here but natural oils are okay for most of us (I always test new products on the back of my hand first).  Finally, rub a bit of deodorant over your shaved skin to reduce irritation from your clothing and boom, you’re done!

It may seem like this is a long drawn out process but in reality, most of the women that followed these rules actually spent LESS time shaving mainly because they weren't shaving everything every day.  If you have any other tips that you have found work for you please share them in the comments!

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