Shaving Advice Sought
August 4, 2009 6:43 PM   Subscribe

Want to look my best for tomorrow, seeking shaving advice.

Late twenties male, never really got the hang of shaving. Would like to look my best, could use the advice of people more used to shaving. My neck is easily irritated by shaving, and often has red bumps afterwards. I was thinking I could shave my neck tonight, then tomorrow shave my face but leave my neck alone. Will this leave my neck relatively clean-looking, or will it appear stubbly?
posted by ®@ to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Really depends on how fast your hair grows back... you'd know that much better than us.

As for general neck-shaving advice: Fresh blade, assuming you use a cartridge razor. Soak a towel in hot water and wrap it around your neck for 5-10 minutes before shaving. Shave down, don't crane your neck.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:49 PM on August 4, 2009

Don't shave against the direction of the hair growth, as a general rule.
posted by fire&wings at 6:52 PM on August 4, 2009

Very hot water to clean the razor between strokes. If using a multiblade razor, start with it tipped to use the higher blade (leaving short stubble for a second pass with the razor angled for the other blade(s) in the opposite direction.
posted by acro at 7:09 PM on August 4, 2009

You need hot hot water on your face to make your skin more pliable and to open up your pores.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:11 PM on August 4, 2009

Best answer: Well, in the long run, I would suggest taking up traditional wetshaving (shaving with a mug, brush and Double-Edged razor), but here are some tips for now:

Step by step:

-Take a hot shower
-Wash your face with soap
-put some conditioner on your stubble and leave it for the remainder of your shower
-soak your face/beard for a few minutes in the shower
-fill your sink up with HOT water (as hot as you can get it) and soak a small towel in the water
-Put a thin layer of shave cream on your face
-wring out the towel and place it on your face, taking care to cover your neck and beard area (I drape it in a circle around my whole face)
-Keep the towel on your face until it gets cool
-cover your face with shaving cream and shave WITH THE GRAIN even on your neck
-rinse and cover your face again with shaving cream and shave ACROSS THE GRAIN except on your neck, shave WITH THE GRAIN on your neck
-Rinse with cool water and rub an ice cube across your face to close your pores
-Finish with an alcohol-free aftershave balm (Nivea for Men or Neutragena are both excellent)

On another morning, you can attempt a final against the grain shave, but for now, two should be good.

My solution to the same problem was, as I said, to take up wet shaving. My shaves feel great and I have ZERO irritation on my neck.

Also, check out Mantic59's channel on YouTube

Good Luck!
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 7:15 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding the hot shower with conditioner on your beard and using HOT water. Take an NSAID (ibuprofin, whatever) right afterwards.

If you're worried about bumps, smear yourself with salicylic acid-based (the clear gel stuff) pimple/acne treatment after you shave. You can wash it off after an hour or so. You won't be as smooth, but it'll make it a bit easier for your (fast growing?) stubble to exit the skin rather than ingrow and inflame.

Do you have any facial exfoliant around? Exfoliating before can help, too, to remove a little dead skin which the growing stubble might run into and get stuck.
posted by porpoise at 7:42 PM on August 4, 2009

I used to get a bumpy red throat and burn marks and then I stopped using shaving cream. I use: nothing. Just the razor. This has been true for a few years. It feels much better and I don't get the raw marks anymore.

Shaving cream, IMHO, is a scam.

Granted, the first couple of days are hard; it feels about as bad as you'd expect. But that drops off very quickly and the whole thing becomes easier. Within a week or so your skin is accustomed to the razor. By now I can shave right at the sink, without getting into the shower (although I prefer the shower).
posted by argybarg at 7:44 PM on August 4, 2009

My household gentleman has recently had success with using something called "Cremo Cream", a shaving lotion rather than a conventional squirty shaving cream foam. It's a little more expensive, I think maybe $7 or something, but he says it's much much better than the other stuff for avoiding cuts and raised bumps. here's one review
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:45 PM on August 4, 2009

1- Soften the beard with a nice hot rinse off.
2- Apply a shaving cream. Or a very slippery soap.
3- Shave with a new razor. Or nearly new- sometimes the first shave or two out of the box is a little harsh.
4- Rinse the razor with COLD water. Yes, it can be bracing. But the blade will last longer and cut cleaner.
5- If you are susceptible to bumps or post-shaving redness/rashes, apply an aftershave that has some kind of antiseptic in it. Even witch hazel. Just something to kill any residual germs on the skin. (That's where some of that comes from.) And then let it dry without wiping it off.

I'm not sure I'd recommend a salicylic after a shave- I for sure wouldn't recommend it on "game day" without trying it first. It seems like not quite the right thing for raw, freshly shaved skin. YMMV, of course.
posted by gjc at 8:01 PM on August 4, 2009

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do NOT listen to ArgyBarg! While I agree that canned shaving cream isn't as good as a traditional soap or cream, the lather creates a slick cushion on which your razor slides. It also holds water on your face and keeps your beard hydrated. Hydration is the key to a great shave!
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 8:31 PM on August 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

I obvsly don't shave my face, but post-shave bumps plague both men and women equally. I combat this by exfoliating beforehand with some sort of scrubby face/body scrub of gentle scrubbyness. In your case, Clinique makes a men's face scrub which will probably do the trick. Also, their post-shave healer is extremely awesome and non-drying.
posted by elizardbits at 8:36 PM on August 4, 2009

Since you have a special event coming up tomorrow you might consider outsourcing your problem and getting a straight razor shave by a barber.
The Art Of Manliness keeps a user contributed map of various barbers around the world.,-89.648437&spn=57.727844,87.890625&z=3&source=embed
Also heres their article on Barbershops
posted by Redmond Cooper at 8:50 PM on August 4, 2009

Use shave oil. I discovered it a few years ago, and can't believe it's not more widely known.
posted by kevinht at 9:56 PM on August 4, 2009

I also get neck irritation. What makes the difference for me boils down to two things:

1. Making sure my face is still dripping wet when I apply shaving cream.

2. Direction: shave at a 90 degree angle to the grain. This isn't *quite* as close as against the grain, but leaves no irritation and is plenty close.

Haven't tried any fancier stuff, but it sounds really luxurious and nice.
posted by dualityofmind at 10:09 PM on August 4, 2009

Shave in the shower, touch up immediately after getting out of the shower.
posted by orthogonality at 1:21 AM on August 5, 2009

My SO has lots of problems with irritated skin, red bumps, and ingrown hairs post-shaving, and regularly using a gentle chemical exfoliant has made a huge difference. He uses Paula's Choice 2% BHA lotion before and after shaving (although personally I think he'd have even better results if he used it daily, even though he only shaves once a week or so). He also uses her Skin Relief Treatment if he breaks out in red bumps (it's made with aspirin, like TendSkin). More information about Paula's Choice.
posted by transporter accident amy at 1:37 AM on August 5, 2009

Just out if interest, where's the grain on the neck? Does this mean shaving upwards? Some of my neck hair is in a bit of a whorl. ...
posted by Cantdosleepy at 1:41 AM on August 5, 2009

The best advice I ever got from my father about shaving irritable areas was to do it slowly.

I get a close shave without any problems on my neck now, and I shave pretty willy nilly.
posted by lucidium at 2:06 AM on August 5, 2009

Forgot: you can get a nice shaving cream from Bath and Body Works (I think- it's one of those kinds of stores) over on the Men's Shelf. C.O. Bigelow is the brand I believe. Not terribly expensive.
posted by gjc at 5:38 AM on August 5, 2009


I know this dialogue is basically over, but:

I've shaved without shaving cream for years, every day. I get a good, close shave; I rarely get marks from it; it doesn't hurt.

What will shaving cream (or lotion or whatever) give me that I'm missing?
posted by argybarg at 10:46 AM on August 5, 2009

Cremo Cream is very good indeed. If you can't find it, the Lush shaving creams are pretty good too.
posted by arcticseal at 11:43 AM on August 5, 2009

What's the texture of your hair, argy?
posted by canine epigram at 1:06 PM on August 5, 2009

I can grow a full beard fairly quickly. I get a five-o'clock shadow and sometimes shave a second time before going out in the evening. That said, I don't have thick or kinky hair — probably about average for a Caucasian.
posted by argybarg at 1:20 PM on August 5, 2009

Best answer: I used to get a lot of bright-red irritation on my neck after shaving. Not any more thanks to...

1) Rinsing my Mach 3 in COLD water after each stroke. I used very hot water for a long time. Bad stupid stupid stupid idea. Why did it never occur to me to try cold? I love the internet.

2) King of Shaves oil. Here's an amazon UK link, but I buy mine at the supermarket. I don't know if that brand is big in the US but it's easily available here. Use liberally before applying shaving cream/gel. The link that I used says the oil is 'mentholated' - I'm not sure if the stuff I use is, but it's in the same product range and bottle-shape.

Bonus tips - get your face hot and wet before shaving. I like to shave after showering. I used to shave in the shower but I have better control using a mirror. Don't press the razor down hard. Shave your face downwards only and your neck both up and down making the first pass with the grain rather than against. Close your pores after shaving using a lot of very cold water. Moisturise liberally. Don't use aftershave.
posted by SebastianKnight at 12:41 PM on August 6, 2009

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