We all remember our very first shave. That exhilarating feeling of finally becoming a man after spotting three stray hairs on your upper lip, and the rite of passage; painfully nicking yourself and having to walk around with a band-aid on your face for the next week.
Everyone advises you on the best razor to buy, how to stealthily cover up cuts, and which aftershave will prevent you from having a ‘Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone‘ moment. However, it seems that the one thing you have to agonisingly find out about on your own is ingrown hairs. Those provoking little pimples of anguish that cause your once porcelain-like prepubescent skin to become red, inflamed and bumpy. Ingrown hairs are essentially coarser hairs that have been trapped under the skin, causing it to coil and grow sideways and not upwards and out. Having naturally curly hair will make you even more susceptible to clogged follicles.
Sadly, you can’t outgrow ingrown hairs; it’s pretty much a reoccurring condition that’s a side effect of shaving, waxing and using depilatory creams. Fortunately for you, our honorary gentlemen’s code obliges us to share our tried-and-tested tips on how you can get rid of (and avoid) those irksome ingrown hairs.
REPLACE YOUR RAZOR
You know that rust-inflicted R20 disposable razor that’s been in your bathroom cabinet for four months? Throw it out. Immediately!
Look for a high-quality multi-blade cartridge razor or a safety razor (if you prefer things old school).
Keep your look sharp by replacing the cartridge every 25-30 shaves. Worn-down blades lead to a duller shave and razor bumps which present the ideal conditions for ingrown hairs to form.
USE A WARM TOWEL PRE-SHAVE
Heat up a towel and wrap it around your face at least ten minutes prior to shaving. Besides being cosy on winter mornings, this helps soften up your skin, making clogged hairs easier to emancipate. Shaving directly after you shower will have the same effect.
Exfoliating beads cleanse away grime, sweat and oil that keep ingrown hairs trapped. Gently rub a R2-coin-sized amount of face scrub in circular motions around your face prior to shaving, as well as a few days after. This will prevent newly-sprouting hairs from becoming snared underneath the skin. This relaxing, mini-massage will also expel dead skin cells that clog up your hair follicles.
LATHER ON THE SHAVING CREAM
A thick, creamy layer of high-quality shaving cream softens your hair, moisturises the skin and allows your razor to glide easily across your face with minimal friction.
We recommend The London Grooming Company shave cream which is ideal for sensitive-skinned blokes.
SLAP ON SOME AFTERSHAVE
Your post-shave routine is equally important to maintain smooth, bump-free skin. Slather on a moisturising post-shave product like The London Grooming Company aftershave balm which is known for its soothing and hydrating properties. It heals the skin, lulls irritation and prevents bacterial infections.
LET IT GROW
Constantly shaving over irritated skin that’s plagued by ingrown hairs causes more inflammation and can lead to skin infections. Consider taking a short (or permanent) break from shaving and grow out a beard. Not only are they trendy, but a well-coiffed beard adds to your unique charm, look and character. It will also save you from razor burn and free up your bathroom time for more important things like browsing the latest issue of Swimsuit Illustrated and reading blog posts on men’s grooming tips