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Hair Removal Techniques

Temporary Hair Removal - Shaving

OK, OK, OK! I know it might sound madness to be telling anyone who has lived as a man how to shave, but you would be suprised! If you are considering a more elaborate style of dressing, there can be more to pay attention to than just the obvious.

Some people believe that hair grows thicker and darker if it's shaved. Scientifically there isn't any evidence to support that, although hair will feel different after it's been shaved. It's much like a beard - after shaving first the area is smooth, then it becomes prickly and finally it goes back to being soft if you let the hair grow long enough. So I wouldn't be discouraged from shaving on the grounds that it may grow back worse. If it genuinely does seem thicker or harsher, age and diet are the two most likely causes.

There is also a lot of people who've been trained to only shave in the direction of the hair growth - basically in a downward direction. This actually isn't always true; for some of us with very tough hair and sensitive skin it may be appropriate, but to set the record straight here's the Beauty Consultant's guide to the perfect shave - the shave that's free of redness and iritation:

It's your face and it's your choice, but being that you only have one face to last you a lifetime, I wouldn't use a disposable razor any more than I'd let a sharpened seashell shave me! The first thing that you need if you want to be bump and burn free is the right set up. It is definately better to shave after a hot shower since the water on your face or body combines with the gel to create a layer through which the blade will guide. The hotter the water you use the better as it'll open the skin's pores and relax the muscles making you less prone to nicking. Getting the blade to glide is essential as dry shaving with just a foam or gel will cause the blade to tug at hairs causing irritation. It's much more comfortable and that means you can shave closer.

The second part of having a comfortable shave is using a good product to act as a barrier protecting your skin. Never ever use soap as this will remove any oils on the skin making the contact full of friction. It's the surest way to turn what can be a fine art of grooming into a daily slice'n'dice!

I have to say I hate the smell of many men's shaving foams as it can linger which makes them inappropriate for a girl's night out. My personal favourite shaving lotion is Dermalogica's Professional Shave. It seems really expensive when you first look at it - you get a tiny little container that looks like an Aromatherapy Oil for somewhere between £15 and £20. However this is no ordinary product!

Dermalogica Professional Shave

Dermalogica Professional Shave is an ultra-smooth shaving remedy that forms a cushion between skin and razor for a close, non-irritating shave. Through essential oils, organic silicones and antiseptic camphor it soothes and protects the skin. Literally your razor starts to glide on this surface that's as slippery as black ice. I find it so smooth I have no difficulty shaving against the grain for a shave so close I know there's nothing left there that can be felt. It's also fragrance free and the tiny bottle lasts a surprisingly long time since it only takes five to ten drops to cover the beard area. Grant Pierce, the Editor of GQ, said of all the skincare products he's looked at Dermalogica Professional Shave was his favourite which really does underline just how good a product it is for those who want to look great by shaving not scraping.

Dermalogica products are only available through Salons as the majority of their skin care products require professional reccommendation. I normally get mine from Skingenesis - if you contact them asking to speak to Emma or Magdalen and say you were refered by this site, they'll sort you out.

Naturally if you are shaving all over you may need to reserve the Dermalogica Professional Shave for you face and use a conventional foam gel for the larger areas. One that's good is Gillette for Women Satin Care Shave Gel; it is fragranced but delicately in sweet scents and at about £3 a canister is great value for money. The average outgoing TGirl is going to need to shave all over at least once a week so we go through these cans faster than a junkie does his dole cheque. Therefore the fact that this is cheap and can be spread relatively thin is important as that means more cash left for the important things like shopping and partying! Better though would be a glycerine based shaving foam; many traditional English types are excellent and smell of fresh flowers even though they are male-orientated products. Use one and you'll notice the difference - try a search on Google for Geo F. Trumper, one of the top examples of this:

Google

Incidentally when I say shave all over, there is something you must never shave... Never, ever, no matter who you are meeting or what you are intending to do, never shave your derriere. Why? Because you have to sit on it. The night you shave, it will be fine but within a few days, as the hair reaches the stuble phase, you'll be giving yourself ingrown hairs gallore. All four cheeks thereafter will blush as you'll look like you've got some terrible type of STD and it'll be really uncomfortable. The bottom should only have hair removed by permanent hair removal techniques.

If you do shave your face, or anywhere else for that matter, a good brush is also a worthwhile investment. Old fashioned? Not at all! A brush will mix your gel foam with the water and apply it better than you could by hand and it also helps exfoliate, clearing away any dead skin cells that would otherwise clog your razor and reduce the closeness of your shave. The best brushes are made from Badger Hair which is very water absorbent, thereby creating a rich lather quickly and these tend to be made in England. They might seem an extra cost but if you clean them and let them dry without resting on their bristles they will last for a good couple of decades. Try a search for Vulfix Brushes on Google if you want to get hold of one:

Google

To use one, hold it in hot water for a few seconds and then dab some gel on the end. Swipe it up and down your face and it'll quickly cover it in a rich foam that's essential for irritation free shaving. The lather should be opaque.

That brings me up to the final thing needed for a close shave - the razor. Despite the great packaging and advertising modern disposable shaving razors and multi blade razors are designed with the modern man in mind. In the morning, he's typically sleepy, not very good with his hands and so wants a quick and safe shave before heading to the office. What that means to you is that if you are looking for the closest possible shave for maximum effect before a night out in drag, you probably won't get it with one of these. The closest shave - barring only that from a cut throat razor - is gotten from a DE type razor. The idea with them is to use no pressure - you simply glide them across the skin, always doing your first pass with the grain. If you are the type to go for perfection and shave against the grain, then the first downward stroke will clear the worst and make it much easier on your skin on subsequent passes. One great advantage of them is they tend to reduce "shaving bumps" or ingrown hairs, especially for people with African heritage who's skin is more susceptible to this than others.

They are hard to get hold of nowdays (try eBay?) and there are modern safety razors that are similar to them such as those made by Merkur. These capture te essence of a DE razor blade but have safety features built in so if you are new to razor shaving or prone to twitching they are a good place to start. Certainly they are superior shaving razors - again, try searching Google for these.

Google

For everyday use I personally use a Gillette Mach 3 razor blade as they are quick and easy and also, I have to say, because Gillette sent me one as a gift for my 18th birthday though how they knew the date is still a mystery to me! I have been known to use their Venus women's razor blades for my body but only because they are pink! Lowest of all are disposables which simply don't have the same quality of razor as these and I would say to avoid them - a Mach 3 will only set you back about £7 which is cheap compared to a Merkur or DE razor and it will save you a lot of soreness and redness that can't always be covered with make up.

I know some people think that pressing harder will result in a closer shave but actually that's not the case - it's just something these modern razors let you get away with! Try that with a DE razor and you'll soon draw blood. Paradoxically, if you try to glide a Mach 3 or similar cartridge razor lightly as you would a DE razor it'll often just snag your hairs and pull them painfully. That's because they were designed for someone who thinks pressing harder is closer and so a certain amount of pressure is required - a habit you'll need to unlearn if you want to get a really close shave by using a DE razor.

Lastly it is important to moisturise and give the skin a moment to breathe before applying make up foundation. If you are going out dressed, and so cannot be dealing with applying fragranced men's aftershave, try buying some eucalyptus essential oil and mixing a single drop with water in your palm before applying. This will cool the skin.

If you tend to get red razor bumps a day or so after a close shave, these are caused by hairs growing back but under the skin and they are more common with the over-aggressive shave you'll get from a cheap razor. A lot of people get these under the chin. Try getting a better razor firstly and secondly using a face brush to exfoliate daily when you wash and this should reduce their frequency and duration. If you are a cartridge shave, the better brands like Gillette's Mach3 also have Aloe Vera tipped blades which cost only slightly more but are kinder to sensitive skin.

As you can see, there is a lot the people miss out on these days when it comes to even simple things like shaving, it's become a lost art. If you want to look truly fantastic when you go out, treat yourself to an education in the finer points of personal grooming and you'll find that you can have beautiful skin without the bumps and cuts and little areas of stuble.

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