Myths in the Wet Shaving Community
I’ve found that there is important knowledge that is not understood by the wet shaving community.
Some men have a worse time shaving than others, thinking they have sensitive skin. I think sensitive skin is the symptom rather than the problem. Two types of men that I have identified are men with curly hair, such as those with an afro. Also, some men have coarse hair, which stacks the deck against them.
Let’s start with the neck, the most common trouble spot. First, skin on the neck is rougher - think the plains of the mid west vs the mountains of Colorado. The rough skin is much easier to damage.
Hair on the neck sprouts out of the skin at a lower angle than facial hair, which causes two problems. First is trapped hair. Trapped hair isn’t ingrown, but has a low enough angle that skin is growing over it. Next is hair that lays flat on your neck such that the razor blade passes right over it.
This is complicated by a couple of things that apply to our faces as well. First, our faces are covered in staph bacteria. Next, the shaving process exfoliates about the same amount of skin as whiskers. You do not want the staph and skin getting shoved into your hair follicles. One of the big causes of razor irritation is actually staph getting into the first level of the hair follicle and getting infected. Fortunately for all of us, staph on the face doesn’t get ugly unless it makes it to the second level of the hair follicle.
So, have laid out this this info, what can we do to have a better experience?
First, wash your face with soap and a wash cloth or other abrasive product. We want to exfoliate the skin, wash away the exfoliated skin and staph and free the trapped hairs BEFORE a shaving brush gets involved.
My next comments are opinion. I’ve heard many reasons that face lathering is best. Now, remember those whiskers that like to lay flat? What makes sense to me is that the biggest benefit of doing at least partial face lathering is to dislodge the flat lying hair, get some soap under it and get to to stand up.