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- Business Insider spoke to the Gilette’s Head of Scientific Communications Dr Kristina Vanoosthuyze.
- She told us the five key things guys can do to avoid the dreaded razor burn.
- Her advice included treating your neck differently to your face and never tapping your razor on the sink once you’re finished.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
When it comes to shaving, no two men are the same.
Gillette’s Head of Scientific Communications Dr Kristina Vanoosthuyze says that the average man takes between 200-300 strokes to finish their shave. However, for some men, as little as 30 strokes is enough to towel off and head out, while for others, it can take a marathon 700 strokes to raze every last follicle.
Likewise, some men apply a featherweight touch to their face when shaving, while others press down hard.
This means razor companies like Gillette have to make blades that work for the guy who takes 700 light strokes and the guy who’s done in 30 hard swipes at the same time.
Business Insider spoke to Dr Vanoosthuyze ahead of the launch of the new Heated Razor from GilletteLabs, the company’s latest razor which features a stainless steel warming bar that heats to either 43 or 50 degrees Celsius to give the feeling of a hot towel shave.
Here are her top 5 pieces of advice for a frictionless shave:
1. Use a cleanser before you shave
"Before the shave, spend time preparing the face by washing it with a gentle cleanser," Vanoosthuyze said.
"The water will soften beard hairs and make them easier to cut. Moreover, rubbing the skin with a gentle cleanser will help lift and release so-called trapped or ingrown hairs for a more comfortable shave."
Using a cleanser will also knock any dirt and dead skin out of the way, giving your razor a smoother glide.
Be careful not to use really hot water, though, as Mayo Clinic warns that this may strip essential oils from your face, leading to a rougher shave and proneness to acne.
2. Treat your neck differently to your face
Guys who experience razor burn may get it worse on their necks than anywhere else.
According to Vanoosthuyze, that’s because the skin on your neck has a very different layout to that of your face.
"Compared to the cheek, the neck skin has a different surface with ‘raised’ skin areas that are at a higher risk of being damaged by the blades," she said.
"Moreover, hair typically grows out of the skin at a lower angle and many men have so-called ‘trapped’ hairs in the neck area."
This (vaguely disgusting) diagram below shows the difference:
In order to avoid getting a shaving rash on your neck, Vanoosthuyze advises applying your shave prep in a circular motion around to help release those trapped hairs.
3. Don’t skimp on the shave gel
Whether you’re a gel guy or a foam guy, it’s a case of "the more the merrier" when it comes to lubricating your face.
"Apply plenty of shave foam or gel. This provides a protective layer and improves razor glide for a smoother, more comfortable shave," Vanoosthuyze said.
Shave gel also keeps your skin and your hairs hydrated, keeping them easier to cut for longer and soothing your face.
Lastly, it just makes it easier to see where you’ve already shaved. If you don’t use enough gel or foam, you may forget where you’ve been and end up going over the same area multiple times, increasing your likelihood of getting razor burns.
4. Don’t press too hard — let the razor do the work
Josep Suria / Shutterstock
"Shave using light strokes," Vanoosthuyze said. "Do not press too hard on your razor."
Countless scientists have developed your blades to within nanometers of precision so that they do all the work for you — there’s no need to use a lot of force.
That being said, modern razors have been designed to deal with men who like to apply a bit of pressure on their shave.
"In Gillette’s razors, the blades rest on miniature springs which are able to move up and down and automatically adjust to the pressure of the hand," Vanoosthuyze said.
This means the pressure will be distributed away from the blades, even if you’re pressing hard.
5. Never tap your blade on the sink, or wipe it on a towel
One of the most common things guys do after they’ve finished their shave is tap their razor on the sink and/or wipe it on a towel in order to get rid of any loose hairs. But this is a big mistake, according to Vanoosthuyze.
"This can damage the precisely engineered razor parts and blunt the ultra-fine blades," she said.
If you don’t replace your blades often enough, this will lead to an increased risk of getting nicks and irritation increases.
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