Essential to any clean, smooth shave is cleaning the face with hot water and shaving soap to remove dirt and open pores, cleaning shaving equipment before and after usage with an antiseptic, isopropyl alcohol or a chlorine bleach solution and applying after shave to restore moisture and prevent infection.
For a black man, he must also know how to achieve those results using the right shaving techniques, while preventing ingrown hairs and pseudofolliculitus barbae, or razor bumps.
There are three primary shaving techniques used by black men to help them achieve the right results.
Probably the most common shaving technique among black men is wet shaving. Wet shaving involves heating the beard and head with a hot towel to open pores, then removing unwanted facial hair and applied shaving cream simultaneously using a straight or safety razor. The beard and head areas are shaved using long downward strokes in the same direction the hair grows. Afterward the face is rinsed with cold water and splashed with after shave. Wet shaving provides a smooth clean shave, minimizing pain and irritation.
Dry shaving involves shaving the beard and head area in the same direction of hair growth without water or shaving cream by using an electric razor, trimmer, edger or a straight or safety razor. Because a black man’s hair is normally coarser and curlier than the hair of other ethnic groups, it’s sometimes necessary to apply a small amount of shaving cream to the beard and head area to soften the hairs, making the shaving process manageable and reducing the risk of razor burns that are prone to dry shaving. The shaving cream is removed before the beard or head is shaved. After shaving, the face is rinsed with cold water and splashed with after shave.
Chemical shaving involves using a cream or powder chemical to remove unwanted hair. The chemical system is mixed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, applied to the beard and head areas, and then removed using a towel or straight edge. Chemical shaving systems are said to be razorless because a straight or safety razor isn’t required. This technique is appealing to black men because, for some, razors increase the likelihood of infection, ingrown hairs and razor bumps by irritating or shaving too close to the skin. Chemical shaving systems shouldn’t be applied to areas that are severely plagued with ingrown hairs or razor bumps. Instead, it’s recommended to wait for the affected areas to heal before proceeding.