Local barbershop offers tips for a great shave

Editor’s note: The following was submitted by Nichols Barbershop, 2615 20th St., Rockford, across from ALDI. Walk-ins or appointments are welcome. For information, call (815) 986-0870.

Contributed by Nichols Barbershop

1. Start by softening the beard and opening the pores. Shaving after a hot shower achieves this; otherwise, use a wet, hot towel on your face. Try to keep it up to your face and neck for at least 30 seconds.

2. To protect the skin and help the razor glide more easily, use a pre-shave oil. Try to avoid a product with mineral oil/petrolatum or alcohol of any kind. Rub a small amount on wet beard, ending in an upward motion to lift the beard. This is an especially important step if you have sensitive skin or are prone to ingrown hairs or razor burn.

3. Next is lathering up. It is best to use a shave cream or shaving soap. Shaving foams and gels tend to contain ingredients that are drying to the skin. A good tool for lathering up is a shaving brush. There are several good reasons for this, but it is the best way to get a warm, rich lather and soften and lift the beard. As far as brushes, badger brushes are the best to use … they hold water better and are softer. They also last longer if properly taken care of.

4. Shave with the grain of your beard. You may want to take a look at your beard before you start so you notice which way it grows in different areas. For instance, many times on the lower neck, it grows upward. Going with the grain for the first time over your face helps avoid ingrown hairs and razor burn.

5. For a closer shave, re-lather up and shave against or across the grain.

6. Rinse with cold water, to close the pores and refresh the skin.

7. Finish up with an aftershave balm or aftershave gel. Just pat on, don’t rub vigorously. A balm is good for sensitive or dry skin, and when there is less humidity, like the winter. A gel is good for normal to oily skin and in humid climates. Aftershaves in liquid form are generally high in alcohol content and cause the skin to become dry and possibly irritated. It might smell and feel good, but you’re better off using a balm or gel on a daily basis. The cold water rinse will give you that invigorating feeling that an aftershave splash would, but without the negative effects.

8. That’s it … have a great day because you look great!

Some ingredients to stay away from, if possible, include the following:

• Non-vegetable or synthetic oils (mineral oil or petroleum by-products)

Synthetic fragrances and dyes

Acids (Alpha hydroxy, salicylic)

Alcohol (or very little) in any form. Generally, anything ending in “ol” is an alcohol product.

From the Dec. 28, 2011-Jan. 3, 2012, issue

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