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IRCA Articles > Self Help/Medical

Teaching a Young Man to Shave

Contributed by Pam Anderson & Melissa Dubie

Attention adolescents and men, do you have facial hair you want to get rid of or would you prefer to grow facial hair into a mustache and beard? This decision is an individual choice and up to you by what feels the most comfortable. This article includes a comparison chart of four different types of razors, steps to shaving, website resources, and tips to rid self of facial hair.

Getting Started

Go to the Bic razors (http://www.bicworld.com/inter_en/shavers/shaving_tips/index.asp) website which provides shaving tips for men. Think about how you learn best. If you learn best with the use of a model watch your dad, older brother, or a male family member before trying to shave yourself. If you learn best through videos, go to the Gillette (http://www.gillette.com/en-US/#/home/howtoshave/en-US/index.shtml/) razors website to view video clips showing steps on how to shave, knowing when the blade is dull, and describing varying types of shaves. If you learn best with steps using a check system, go to this ehow website to learn how to shave your face with a disposable razor http://www.ehow.com/how_2116_shave-face.html or an electric razor http://www.ehow.com/how_2139291_shave-electric-razor.html or you can use the lists within this article.

Use the method that works best for you to learn this new lesson in life. When first starting to shave, both methods can be awkward or uncomfortable. Try a variety of methods, foams, and gels to find a style that works best for you. With practice, the process will become easier and more natural. Remember, as you are learning how to shave you will make mistakes, this is part of the learning process. You may cut yourself shaving. If this occurs, stop shaving to take care of the bleeding with a tissue before continuing to shave. The first time you shave, you may miss some hairy spots. This is okay too; next time you shave you will try to reach those spots. Each time you shave, try your best.

Important tips for shaving with a razor:

  • Change the blade or switch to a new razor about once a week to avoid using a dull razor. A dull razor can cut you easily or cause a rash.
  • Bathe or shower in warm to hot water before you shave. This helps to open pores and soften hair follicles, making hair removal easier.
  • Feel your face for the hair to stick up to know when it is time to shave again. Men usually shave their faces every one to three days depending on how fast the hair on their face grows.
  • Some guys believe that if they just grow a beard they won't have to shave. It will still be important to shave around the edges to get a clean cut beard which looks neater.

Consider which type of razor you would like to use to shave. Will it be an electric shaver which comes with a rotary blade or foil? Some rotary blades have two or three rotating disks while foil shavers usually only have one shaving area on the end. Electric shavers are considered more convenient and frequently are used because of the safety of the device. If you have concerns with holding the razor, this may be the better choice. Another option is to use disposable razors or a razor with a replaceable cartridge. Consideration will need to be given to each type, from cost of the shaver, to the noise of the shaver when it is turned on, to how it feels on your face and how closely the shave can be without irritating your skin. There are four different types of shavers. Look at this chart to compare them. Think about your own facial hair and level of sensitivity of your skin to see what type of razor might work best for you.

Using Either Foil or Rotary Razors

Things You Will Need:

  • Electric shaver
  • Spare blades and screen
  • Pre-shave lotion (optional)
Foil Electric
Razors
Rotary Electric
Razors
Razors with
Disposable
Cartridges
Throw away
Razors
Vibration Yes Yes No No
Possibility to Cut Self No No Less Likely More likely until
perfect your skills
Type of Shave Cuts long hairs

Easy to maneuver around difficult areas like the chin and neck. However, often doesn’t shave as close as foils
Offers a closer shave than foil but have trouble cutting longer hairs Closer shave compared to electric models Closer shave
compared to electric models
Irritation Less irritating than rotary models Depends on own skin Depends on multiple facets (e.g., gels, foams, razor) Depends on multiple facets (e.g., gels, foams, razor)
Durability Surface is more
delicate so easy to break
Surface is sturdy so harder to break Not applicable Not applicable
Cleaning Ease Easy to clean Requires more effort to keep clean Change blade after 5-15 days depending on beard. Rinse after use Throw away after
5-15 days depending on beard. Rinse after use
Cost $35-$250 $40-$250 Approximately $25 plus cost of replaceable blades $3 and above
depending on amount of razors in package

Electric shavers do make a buzzing noise and vibrate when turned on? Allow yourself time to become use to the feel of the razor. In order to get use to your electric razor, try these steps:

  • Hold razor in both of your hands and turn it on and off once then several times.
  • Try to put the razor on your arm to get used to how it will feel on your skin. You may shave off some of your hair but it is okay.
  • Gradually move the razor to your upper arm, then shoulder, and then try moving the shaver in a circular motion on your own neck and chin until you can tolerate the vibration on your cheek.
  • When you are comfortable and can tolerate the vibration of the electric razor, move the razor up to your chin and on the side of your face on your cheeks.
  • Your facial hair grows close to your ears and to your side burns. Ask one of your caregivers where your side burns end so you will know for sure.
  • The last step is under your nose. It can be easier if you puff your cheeks similar to the way you would hold your breath in order to make your skin smooth for the shaver.
  • When you think you are finished, rub your face with your hand. If your face feels smooth all over and not rough like sandpaper then you have finished.
    As you go through each step, feel your face with your free hand to see if it is smooth. This means you have shaven your face. If you feel stubbles (short brittle hairs), you need to shave that area again.

Using Either a Razor with a Disposable Cartridge or a Disposable Razor

Things You Will Need:

  • Towel
  • Portable Mirror
  • Men's Razor
  • Shaving Cream
  • Post Shave Moisturizers or After Shave

When considering using a disposable or refill cartridge razor, using a shaving cream, lotion, or gel is essential. Be aware of your sensory needs in regards to how it smells and feels. Ask your family member/parent what kind they use. Try using your parent's cream, lotion, or gel. Try their first by putting a little on your hand to see if you like the scent or how it feels on your skin. If this feels comfortable put some on your face. You may need to try several before you find one that you like.

Do not automatically rule out a disposable razor or a razor with a cartridge when considering your method of shaving. The technology in the multiple blade style of razor makes the small cuts on your face less frequent than when your dad first started shaving with a single edged razor. The new razors have a “comfort strip” on the top of the razor to help you balance it on your face at the proper angle. There is less pressure required to create a smooth shave and no buzzing noises with this type of razor. When using a disposable razor, it is essential to put shaving cream, lotion, or gel on the areas of your face that you will be shaving. Here are some steps to follow for razor shaving:

  • Use a mirror that you don't have to hold to keep your hands free to shave.
  • Place the razor next to your left ear at the start of your side burns. If you are not sure where this is, ask your dad or another male you trust. With the handle facing down, shave in a downward stroke to your chin bone.
  • Pick up the razor before making another stroke.
  • Place the razor at about the same height as the first stroke but move it to the right about an inch. Use the same downward stroke to your chin bone. Repeat this step three or four times until you reach your nose and lip. Then rinse the razor blade with water.
  • Rinse the blade after three or four strokes throughout shaving.
  • Repeat this pattern on the right side of your face too. Carefully moving the razor to the left of your side burns towards your nose and lip.
  • Shave your chin using downward motions about four times.
  • To shave under your chin, tilt your head back so your chin is pointing upward but you can still see in the mirror. With the opposite hand you are holding the razor with, use your fingers to pull the skin taut at the neck.
  • Using the razor with the handle facing up to the chin, place the razor on the chin and shave using an upward stroke.
  • Continue this upward stroke across your entire neck. Be careful by going slowly especially around your Adam’s apple.
  • Shave your upper lip last by curling your top lip over your teeth to stretch your skin. Make approximately three downward strokes on your upper lip.
  • Wash face of all remaining foam or gel.
  • After drying face, you can choose to use an after shave lotion or cologne.
  • Rinse razor.

Dubie, M. & Anderson, P. (2009). Remove unwanted hair for men. The Reporter 14(2), 7-9.

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