"I feel super sexy after a fresh shave, but when it goes wrong, it goes really wrong". Shaving isn't a chore on its own, there has to be possible side effects to it too. We're answering those pesky shaving questions that roll through your mind when singing in the shower or chilling in the bath, and some of the answers may not be what you were expecting...
Myth 1: My Razor Is Always Clean
Razors are usually made of steel, since it’s strong enough to keep its sharp edge through multiple shaves. However, metal is also highly susceptible to rust when left wet. This causes the blade to become dull and uneven, resulting in nicks, cuts and a more painful shave overall. Stop leaving your wet razor lying in a puddle on the sink. Although, If you think simply shaking it off will take care of this, I’m afraid you’re wrong.
Sure, it’ll help, but leaving your razor lying around damp is a bad idea, exposing it to even more potential moisture (which your bathroom provides plenty of, such as the steam after you’ve taken a hot shower). And if the razor happens to be within six feet of a toilet and you’re not closing the lid when you flush, then there’s a chance you may get some droplets from the toilet onto the razor, GROSS!
When you shave, you’re taking off your hair, but you’re also scraping off skin cells, oils and other things bacteria love to eat — add moisture to that and you have the perfect breeding ground for bacteria from your sink, shower, toilet and even your bathroom counter (unless they’re clean as clean can get). Then, when you next shave, you’re reapplying literally millions of those bacteria to your body with a blade — and potentially an unnecessarily dull blade, already prone to creating those aforementioned nicks and cuts. These wounds, no matter how small, are the perfect repositories for the bacteria to seep inside and cause infections and folliculitis, the latter being the science-y name for razor burn.
Naturally, there is a solution, and it’s called keeping your razor clean and dry. Simple! In an ideal world, you’d put it away safely in the bathroom cabinet, but if, like most people, that cabinet is already stuffed full of a million other things, you have another option, cleaning your razor thoroughly after shaving, possibly with an alcohol spray to kill off whatever [bacteria] is remaining.
Myth 2: My Blade Lasts For Months
When do you know it's time to replace your disposable razor? When the blade is too dull to do battle with your knee hair? When you accidentally get a good look at all the gunk in there? Yes and yes — and generally, every three to seven uses is a good rule of thumb, according to experts.
That said, it really depends on a few factors. If you're using a single-blade razor or shaving a large area, change it more often. Pay attention to the shave and the blade, if you find that the razor isn't gliding over the area and seems dull, obviously you should change it sooner.
We get it — blades aren't cheap and your ankle hair seems to get darker and more powerful every time it grows back, so it's tempting to try to extend the life of your razor as much as possible. But holding out too long isn't good for your shave...or your health.
Myth 3: Shaving Makes Your Tan Fade Quicker
Partly true – if you wear fake tan, shaving will make it fade more quickly because you’re effectively getting rid of the top layer of skin. But if your tan is ‘natural’, as a result of sun exposure shaving won’t affect it or make it fade any quicker than usual.
Myth 4: Shaving Causes Hair To Grow Back Thicker, Faster & Darker
Genetics and hormones impact body hair colour, thickness and growth, not shaving. A razor blade cuts away hairs at the skin’s surface, which can make the cut hairs appear thicker and darker as they grow back. And, how quickly hair grows can vary, too. Armpit hair, for example, grows about 50 percent faster than leg hair!
Myth 5: You Should Shave The Day Of An Event
Allowing your skin time to recover after shaving minimises the chances of irritation, especially for sensitive areas like underarms, therefore it's advisable to shave the day before. However, you can shave the day of an event by following the appropriate shaving steps, like using shaving gel and a fresh clean razor etc.
Myth 6: Shaving With Hot Water Gives A Longer Lasting Result
This is semi-true – hair is, surprisingly, as strong as copper wire but it can be softened when it’s hydrated. It absorbs water and swells, making it flexible and more easy to cut. So, for the most effective shave, let the warm water from your bath or shower hydrate hair for a couple of minutes. You should also be able to shave in fewer strokes, meaning razor blades will stay sharper for longer. Bonus.
Myth 7: Shower Gel Is A Good Substitute For Shaving Gel Or Foam
The internet has convinced us to use shower gel in place of shaving foam, but don’t do it. It dries out your skin. Shaving gel has lubricating ingredients that help razors glide over skin and moisturising agents that improve its quality and the moisture barrier function. They’re literally designed for the job. Shampoo and shower gel, however, are designed to clean, meaning they remove dirt, oil and grease. If you don’t have a shave gel or foam to hand, use conditioner as a one off – but don’t make it a habit!
Myth 8: You Don't Get Ingrown Hairs From Shaving
Ingrown hair occurs when a hair that's been removed starts to grow back and curves into the skin. This usually happens after shaving, tweezing or waxing. Hair structure and direction of growth play a role in ingrown hairs. A curved hair follicle, which produces tightly curled hair, is believed to encourage the hair to re-enter the skin once the hair is cut and starts to grow back. Shaving creates a sharp edge on hair, making it easier to pierce the skin.
Ingrown hair might also be caused by pulling your skin when you shave, as this action causes hair to draw back into the skin. To avoid ingrown hairs, try shaving in the direction of the hair, rinse the blade after every stroke, apply shaving cream, don't pull on the skin, use soothing gel when finished.
Myth 9: New Blades Will Cut Me More
A lot of people find that using a fresh razor leaves with them nicks and cuts, and so blame the blade. The truth, however, is that you’re probably just used to applying way too much pressure because this is what you used to do with your dull blade. In fact, it’s the dull blade that is much more likely to cause cuts and skin irritation due to ‘dragging’ across your skin and the friction it’s creating. If you go carefully, a fresh blade should glide over the skin, so remember to change those blades!
Myth 10: You Should Never Shave Your Arms
First of all, it’s important to stress that having hair on your arms is completely normal. Also, whether you choose to remove it or leave it is completely up to you, just like with hair everywhere else on your body. However, we know that many women would like to remove their arm hair but don’t, usually out of fear of it growing back thicker. This isn’t the case at all.
Unshaven hair has a finer, blunter tip. When you experience hair regrowth, you’ll see the coarser base and not the softer, thinner part that will eventually grow back (if you let it get that far). So if your arm hair is particularly dark or you just prefer the feeling of silky-smooth skin, go ahead!
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