There’s no more traditional and widely practiced form of hair removal than shaving. For most people shaving is the first form of hair removal that they ever undergo and for many people it remains the only method that they ever utilize. While there are plenty of other hair removal methods out there, and while some of them are arguably superior to shaving, it’s highly unlikely that any of them will ever overtake this classic.
Shaving works in a very, very simple process. All you do is take a razor, apply some shaving cream and then glide it over the body part that you want to make hairless. Shaving works by cutting down the sharp tip at the end of the hair and making the top of the shaft of the hair even with your skin. Unlike waxing, tweezing, sugaring or other similar methods that pull the hair out by its root, shaving only removes hair at the surface level. This means that hair grows back a lot faster when shaving it than when removing it through other methods. Consequently, shaving offers the potential for producing ingrown hairs, but it also means that (as long as you don’t cut yourself) shaving is a completely painless process, even for people with sensitive skin.
How well you’re able to shave depends a lot on the blade that you choose to shave with. In general the sharper the blade the more effective it’s going to be at cutting your hairs, but also the more dangerous it is to handle. Traditional blades follow the model of the straight razor- a sharp cutting edge without a guard on any side the folds out from a solid handle. After the straight razor came the double-edged safety razor which provided a very sharp and disposable blade that was guarded on either side by a metal top piece that prevented deep cuts when shaving. More recent razors utilize multi-blade technology, they feature multiple guards and can contain flexible and contoured heads.
Perhaps the biggest shaving question to answer after deciding what type of blade to use is whether you are going to shave with or against the grain. To make the matter simple- shaving with the grain is safer and less likely to cause skin irritation but also often leaves a little bit of stubble, while shaving against the grain produces a closer shave that’s more likely to result in bumps, cuts and ingrown hairs.
No matter which direction you choose to shave in it’s important that you always shave when your skin is properly warmed up and wet to make your skin soft and to offer a layer of liquid protection between the blade and your skin. Using some sort of shaving cream or soap is also a great idea, and applying a moisturizing treatment will help protect your now-sensitive skin.
As a final note while there are many electric razors out there these days they function very different from blade-based shaving and don’t produce nearly the same level of closeness, though they are generally more convenient to use for a quick buzz.