Black men have coarser and tightly curled facial hair.
There’s a lot of history and weight behind it that even the simple act of grooming can have social and cultural implications.
And that’s not all. The physiology of Afro-American hair makes it quite a challenge to groom. It results in a lot of shaving problems for black men. For example, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, up to 60% of black men experience ingrown hairs after shaving.
This is because black men tend to have coarser, tightly curled facial hair that are more likely to curve and grow back into the skin, leading to painful irritation and inflammation. In a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, this is because of a gene present in black males which makes their hair 50 times more likely to become ingrown.
That’s why if you’re a bearded black male, it’s important that you have a good shaving, at par to a barber's shave, and skincare routine because there’s no full-proof way to cure your ingrown hairs. So here’s what you need to do in order to minimize the irritation that you get from shaving if you’re a man of color.
1. Shave Every Two Days
3. Apply Pre-Shave Oil
4. Keep the Lather on Your Face Longer
5. Shave Along the Grain
6. Always Use an Aftershave
7. Upgrade Your Razor
8. Get a Naked Armor Straight Razor
TIP 1. Shave Every Two Days
Unless you work in the armed forces, there is no need for you to shave on a daily basis. Shaving that frequent will only irritate your skin even more.
If you keep to a consistent two-day shaving schedule, your skin will have time to heal but the hair won’t have time to curl back into the skin. Read our guide on how often you should shave to know more about how different shaving schedules affect your post-shave results.
But if you’re experiencing razor bumps at the moment, wait until they’re gone before shaving again. Apply a warm compress to the area several times a day to help open the pores and ease the comfort.
Frequent shaving will irritate your skin.
TIP 2. Exfoliate
On the night after you’ve shaved, use a dry washcloth to gently rub your shaved skin before going to bed. This helps loosen and remove dead skin while preventing the hairs from beginning to curl back into the skin layer.
Exfoliation is also a great way to make sure that your skin tone is rejuvenated and your pores become clear. By gently massaging the epidermal layer, you keep it stimulated enough to produce keratin, which is important in hair formation and collagen, which is important for skin nutrition.
If by the second day you feel the urge to shave again due to the five o'clock shadow that’s growing on your skin, don’t give in to the urge. Because black men have darker skin tones, it won’t be that obvious so there’s no need to aggravate your skin just to get a clean shave.
TIP 3. Apply Pre-Shave Oil
Always use a pre-shave oil when you’re prepping up your bead for a shave. Because of the coarse texture of African-American hair, a hot shower isn’t enough to soften the facial hair for shaving. You need to have an oil to help tame it.
A good pre-shave oil also hydrates and protects the skin. It reduces the “tug and pull” sensation when the blade shaves off your beard because it forms a protective covering over the skin to protect it from blade friction.
It will also have some other natural essential oils like jojoba or aloe vera which can help nourish the skin further. This helps make your shaving experience even more comfortable.
TIP 4. Keep the Lather on Your Face Longer
When using a shaving lather, remember to apply it thickly and let it rest on your mug for at least 3 minutes. This will give it time to fully coat your facial hair while making sure that the whiskers stand on edge to make it easier for the blade to cut cleanly through the whiskers.
And don’t apply the lather with your fingers. Using your fingers will pat down the whiskers so you will end up doing more passes with the razor. It’ll expose your skin to more blade friction than it needs to. Always use a shaving brush to apply your lather.
Don't use your fingers in applying your lather, it will pat down your whiskers making it hard to shave.
Avoid using razors with more than one blade since the whiskers often get caught in the spaces between the blades. This makes the hair curl downwards and back into the skin resulting to razor bumps.
— D'Rock, Naked Armor Founder
TIP 5. Shave Along the Grain
Always shave along the direction of your hair growth. Don’t shave against the grain. That’s because when you shave against the grain, the blade changes the angle of the hair, causing it to curl back into the skin and create ingrown hairs. And for a coarse and curly hair, it’s a recipe for disaster.
But if you’re not satisfied with the results from shaving along the grain, go across the grain instead.
Shave along the direction of your hair growth.
TIP 6. Always Use an Aftershave
Never skip the aftershave. Beards can carry bacteria on them and when you’re shaving them off, there’s still the likelihood of some of them remaining on your bare skin, waiting for their chance to spread around and infect your skin again.
Aftershaves often have witch hazel essential oil which serves as a natural astringent, disinfectant, and toner. It will not only tighten and tone the skin, but it’ll also kill off the remaining acne-causing skin bacteria.
TIP 7. Upgrade Your Razor
While there are practical and safety reasons to use a safety razor, a sharp, single-edge razor blade like a straight razor is better in giving you a close shave.
Avoid using razors with more than one blade since the whiskers often get caught in the spaces between the blades. This makes the hair curl downwards and back into the skin resulting to razor bumps. Instead, use a single-blade razors which are easier to clean and don't require replacing blades.
If you’re already using a straight razor, always strop the blade before using it and hone it regularly after every two months. This ensures that the blade’s edge is aligned and sharp. Dull blades force you to go over the same area repeatedly which can lead to irritation and razor bumps.
Get a close shave by using a sharp single-edge razor blade.
TIP 8. Get a Naked Armor Straight Razor
Elevate your art of wet shaving into luxury by getting a Naked Armor straight razor. Naked Armor straight razors have versatile blades because they’re designed in between a full hollow and a half hollow grind. This means that this blade can be used for coarse, thick hair or for fine, straight hair.
It’s also made from high quality Japanese steel which was forged in the tradition of the Japanese samurai swords. It has elegant wood scales made from a sandalwood variety called algum, which is supposed to be one of the exotic timbers used in King Solomon’s temple.
All these make our straight razors durable and sharp to give you the closest shave ever. So if you want to reduce your razor bumps, consider getting a Naked Armor straight razor.
Check out our site for more of our razors and quality shaving products.
More Naked Armor Tips
How To Shave Like A Straight Razor Pro
How To Shave Acne Prone Skin
Eight Tips on How to Shave Curly Hair