shaving. we all know about it, most of us have done it, and some of us have a love-hate relationship with it. we get it: shaving can be a challenge … and it’s never fun to see little razor bumps, ingrown hairs, or razor burns show up once you get out of the shower.
but shaving with the right razor and a little preparation? that’s a recipe for smooth skin any shaver can get behind.
we know that hanni’s plastic-free weighted razor is our secret weapon for a super-close shave, but the best shaving routine is going to be unique to you (and your skin).
that’s why we’ve created this advice column to help you find a routine that will take your experience from zero to hero. exfoliation? shaving gel? against or with the grain? these are questions that have plagued shavers since the dawn of time (or the dawn of hair removal, at least), but we’ve got the answers you need for a stress-free shave anytime, anywhere.
scroll below and be enlightened, young grasshopper, in the ways of proper skin preparation for the closest and smoothest shave you’ve ever experienced. are you ready? let’s dive in.
when (and why) should i exfoliate?
our skin is basically a big organ, as weird as that might be to think about. in fact, it’s the largest organ in our bodies! it’s made up of multiple layers, the top portion of which is called the epidermis.
the epidermis is comprised of 10 to 30 thin layers of dead skin cells. the dead skin is constantly sliding off and being replaced, and this constant process is barely visible or noticeable to the naked eye.
exfoliation is the way we speed up that removal of dead skin, resulting in a smoother complexion. as far as shaving is concerned, removing dead skin allows that first glide of your razor to be the closest it possibly can to the base of the hair follicle.
that’s part of the reason why Cleveland Clinic recommends we exfoliate before we shave — getting rid of those excess dead skin cells helps keep your razor as effective as possible by preventing it from being overloaded, giving you that close shave you crave.
another benefit of exfoliation is revealing any ingrown hairs that might’ve snuggled their way under excess layers of your epidermis. fun fact: ingrown hairs have as much to do with your hair type as they do your shaving habits (if not more).
for example, those with kinky, curly, or textured hair are more likely to see their hair twist its way back under the skin — which explains where “ingrown hairs” got their name!
your body reacts to these trapped hairs like little intruders because they’ve come to rest in a place they don’t belong. that’s what results in the red bumps and irritation associated with ingrown hair and why some of them can even be painful.
people who have darker, coarse, or curlier hair will often experience more ingrowns than the next person, which can be a bummer. but not to fear, the solution is here! exfoliation can help tremendously with removing dead skin cells that are holding your hair hostage and freeing them to be put on the chopping block at long last.
so, if you’ve ever wondered what all the hullabaloo for exfoliating is about, go and ask your captive hair how they feel spending another night in their skin jail cell.
post-shave breakouts are no fun, and they often pop up due to a lack of exfoliation. if you’re dealing with bumps and zits after a shave, it’s a sign that you may need to exfoliate before shaving again.
one of the primary causes of breakouts is a buildup of dead skin cells, along with your skin’s natural oil (aka sebum) on the surface of your skin. when left unmanaged for too long, this combination can clog your pores, leading to recurring breakouts — often after you shave.
as you know, shaving without exfoliating can leave behind debris that can clog your pores and cause those pesky breakouts. this is another key reason why exfoliating before you shave may be the move. if you have acne-prone skin and often deal with breakouts in the areas where you shave, a pre-shave exfoliation ritual may be exactly what you need.
how to exfoliate and shave
when most are just starting out as small fledglings in the challenging world of the shave, one (or more than one) thing that can be easily overlooked is the tools of the trade. your shaving toolbelt, if you will. imagine it as if batman had to achieve the silkiest and smoothest shave of his complex superhero life before he could slide into that latex suit (and look dang good doing it) to fight all the big baddies of Gotham.
he’d probably have another version of that utilitarian toolbelt most likely fit with many of the same things you’ll find yourself fighting the war on hair with by the end of this article. what might you fill this hair-slicing, battle-fighting, war-winning, metaphor-nailing toolbelt with?
we’re glad you asked. because if batman himself can make use of the tools of this trade, then imagine how much more your superhero self can achieve with tools of your very own.
we’ll start with the obvious: the hanni razor. this proverbial sword you’ll win the hair war with is 100% plastic-free and lying ready to be pulled from the stone to aid you. did you know that 2 billion (yes, we said billion) razor cartridges end up in landfill every year?
with our weighted metal razor, we’re hoping to see those numbers dwindle significantly by providing you with fully recyclable razor blades and even a place to store those blades until you can recycle them with a small bin you receive in your starter kit. pretty girl-boss of us, we know.
the hanni razor doubles as an exfoliating tool that naturally helps with all things ingrown and bumpy. dermaplaning on its own is a highly popular skincare procedure that you can receive at almost any dermatologist or skincare salon. it’s a minimally invasive process in which a doctor or specialist carefully removes the uppermost layers of the epidermis on your face.
the hanni razor mimics this procedure with every shave by applying the same mechanics to the skin layers on your body. so, if you’re looking for a minimally invasive addition to your skincare without breaking the bank or going on a wild goose chase, look no further than your favorite razor itself.
the shower scarf
if you want a little something extra in your routine, we recommend something like an exfoliating towel. with our shower scarf, you can gently exfoliate your skin by gently scrubbing over the area you’re planning to shave. this action gently removes the layers of dead skin that are standing between you and a worry-free shave.
no matter which exfoliating technique you pick (or which combo you come to love), it’s an important step in your shaving process that you’ll find yourself looking forward to every week.
the right number of times to exfoliate every week is going to depend on your body — plenty of us find that two to three weekly exfoliations are the sweet spot, but you may exfoliate your body more or less depending on how oily your skin is (or how sensitive). start out with two or three exfoliations a week, and listen to what your skin tells you!
the apprentice becomes the master
you’ve been awakened to the knowledge of the shaving ancients. how do you feel? powerful? filled with wisdom? we understand, and we’re overjoyed to see you advance to the ranks of shaving master one step at a time.
moving forward, we’re confident you’ll find more and more of a grasp on the perfect shave for you and what works for your personal routine, no matter how often you shave. just like the choice to shave (or not shave!), the choices you make in your shaving routine are all about what works best for you.
we hope we’ve helped in some small way to inform you of another layer to a better shave, and we can’t wait to walk on the journey to smooth skin together should that be what you’re after! don’t forget to love the planet and your body well by making use of our 100% plastic-free razor, and join us in an effort to revolutionize the shaving industry. we can’t do it without you!