Q: I have a double whammy of a problem: sensitive skin and a very tough dark beard. I find it really difficult to get a close shave without really irritating my skin, so I end up with the 'Homer' look of a 5 o'clock shadow at 9am or skin as red as a lobster. I am electric shaving at the moment which I find less irritating but tough to get a smooth finish.
Our expert Ahmed Zambarakji answers your questions below:
A: Hi Matt,
Dry shaving with an electric razor isn’t going to do your skin any favours in the long run. Dry facial hair is as tough as copper wire and it sounds like your beard is even coarser than the average guys’.
The more you can soften the hair with water and a pre-shave solution, the easier it will be to shave and the less irritation you’ll get. There are some electric pre-shave solutions out there (Kyoku, Lab Series) but I’d still suggest you give wet shaving another go and perhaps review your technique (there are loads of other posts about this on the Shortlist site - have a click around).
The reason I suggest this is because wet hair is easier to cut through. And less drag means less irritation. Plus, a shaving product will provide adequate cushioning so your skin doesn’t get so red and sore.
There won’t be an instant difference in terms of irritation so be sure to give your skin a couple of weeks to adapt to the new method. Chopping and changing from one method to another can also cause your skin to flare up.
If you’re completely against wet shaving, then check out one of the newfangled ‘wet’ electric shavers. The Philips Aquatouch and their everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Sensotouch 3D model can both be used in the shower or with a traditional shaving cream / gel / foam.
Aftercare is also going to be really important for you, so invest in a good soothing balm that isn’t alcohol-based. Also, avoid wearing any fragrance anywhere near your face after you’ve shaved. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much that can be done about the speed at which your regrowth appears but, if you can give your skin a break from shaving every now and then, that would be ideal.
Find Ahmed on theexfoliator.com