Answer Time

Posted by Luke McMeeken-Ruscoe on

A few weeks ago I sent out an email asking for questions about shaving. Thanks to everyone that sent stuff in. 

Lots of questions were very similar so I won't be listing every question today. 

How long should blades last?  - Jeremy from Wellington.

It all depends. How thick are your hairs? How hot is the water you are shaving in? How often do you clean out your blade? 

The basic rule is when it stops slicing your hair and starts pulling them, you know you have waited too long. It is very similar to a good knife in the kitchen. It is safer to cut with a sharper knife because it slices through the food. 

To make your blades stay sharper for longer, don't use crazy hot water. It dulls the blades as the heat makes the metal more likely to lose it's edge. Also clean out the blades of hair, skin, dirt between every stroke. 

What are your basic tips for a better shave? - Craig from Hamilton.

The main things you should do are these:

  • Understand your face. What directions your hairs go.
  • Shower first, make sure you clean your face of any dead skin, dirt, oils before shaving.
  • Go with grain first, then only then, go against the grain.
  • Take your time - It isn't a race, smooth is better than fast. 
  • Touch your face. Look a chef tasting the food as they are cooking it. Touch your face or where ever you are shaving to feel if you have everything. 


How do you avoid ingrown hairs - Michael from Auckland.

Ingrown hairs can be a nightmare. The same advice for a good shave from above works. But you might want to focus on a few areas.

  • Make sure your face is clean before hand. Shower and give your face a good rub with a face scrub or exfoliant. 
  • Your blades should be clean and sharp. You want the weight of the blade to do the work. You shouldn't be pushing hard down on your face.
  • Use enough shaving foam/gel. It is your friend, too much is better than too little.
  • Shave with the grain. If you are getting in-grown hairs potentially don't shave again the grain. 
  • Cleaning your face with cool water and hydrating your face afterwards is very important. 

What do you recommend for aftershave? - Daniel from Christchurch.

Shaving really does a number on your face. It is taking off a layer of skin and also dehydrates your face. You want to avoid alcohol based aftershaves. They will dry your face out more. 

After you shave, wash your face with cold water, get off al of the shaving foam/gel that you use. Then gently pat down the area with a clean towel. 

Now you want to use a balm, moisturizer, or oil that works for you. I am currently experimenting with argan oil. It feels like its doing the trick. 

I get razor burn, what can I do about it? - Hugh from Taranaki

The same things that help with ingrown hairs help with razor burn. Some specific things to focus on are:

  • Clean, sharp blades - They fill up with skin, hair, oils, make sure they are clean and sharp. Wash them out between each stroke. 
  • Don't push to hard. - We want the razor to cut your hair not dig into your face. You don't have to push hard to have the hair be sliced effectively. 
  • Skin care - you might want to develop a daily skin care routine with a good cleanser and moisturizer. Helping your skin with hydration will not only help your razor burn but also make your skin look better.

Just wanted to say thanks for the positive emails - Sarah from Rotorua

You're most welcome. 

Moment of Gratitude

The lockdown has been a real challenge. One of the positives of not being able to go anywhere is being able to read more.

There are many much smarter people out there who have thought about the world in really interesting ways and some of the themes of the books I have been reading are:

  • Non-attachment - This comes up in many cultures and religions. To be present. To not be so much value on things. To focus on what you can do and not on others responses. (I find this extremely difficult, but I am working on it)
  • Identity is a verb not a noun - I was an athlete. I still get asked what I play even though I get injured 15 years ago. But if I see myself as an athlete, then it is very narrow and limits other areas of my life. To be a good athlete I needed to work hard, I needed to be a good team mate, I had to over come adversity, I had to risk failure. I need to make my identity be verbs.
  • Your gut is a liar - you hear all the time to trust your gut. This is fine when your gut is highly trained. But, and a big juicy but here, if your gut is untrained then it's mostly useless. If you have a instinctual (gut) response you need to ask what is it telling me. It is information but its neither good or bad. Then you need to ask is it accurate and is it helpful? Your gut is just trying to protect you so if you did something in the past that didn't feel great it is going to help you avoid doing it again. But sometimes that thing that feels bad is the exact thing you need to do. 

Shave well, be awesome, when your gut tries to tell you something, ask it is accurate, is it helpful?


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