5 ways to take the sting out of shaving if you have sensitive skin.

WILKINSON SWORD HYDROFew things challenge sensitive skin quite like the daily shave. Thankfully, combating sensitivity and irritation is simple. Here’s how…

1. Choose your moment.

As with marriage proposals and football passes timing is everything when it comes to shaving. Skin can be puffy first thing so always allow it time to settle before shaving. Have a coffee, grab some breakfast and only then think about grabbing your razor.  Ideally, shave after or during a shower – hot water and steam causes stubble to expand, which will make it softer and much easier to cut.

2. Keep your cool.

Lots of things can irritate sensitive skin: from heat and friction to the fragrances and colourants in shaving products. To reduce the chance of skin becoming sensitised during – and after – shaving, try using products that are free of artificial fragrances and colours; use warm rather than piping hot water to wash and rise your razor with and never put aftershave directly onto your skin after shaving as the alcohol in it can irritate and dry out freshly-shaven skin (yep, there’s a reason why it stings!)

3. Use the right razor.

Your choice of razor is crucial when it comes to minimising irritation and reducing sensitivity. Wilkinson Sword’s revolutionary Hydro 5 Sensitive razor has been specially designed to deliver improved skin protection whilst shaving. As well as featuring an ergonomically-designed handle for better control and Advanced Skin Guards to prevent skin snagging, it also features revolutionary Hydrating Gel Reservoirs.

This innovative system lasts twice as long as the lubrication strips found on other razors* and also delivers 40% less friction, which is crucial to an irritation-free shave because the less friction the less chance of sensitivity. So effective is the lubrication that skin actually remains hydrated for up to an hour after your shave!

What’s more, the Hydro 5’s special Flip Trimmer allows you to pull back the Hydrating Gels to reveal the razor’s five blades for when you want extra precision (you can see it pulled back in the pic above). All these features go to create the perfect razor for guys with sensitive or easily irritated skin.

HYDRO 5 (1)

4. Don’t press too hard and reduce your speed.

Pressing too hard is one of the most common mistakes men make when shaving – as is shaving too quickly. Pressing harder dosn’t result in a closer shave (but can result in more irritation and skin sensitivity) and no man was ever rewarded bonus points for speed shaving – irritated skin maybe, but definitely no bonus points. So take time over your shave and use gentle stokes of around 2cm in length.

5. Moisturise.

Moisturising skin might seem unconnected to shaving but it’s actually a very good way to minimise sensitivity. That’s partly because dry skin tends to be more sensitive in the first place but also because its surface is full of microscopic ridges which the blades of your razor have to pass over. Keeping skin moisturised keeps it plump and hydrated and softens out these ridges – essentially smoothing out the terrain your razor has to navigate.  

So as you can see, with the right razor and the perfect technique there’s absolutely no reason shaving to a (sometimes quite literal) pain in the neck – even for guys with the most sensitive of skin.

310316011_0_640x640The Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 Sensitive is available now, RRP: £9.99

* average vs Quattro Titanium lubrication strip

A Wilkinson Sword/Grooming Guru Promotion

Insider Interview: Brendan Murdock, founder of Murdock

Established in London’s trendy Shoreditch in 2006 Murdock has become a prime destination for guys seeking good grooming and barbering in a classic, stylish but unstuffy environment. The ultimate example of an instant heritage brand (i.e. sounds as though it’s been around for decades but hasn’t) it’s been such a success that there are now sores at Liberty, in Mayfair and in Covent Garden.

Building on the success of the barbershops they’ve even branched out into their own skincare products, accessories, candles and fine fragrances – the Patchouli one being one of my own favourites (and I’m very fussy about my patchouli fragrances). 

Here I find out what makes founder Brendan Murdock tick and manage to get some invaluable grooming tips from him in the process. 

GG: What’s the biggest mistake men make when it comes to shaving? 

BM: The biggest mistake is undoubtedly lack of preparation. The best shaving results will be achieved when the skin and facial hair is prepared, a combination of a hot flannel or water, pre-shave oil, and perhaps a badger brush to apply the cream.  The pre-shave oil softens the whiskers and prepares the skin for the razor’s edge.

The fine tips of the hairs on the brush create a smooth and creamy lather, while the remarkable softness of badger hair cleanses the face gently, ensuring a comfortable and close shave. The action of a razor is quite harsh and surface skin cells are removed.  If the skin and facial hair is not prepared you may suffer from an itchy, sore face post-shave.

GG: What trends in male grooming have you noticed of late?

BM:Men have gained more confidence when it comes to shaving, and are becoming increasingly inquisitive as to how to perfect the art. When we first opened in 2006, gentleman would simply purchase a shave cream to shave. Most customers were not even using post shave balms after shaving, despite complaining of sore, red faces after shaving!

Today, men are more informed and educated about best grooming practice. Coupled with more visible brand and places to visit for grooming, more educated choices are made.

GG: What are your favourite men’s fragrances and why? 

BM: Green Irish Tweed by House of CREED. I’ve been loyal to the scent for many years; it now represents familiarity and comfort.

I also like the scents by Carthusia they are light and summery and remind me of wonderful holidays in Italy.

I really enjoy wearing our Murdock Patchouli Cologne too. It’s a subltle, sensuous and mysterious scent, suitable for all seasons; great all year round.

GG: What’s your best shaving tip? 

BM: Always use a post shave balm after each shave.  Shaving strips the skin of essential oils and you must ensure that the skin is moisturised and soothed post-shave.

GG: What’s your best skincare tip?

BM: Moisturise, moisturise and moisturise.

GG: Desert island grooming product?

BM: Naturally sunblock is an essential. However, I would not be complete without a bottle of Murdock Patchouli Cologne; capturing my more bohemian and free-thinking style for the desert island.

GG: Body hair. To trim or not trim? 

BM: If, for example, you are an athlete and your decision to wax or trim is to enhance your performance in your chosen field, then I am in favour. Conversely, if your decision to wax or trim is purely based on vanity, then I am not as convinced. For me, masculinity is reflected in natural body hair; to wax or trim detracts from this. Ultimately, the decision lies with the individual; each to their own.

GG: Fantasy grooming product? 

BM: A miracle cream that prevents hair loss and baldness, without any side effects!

To check out what Murdock has to offer go to www.murdocklondon.com

Insider Interview: Richard Sawyer, Global spokesman for Lab Series

When it comes to male grooming Richard Sawyer is, without doubt, one of the most knowledgeable people I know. As Global Spokesman for Lab Series (you know you’ve made it when you’re a ‘global’ something) he jets around the world, spreading the word about the brand’s extensive range of skin savers for men. Right now he’s expounding the benefits of Lab Series’ brand new anti-ageing product, Max LS Age-Less Face Cream.

So impressed by this new wrinkle buster (and believe me I’m hard to impress) I grabbed him for an insider interview. So here’s what he has to say about the latest addition to the Lab Series family, along with some handy grooming tips and a few thoughts on why hairy shoulders are scary shoulders.

GG: So, Richard, what makes MAX-LS different from other anti-ageing creams?

RS: What is unique is the revolutionary formulation. Using a highly precise hot/cold method creates the unique transformational texture.A first of its kind in men’s skincare, this special processing method creates a smooth, rich cream with micro droplets of moisture throughout that applies with a cool burst of hydration.

In use, what at first glance appears to be a rich cream, simply disappears into the skin leaving nothing buts a sensation of cool moisture and comfort for a mans skin. It’s also the first time we have used Sirtuin-inspired research in a product specifically for men. This technology helps keep skin looking younger, longer. In addition the formula contains skin rejuvenation ingredients such as Whey Protein and Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 to help keep skin looking firmer, smoother and more lifted.

GG: Men’s biggest grooming mistake?

RS: Not washing before wet shaving. This might sound simple, bit the single most important step in getting a close and comfortable wet shave is cleaning the skin.  Washing the face before shaving removed the build of oil, dead skin and dirt, which can clog up your razor and cause excess friction.

GG: Best skincare tip for men?

RS: However late it is, no matter how tired you are, try your best to but on a moisturiser before you go to bed. In the morning you may feel rough, tired and a little hung-over from last night, but at least you will look half-human. You really will have to try and work miracles to get yourself looking good after a heavy night if you forget to do something with your face before you sleep.

GG: What are your favourite fragrances?

RS: From being a teenager I have genuinely always loved fragrance. Back then there was far less choice but it also seemed there was great originality and the compositions available had real personality.

I have recently being on a voyage of rediscovery from the scents of my youth.

Pride of place in my bathroom right now are three classic Aramis fragrances. Yes I do work for Aramis, however I absolutely will never wear any fragrance unless I truly love it and have an emotional connection with it.

The first rediscovery was JHL. Back in the 1980’s I didn’t really understand it but as you grow form your teenage years into adulthood your tastes change, develop and mature.  I totally “get it” now and delighted that now it has been reissued, it is available for discovery once more. I love Aramis 900 too. It was my scent when I was 18 and I spent every spare penny I had on getting the range. I had very little money back then; however I knew that it was better to have just a few high quality products than loads of ineffective or cheaper alternatives.

I’m now wearing Aramis Devin, which has a lovely fresh green note. I work in an office surrounded by scent but whenever I wear this the reaction from everyone is always amazing. (A dickybird tells me he loves Guerlain’s Jicky too)

GG: Desert Island grooming product?

RS: Sunscreen every time.  Everyone should apply some sun protection to any exposed parts of their body after any skincare system. SPF 15 is fine for everyday exposure for people who work mostly indoors and just pop out at lunchtime for a sandwich. Higher factors are a must for anyone who loves the great outdoors even if you don’t plan on sun bathing.

My biggest regret is not knowing about the potential damage over exposure to the sun can do to the skin. I’m not alone in this respect as it’s only more recently that everyone is more away that we should use sun protection. I truly love the sun and getting a tan, however a couple of years ago I made a conscious decision to avoid prolonged sun exposure. It may be too late to reverse all of the sun damage I know I have suffered, but at least I can help to stop it getting worse.

GG: Body hair: to shave or not to shave?

RS: Maybe a bit of both! It’s really down to personal preference. I personally don’t like hairy backs and shoulders so for me on these areas, the hair has to go. A little trim on the chest now and again doesn’t go a miss. If you have been working out at the gym, shaving can show off your definition and hard work. Tattoos also look better if you can actually see them.


GG: How has the internet changed male grooming?

RS: I think its empowered men to be able to research and discover what’s out there without feeling uncomfortable.  You can compare and choose at your leisure and get really get the SP on something. The internet has dramatically changed how people shop and retailers have needed to evolve.  I research new skin care products and technologies on an almost daily basis. Like other men I can then visit a store and touch, and try a product, have an understanding of what it is and what it can do. Personally I still like to see new product in “the flesh” first.  However as with many men I’m more than comfortable buying online when I want a repeat purchase.

GG: Fantasy grooming product?

RS: It seems with each season that the perfect moisturiser is getting closer and closer.  I want a product that does it all. It has to be day and night, for lines and wrinkles and be protective and repairing.  An all singing all dancing product used to be like searching for the Holy Grail.  I’m convinced that with the convergence of idea’s and research form the west and Asia, we are closer than ever to the ideal skincare product. Something that addresses chronological and photo ageing.

MAX LS answers my needs right now. However as time and technology march on, I’ll be waiting for the next big thing.

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Insider Interview – Sally Penford, Education Manager, International Dermal Institute.

sallyOf all the ‘industry’ people worth seeking skincare advice from Sally Penford, Education Manager, International Dermal Institute is, without doubt, one of the most knowledgeable (not to mention one of the nicest) experts around. Over the years she’s be an invaluable source of information for  journalists like me so this week I asked her to shave a few of her favourite tips for men…

GG: What’s the biggest mistake men make when it comes to grooming?

SP: Following in their father’s footsteps! Things have moved on considerably in the world of shaving and the old fashioned alkaline shaving foam and splash it all over after shave, should now be laid to rest. Alkaline shave foams sensitise skin and leave it vulnerable to shaving nicks and an irritating rash. Aftershave is alcohol based, which is the reason it stings when you apply it to freshly shaved skin. The final greatest sin is shaving against the direction of hair growth to achieve a close shave. A close shave you may get but you may also get ingrown hairs and sensitivity to boot.

GG: What’s your best tip for the perfect shave?

derm copySP: Scrub skin gently the evening before a shave to lift hair and loosen dead cells in preparation for shaving the next day. Use an acidic shave cream or gel over damp skin (The Grooming Guru recommends Dermalogica’s excellent Soothing Shave Cream) and always use a sharp razor. Always follow with a protective post shave balm to soothe and guard against the environment.

GG: What’s men’s biggest skincare issue would you say? And what’s the solution?

SP: Shaving irritation. So it’s essential to invest in good products to shave with, use a sharp razor, shave with the hair and always apply a soothing balm post shave.

GG: What would you say has been the biggest change in male grooming in the past 5 years?

SP: The mediums used for shaving; now ranging from shaving oils great for the lighter beard growth to acidic gels for medium growth and creams for heavier growth and more sensitized skins. And the fact that men now have credible skin care ranges suited to their skin care needs rather than having to use female orientated lines behind closed doors.

n48053204038_1473942_1020GG: What’s your favorite men’s fragrance?

SP: Thierry Mugler’s A*Men- my partner’s chosen fragrance, just lovely!

GG: Next big thing in male grooming?

SP: As the male grooming market continues to be one of the fastest growing areas in the cosmetics arena it seems logical that men will continue to evolve in their use of skin care products beyond simply shave. As manufacturers realize that men have wider concerns than simply shaving, their offerings will expand and unisex brands will benefit in being able to offer solutions to a wide range of concerns from ageing to acne.

For more info on the International Dermal Institute click here.

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