Aloe Vera Benefits: How the Miracle Plant Heals and Protects Your Skin

Aloe Vera Benefits: How the Miracle Plant Heals and Protects Your Skin

Aloe vera is often deemed the “miracle plant.” But what exactly makes the sticky green plant so special? Aloe vera benefits are plentiful and can aid skin quality, hair growth and overall health in the form of gels, topical creams, liquids to digest or straight from the plant.

To start off, using aloe vera is not a new treatment. Aloe is a succulent that has been used as an herbal alternative to medicine for over 2,000 years. Other evidence suggests aloe use extends as far back as 6,000 years. This stems from documentation of the plant found in ancient Egypt art and alongside dead pharaohs referring to it as the “plant of immortality.”

Aloe vera gel is best at improving the quality of skin because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Here at Royal Shave, we broke down all the reasons aloe vera benefits your skin and how you can best incorporate it into your shaving routine.

Aloe vera benefits for skin

Royal Shave shares aloe vera benefits

Photo via Instagram / @ashtonnoel

While aloe vera gel is most commonly used to treat sunburns, its properties are also useful for other skin-related issues. Instead of just treating a temporary issue, aloe vera helps fight skin issues before they reappear in the future.

1. Aloe vera benefits you by helping you heal.

Royal Shave shares aloe vera benefits

First, aloe vera is beneficial when treating mild to moderate first degree burns and sunburns that damage the first layer of skin. While this damage is less serious and treatable, it still causes redness and discomfort.

The clear gel in aloe vera steps in to repair tissues and increase blood flow with its enzymes. In addition, antibacterial properties in the gel help fight off infection. Moreover, aloe aids the regeneration of cells and hydrates the skin, increasing its elasticity during the healing process.

Some evidence like the 2009 research study published in “Surgery Today” shows that aloe vera gel is even effective in treating some second degree burns. In fact results showed participants healed three days faster than those using silver sulfadiazine cream.

2. Aloe vera benefits you by reducing acne.

Royal Shave shares aloe vera benefits

Burns aren’t the only issue that aloe vera benefits help erase. Aloe vera’s antibacterial properties are also useful for cleaning the skin and removing irritants that clog pores and cause acne. In conjunction, ingredients like salicylic acid help to kill off the harmful bacteria.

In addition, aloe vera contains the hormones Auxin and Gibberellins that have anti-inflammatory characteristics that speed up the healing process and reduce scarring.

A 1998 research study shows that aloe vera helped to increase collagen development, which is useful when treating wounds or acne scarring.

3. Aloe vera benefits you by moisturizing your skin.

Royal Shave shares aloe vera benefits

Aloe vera gel is also great for adding moisture to your skin. In fact, it may be so great that it wards off cancer. Specifically, studies linked the use of aloe vera gel to halting the progression of skin cancer. This is likely due to the increased production of melanin and extended skin protection that aloe provides.

In addition, when you use sun block or after sun products containing aloe, you are not only protecting yourself from the effects of a single burn but also from that burn later developing into skin cancer.

4. Aloe vera benefits you by slowing the effects of aging.

Royal Shave shares aloe vera benefits

While moisture is beneficial against serious issues like cancer, it also benefits you aesthetically. In addition to it’s other properties, aloe vera contains Vitamins A, C and E. These vitamins work together to hydrate your skin and slow the effects of aging. What this means for your skin is less wrinkles.

Aloe vera is also especially helpful in the wintertime when your skin easily dries out. The added moisture will have your skin feeling soft and healthy again in no time.

5. Aloe vera benefits you by fighting skin irritation.

Royal Shave shares aloe vera benefits

Some dry skin issues are related to more serious problems like eczema and psoriasis. Aloe vera is also useful in battling these ailments.

Due to the combination of fatty acids and the enzyme bradykinin, the skin irritation is able to subside more quickly. It’s anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties also help the healing process become less stressful.

In addition to reducing itch and infection, aloe is also used with medicine to fight eczema. For instance, some research suggests combining aloe with hydrocortisone to combat flare-ups.

Aloe vera benefits when shaving

Royal Shave shares aloe vera benefits

Photo via Instagram / @royalshave

So, how does aloe vera apply to shaving? Aloe vera is useful for every step of the process. For instance, including aloe vera as an ingredient in your cleansers, oils and creams will maintain moisture and healthy skin before, throughout and after your shave.

Step One: washing your face

Royal Shave shares aloe vera benefits

Washing your face is an important step because it helps remove any dirt and debris from your facial hair before shaving.

Using a softening conditioner like the Zeus Beard Conditioner (8 oz. / $16) provides moisture along with other aloe vera benefits.

In addition, this conditioner contains jojoba and avocado oils to further increase moisture and reduce breakage.

The added aloe vera ingredient will also work with Pro-Vitamin B5 to fight away dryness and dandruff.

 

Step Two: pre-shave prep

Royal Shave shares aloe vera benefits

Pre-shave is particularly useful for men who suffer from razor burn, scars,  tough growth or shave bumps.

Using a product like the Castle Forbes Pre-Shave (5 oz. / $40) offers a water-based formula. This means it will not leave an oil residue that clogs your razor.

The combination of aloe vera, Vitamin E and chamomile extract gently pushes the hair away from your face. As a result, it is easier for your razor to glide over stubborn areas.

 

Step Three: the shave

Royal Shave shares aloe vera benefits

When it comes down to the time to actually introduce your razor to your facial hair, using a shave gel instead of a foaming cream allows for a closer and more precise shave.

To further explain, gels are more likely to have a clear consistency. This makes it easier to see where you are trimming and helps avoid mistakes. Take for instance the product Zirh Shave Gel (100 ml / $15).

This gel combines aloe vera gel with glycerin, which is great for exfoliating the skin, shrinking pores and most notably adding moisture to combat dryness.

Step Four: after shave

Royal Shave shares aloe vera benefits

After shave is not only great for leaving a pleasant scent after your shave, but also to help treat sensitive skin and tone redness.

That’s where aloe vera steps in. For example, the Musgo Real After Shave (100 ml / $49.95) uses aloe to soothe the skin while hamamelis tones it.

Hamamelis, also referred to as “witch hazel” is great for fighting inflammation and viruses. In addition, it helps tighten the skin while still maintaining moisture and providing sun protection.

Step Five: further care

Royal Shave shares aloe vera benefits

Caring for your skin and your beard does not stop with after shave. It is important to maintain moisture and protection in your weekly routine.

Adding a beard balm to your routine will help maintain moisture and help protect the skin underneath your beard.

Zeus Beard Balm (2 oz. / $22) helps fight dreaded beard itch, protects the skin from free radicals and offers light hold for styling.

 

FOR MORE BEARD TIPS CHECK OUT: “How to Grow Your Beard Faster and Fuller Than Your Friends.”

Should You Shave Before or After You Shower?

Should You Shave Before or After You Shower?

When’s the last time you took a step back and looked at when you shave? It’s easy to fall into a routine of shaving at a specific time every day, especially when you have a packed schedule. But just because your shaving ritual fits neatly between a quick shower and morning coffee doesn’t mean it’s the best time for you to shave.

While shaving post-shower has been touted to deliver the most efficient, enjoyable shave, Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV). Check the shaving forums and you’ll see just as many men exalting a post-shower shave as loathing it, with the latter claiming it sensitizes their skin.

If you find yourself stuck in a shaving rut and experience redness and irritation post shave, reevaluate your timing and take an honest look at what works and what doesn’t. A few changes can turn a monotonous shave into an enlightening one.

Here are the benefits and drawbacks of shaving after you shower and shaving before you shower.

Shaving after you shower

The ideal (i.e. most painless) shave involves removing everything that gets in the way of a clean, slick razor glide. Thus, many men shave after they shower, when their skin is soft and pores are open.

When your hair follicles are dry, they have the cutting density of copper wire, so you should never go at them before first reducing the cutting strength by wetting your beard. Steam from the shower softens hair, making it easier to cut with fewer passes. And an easier cut means less tugging and pulling your skin. Meanwhile, the steam opens pores, allowing you to get in closer to the follicle. Think about it: the tighter the pore, the harder it is to rip hair out of it.

Then there is the bacteria factor: shaving after you shower ensures you’ve let hot water wash away traces of pollutants, dirt, and grime so they can’t be caught in your razor and spread around your face.  This bacteria can easily seep into microtears in your face, causing irritation and razor burn.

Shaving before you shower

While shaving after your shower has a hefty list of benefits, some men say doing so actually causes more irritation and makes their skin sensitive. Indeed, depending on how you like your shower, there is some truth in the matter. If you prefer hot showers, the water may over plump your skin, predisposing you to weepers and nicks. Super hot water actually dries out your skin by removing skin’s natural oils, leaving you with a dry feeling when you shave afterwards.

While the solution is to switch to warm water and perhaps apply pre-shave oil to remedy the dryness, it may not remedy the situation for everyone.

Also, not all of us have time to devote to a luxurious shaving ritual after we shower. Shaving before you shower saves time and the effort of extra clean up at the end.

should you shave before or after your shower?

So which is better?

Although the hair-softening, pore-opening steam of a warm shower is fabulous prep for your shave, your skin has its own needs. Try both methods to see which one gives you less irritation and fewer nicks. You may have been successfully shaving after your shower until now, but as your skin changes (due to age or varying climates) you may find that shaving before your shower works better.

Or pick the routine that suits your daily demands.

If you’re simply short on time and can’t afford to progress slowly through the shaving ritual, save time by shaving before you shower – but with one caveat: complete a hot towel treatment before you shave.

A good alternative: A hot towel treatment

A classic barbershop tool, a hot towel treatment is the mid ground between shaving before you shower and shaving after you shower. If you’re planning to shave before you shower, this treatment will warm and soften skin and hair. While a hot towel isn’t as effective at softening hair as a shower, it does make whiskers swell up. A hot towel won’t remove environmental pollutants and grime.

How to do a hot towel treatment:

  1. Wash your face.
  2. Soak a washcloth in warm water and hold it up to your face for at least 3 minutes, the amount of time it takes to significantly reduce cutting resistance.
  3. If you don’t have a towel on hand, you can also wash your face with warm water for a few minutes before applying shaving cream.
  4. Shave your face.

Tips:

-For extra softening, use moisturizing conditioner on your beard in the shower. Look for one with softening properties, like Dreadnought Concentrated Conditioner.

-Test out your pre-shave shower method: use conditioner before you shave for a week, and then no conditioner for a week. Repeat.

-Beginners can benefit for a post-shower shave in the evening, when they can take their time to perfect their method. 

-Option: exfoliate in the shower to achieve a closer shave. Exfoliation removes dead skin and debris that would otherwise get in the way of a clean shave. However, if you are a novice do not exfoliate until your skin acclimates to daily shaving. If you do exfoliate, do so on the days you’re not shaving.

How to Produce Superlather

superlather

Superlather is an oft-discussed topic in the wet shaving community. Some see it as a waste of time, while others can’t sing enough praises about its lovely whipped consistency and easy customization. In the end, all of us desire lather that provides us with enough cushion, glide, and slickness for minimal irritation, cuts, and nicks. Superlather is one route to consider.

Today, we look at why you should consider adding superlather to your shaving routine.

What is superlather?

Superlather is the technique of combining shaving soap and shaving cream to produce lather. In doing so, you combine the smoothing qualities of shaving soap with the easy-to-lather, slick cushion of shaving cream. The result is a dense, creamy lather similar in consistency to whipped cream that is more beneficial than using soap or cream alone.

What is the point of creating superlather?

There are a few good reasons to give superlather a go:

  1. You own a wonderfully scented soap but its lather leaves much to be desired.

Let’s say you’re taken with Geo. F. Trumper Hard Shaving Soap in Almond, but it won’t give you a lick of lather. Combine that soap with an unscented shaving cream like Truefitt & Hill Ultimate Comfort Shaving Cream and you will have salvaged a soap that might otherwise just sit and collect dust.

  1. You have a soap lacking in one performance area and want to combine it with a complementary product that makes up for this weakness.

For instance, your Acca Kappa LiboCedro Shaving Soap Bowl may offer fantastic glide and lather stability, but you’d like more cushion. Add a small drop of Taylor of Old Bond Street Luxury Shaving Cream Bowl in Sandalwood for a creamy cushion.

  1. You’d like to experiment with scent combinations.

Wet shaving is a pleasure and a hobby. As such, many of us own more soaps and shaving creams than we’d like to admit. One way to get around to using your entire collection is mixing and matching scent combinations. The experimentation process is an adventure, and you end up with a customized scent!

  1. You have hard water.

If you have hard water where you live, lathering with a soap can be near impossible. The high mineral content in hard water reacts with soap, producing insufficient lather. Superlather mitigates this with the addition of shaving cream, which already contains water and is therefore not dependent on water hardness for a good lather.

That being said, we still highly recommend investing in a water softener or purchasing distilled water for shaving purposes. You simply will not get your best shave using hard water. Learn more about how hard water affects shaving here.

Superlather process

To create superlather:

  1. While you’re showering, soak your brush in water.
  2. Place an almond-sized dollop of shaving cream in your shaving bowl.
  3. Load your brush for 30 seconds on the soap.
  4. Build your lather by working the soap and the cream together in the bowl. Swirl the brush using circular motions while monitoring the lather’s consistency. If it’s becoming pasty or dry, add a few drops of water.
  5. You’ll know you’re done when lather starts resembling whipped cream.

Sharpologist: 10 Commandments of Wet Shaving

Think about when you first started wet shaving. You had to figure out which type of blade suited your skin and beard best, how to hold the razor so as to not apply too much pressure, and countless other details that, when mastered, produced the kind of shave that reminded you why you left your cartridge. While there is much helpful information online, it can be a lot to sort through and absorb when you’re just getting started.

Sometimes it’s more effective to have an easy-to-reference guide that gets to the point, especially if you’re just about to embark on a shave. That’s why we wanted to share Sharpologist’s “10 Commandments of Wet Shaving.” For those new to wet shaving, take these tips in stride to better your shave. For veterans, let these commandments remind you of proper form.

And keep in mind that as with any wet shaving advice, YMMV (your mileage may vary). The last commandment reprimands alcohol-based aftershaves, but if your D.R. Harris Aftershave Splash is the only product that’ll reduce redness and acne post-shave, keep at it.

Enjoy!

Via Sharpologist:

  1. Thou Shalt Prepare Thyself Properly

Thoroughly anoint thyself with a gentle facial cleanser and warm water, for cleanliness is next to shaveliness.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Use As Few Blades As Necessary

For more shall tempt the demons of irritation.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Use A Sharp Blade

Those same demons of irritation shalt seek another way to tempt those who are overly parsimonious.

 

  1. Remember To Honor Thy Grain

Knoweth the directions thy stubble grow in.  For knowing thyself is the key to happiness.  But neither shall thou be a slave to it’s mercy, by wielding the correct tool and the correct ways.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Reduce Thy Stubble

For the attempt to eliminate it completely and forever shall surely fail.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Not Overly Stretch Thy Skin

Flattening thy skin shall be rewarded; dramatic stretching is a sign of the disbeliever.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Use The Lightest Possible Touch

For pressure begets depression, which in-turn begets another temptation of the demons of irritation.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Take Thy Strokes Modestly

Remember to honor thy shave by taking short strokes, for long strokes shall forsaken it.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Take Thy Time

For impatience will surely tempt thee to take the Lord’s name in vain.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Not Use Alcohol In Thou’s After Shave Preparation

For such a shaving mélange will do thou no good in the fullness of time.

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