How to Exfoliate Your Face For the Cleanest and Closest Shave

How to Exfoliate Your Face For the Cleanest and Closest Shave

When you head to the bathroom to shave your face, oftentimes the only thought on your mind is removing extra hair. However, there is an important step that you should consider before lathering up your shaving cream. It’s called exfoliation. When you exfoliate, you penetrate pores deeply to remove any outstanding dirt or grease, providing the cleanest shave and healthiest skin.

While this may still be an unfamiliar step to add to your routine, learning how to exfoliate does not have to be hard. Here at Royal Shave, we researched and detailed the best products and techniques to exfoliate your face.

Why should I exfoliate my face?

Exfoliation is important for both men and women who are seeking skin with a healthy glow. Whether it is makeup or a beard on top, you want your face to act as the perfect base.

Most exfoliants come in the form of a scrub with beads or pumice to gently scratch away the top layer of skin. In doing so, you remove buildup of dead skin skills that clog pores and causes skin imperfections. In addition, this process also helps unearth ingrown hairs trapped under the skin.

Therefore, when you exfoliate you leave your skin smoother, softer and more conducive to additional treatments you put on your face.

Why is this important before shaving?

Royal Shave explains how to exfoliate

Photo via Instagram / @royalshave

Exfoliating is especially important before shaving because dead skin cells, oil and other debris can easily clog razors, making them less effective during the process. This can lead to the development of acne and razor burn and cause beard patchiness.

In addition to giving you an uneven shave, this is also bad news for your razor because it will decrease its longevity, dulling blades quicker.

Which exfoliation products work best?

When it comes to choosing products, you should first consider which facial scrub to add to your collection. Depending on your skin type, choose a product that will gently exfoliate without damaging your skin. Next, investing in a brush to apply your shaving cream is useful because it acts as an additional exfoliant.

Choosing an Exfoliator

If you have normal or oily skin, try an exfoliator that utilizes glycolic acid, which works to dissolve the top layer of the skin. This will leave your skin feeling fresher and looking brighter because it encourages cell repair to decrease scarring, discoloration and other complexion imperfections. Billy Jealous Assassin Deep Exfoliating Scrub is the strongest of the brand’s three scrubs. It deeply penetrates and cleans skin impurities, making further treatments more effective.

On the other hand, if you have sensitive or dry skin, glycolic acid may be too strong. Instead, try a gentler option like a product with hydroxy acids. Triumph & Disaster Rock & Roll Suicide Face Scrub is an all natural exfoliator with a woody fragrance. Its blend of volcanic ash and green clay works well to remove sebum from the skin, which causes blackheads.

Choosing a brush

Next, it is important to consider how you will be applying your shaving cream. While your hands are one option, adding a brush to your routine will help evenly distribute the product and provide additional exfoliation. This is because a brush can move product into your skin better than your fingers and dislodge any leftover impurities.

The Simpsons Chubby Best Badger Brush is a great option for lathering and spreading shaving cream with ease. Made from dense badger fur, the brush’s bristles glide across the skin, gently removing anything your exfoliating scrub may have missed.

How do I exfoliate my face?

Royal Shave explains how to exfoliate

Photo via Instagram / @shavingmostho

Now that you have all the information and products ready, it is finally time to exfoliate your face and get to shaving. Following these steps will lead you to the smoothest shave and healthiest skin possible.

  1. Start by opening your pores. This can be achieved through taking a hot shower, washing your face with hot water or using a steamed towel.
  2. Next, wash your face normally with the facial cleanser in your routine.
  3. Use your fingers to apply your exfoliator, rubbing it into your skin in circular motions. Dirt and dead skin should begin to lift away.
  4. Wash the paste away with lukewarm water.

If you are only looking to exfoliate your face, you can stop after this step. To finish this process, you should rinse your face off with cold water to close your pores and apply a light moisturizer to repair any sensitivity caused by scrubbing.

However, if you are combining this process with your shaving routine, continue on with the following steps to maximize exfoliation.

  1. Use your badger brush to lather shaving cream in a bowl.
  2. Apply the shaving cream with your brush in circular motions, pressing firmly against the skin to remove any additional irritants.
  3. Continue on with your shaving routine.

After completing all the steps, your face will be brighter, smoother and you will notice a big improvement in your shaving results.

Royal Shave explains how to exfoliate

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.”

Why You Should Use Algae on Your Face

A background on algae

The slimy stuff you usually see making streams look murky is actually highly beneficial for your skin. Algae have been used for many years as the basis of healthy foods like Kombucha and sushi (seaweed is a type of algae), boosting healthy bacteria. Algae are also used to thicken foods and skincare products so they don’t become runny. But in recent years, algae have come into the spotlight as a potent skincare ingredient: the green gunk is rich in minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids.

There are 2 types of algae:

Microalgae – Tiny, single-celled creatures

Macroalgae – Multi-cellular organisms like seaweed and kelp

Within these two categories, over 20,000 species of algae exist. The main ones you should know about are brown algae, green microalgae, and red algae.

Why should I rub pond organisms on my face?

Algae are natural moisturizers that enhance skin barrier function. These plant organisms hydrate skin and then lock in the moisture. Algae condition the skin after a shave, when your skin is thirsting for replenishment.

Who should be using algae in skincare products?

Algae are beneficial for everyone – and are skin savers for wet shavers. Brimming with vitamins and minerals, algae is a natural antioxidant, emollient, and soothing agent. Apply a product with algae before your shave for stronger skin more resistant to irritation and cuts, and after your shave for instant skin barrier repair.

Red algae (including carrageenan and Irish moss)

If you have acne, red algae have antimicrobial properties, reducing inflammation without the drying properties of over the counter drugs. Red algae also absorb UVA rays, acting like natural sunscreen.

Brown algae

Out in the sun all the time? Brown algae combat free radical oxidation.

Mature skin can also benefit from brown algae, which improve the appearance of aging skin.

Green micro-algae

Full of phytochemicals, green micro-algae combat free radicals and inflammation while regulating melanin production. If you have an old scar from acne or a razor nick, this type of algae will improve skin tone and fade the scar gradually.

Our product recommendations:

Baxter of California Vitamin Cleansing Bar

This bar soap is far from drying. Aloe vera, glycerin, and seaweed (brown algae) nourish skin, while vitamins E and A neutralize free radicals for protection from the elements and pollution.

SHOP: Baxter of California Vitamin Cleansing Bar

The Art of Shaving After-Shave Gel

Carrageenan boosts the moisture quotient in this lightweight gel aftershave. Calendula extract contains anti-inflammatory linoleic acid, which heals a wide variety of skin conditions, from acne to eczema. Add this aftershave to your post-shave routine if you have oily or normal skin.

SHOP: The Art of Shaving After-Shave Gel

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Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20

Protect your skin after a morning shave with Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20. Blue algae keeps skin supple while reducing inflammation, and sea parsley contains vitamins A and C to encourage collagen production (and thereby skin healing).

SHOP: Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20

9 Easy Razor Burn Solutions

No matter how masterful a wet shaver you are, you’ve experienced razor burn at some point. As a shaving connoisseur, you already know that switching to a DE razor or straight razor eliminates most of the threat. But there are plenty of other solutions, too, that might not occur to you right away. Making moisturizing a daily routine, for instance, instead of only after you shave, or shaving at night so you’re not stressing your skin with a full day of activities and environmental toxins.

If you have a tip not mentioned on this list, share it with us – and your fellow wet shavers – by leaving a comment below, or connecting with us on Facebook or Instagram.

1. Exfoliate before you shave

If you’re not exfoliating, you’re missing a crucial step to preventing razor burn. Exfoliating removes dead skin, oil, and other debris that can clog your razor blade and lead to razor burn. Exfoliating can also unearth ingrown hairs.

Choose an exfoliator based on your skin type: if you have normal/oily skin, try an exfoliator with glycolic acid, which dissolves the outermost layer of skin to encourage cell repair and healing. Pick one that comes with physical exfoliators (like beads or pumice) to get a deeper clean. Billy Jealousy Assassin is an intense exfoliator with walnut shell powder and sweet almond meal for physical exfoliation, as well as natural exfoliating enzymes. It’s so effective you can reduce the appearance of discoloration and scars over time!

If you have sensitive skin, a chemical exfoliator with beta hydroxy acids is gentler. We’re a big fan of Triumph & Disaster Rock & Roll Suicide Face Scrub, which exfoliates with salicylic acid, volcanic ash, and green clay.

2. Make moisturizing a routine

Good skincare, plain and simple, is the basis of strong, healthy skin.

Dragging a piece of metal across your face is highly irritating. Keep your skin hydrated and irritation-free with a gentle aftershave balm, followed by a fragrance-free moisturizer. Avoid products containing alcohol, which is drying.

But don’t just limit moisturizing to after your shaves; apply moisturizer every morning and at night before you go to sleep.

3. Rinse your face with cold water after shaving

Warm water feels better, but at the end of a shave, splashing your face with cold water closes pores and cuts. It can even prevent ingrown hairs from forming.

4. Clean your blade between strokes

Each stroke you make collects a fresh batch of bacteria, shaving cream, and whiskers. If you don’t rinse your blade before the next stroke, you’re using a blade that’s filled with goop. Because the razor is now dull, you’ll get an uneven cut and may end up pressing down harder to compensate, irritating the skin. Not only that, but the dirty razor will also distribute pore-clogging bacteria. The solution? Simply rinse your blade with water between each stroke.

5. Disinfect the blade with alcohol

Over time, blades dull as mineral crystals from the water form microscopic “teeth” on the edge. These teeth drag across the skin, producing razor burn and cuts. Prevent this process by dipping the blade in rubbing alcohol at the end of your shave. Dip the blade in rubbing alcohol again right before you start your next shave.

6. Natural remedies

Aloe vera – Aloe vera is nature’s gift to irritated skin. It’s a painkiller that reduces swelling while forming a moisturizing barrier to encourage healing. Plus, it naturally contains salicylic acid to destroy bacteria.

Aloe vera cools on contact to sooth razor burn. Apply aloe vera gel on your face and allow to set for 5 – 10 minutes before rinsing off with cool water.

Tea bags – White, green, and black tea contain tannic acid, which is an anti-bacterial, astringent, and antioxidant. Once you’re finished with your morning tea, place the tea bag in the fridge for 10 minutes. Then rub the tea bag over the inflamed skin to calm redness.

Honey – Honey is an antibacterial that reduces swelling and inflammation while moisturizing the skin. Apply honey to skin and leave on for 10 – 15 minutes before rinsing.

Aspirin – Make use of aspirin’s excellent anti-inflammatory properties by creating an aspirin paste. Crush two aspirins in a teaspoon of water, then rub the paste on affected skin. Rinse off after 10 minutes.

7. Use an antibiotic face wash or ointment

Razor burn is caused by bacteria, so eliminate the source with either an antibacterial face wash or ointment.

8. Shave at night

Think about your morning routine. Let’s say you shave, apply aftershave, lotion, and sunscreen before heading out the door. Then you spend a full day out and about, during which time you’re likely to sweat. The sweat, in combination with using multiple products, can make your skin more prone to razor burn.

You are also more likely to come into contact with bacteria and toxins during the day.

Switch to shaving at night so you’re not stressing your skin out right after a shave. Instead, your skin will have a full night to focus on nothing but repair.

9. Remember your environment

If you live in a cold, dry climate, consider using a richer aftershave and moisturizer. If it’s hot and humid, you can get away with using a lighter product. Even if you live somewhere with moderate weather – like California – you may still want to switch up your products depending on the season.

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