The Beard Is Dead

At men-ü, we recently conducted some extensive research into the grooming habits of men up and down the country and it revealed a number of interesting insights – none more so than those to do with the act of shaving.

Recent years have seen an increase in the number of men opting for a beard, (reflected in a 5% decline in razor blade sales), but that looks like it may be changing. In fact, 60% of men in the UK now opt for a clean shaven look, whilst less than a quarter (23%) are bearded. This is also reflective of the preference of women in the UK. A tiny 9% of women say they like bearded men! Compared to more than two thirds (64%) who would rather their man wore a clean shave.

Shaving is generally considered an easy process with 97% of men saying they know how to shave. Despite this perception some simple but fundamental errors are being made. More than four in ten (43%) of men didn’t know that hair around the neck area often grows in different directions and needs to be shaved accordingly. This lack of knowledge could be leading many men to bad shaves and irritated skin. Shaving against the growth of hair can cause damage and lead to redness and blotchiness.

But men are aware they lack knowledge with regard to shaving and skincare and are keen to learn more from experts. A huge 88% of men said that they thought more education on shaving would be beneficial. And they are right as the majority of men (88%) said they shave simply to achieve smooth skin, and (69%) find shaving a chore. But when done correctly shaving has some excellent benefits for the skin. The process removes up to two layers of dead skin cells which is great exfoliation that women can only dream of. More than one in three (38%) men were completely unaware of this!

The perfect shave is about following a four step process, paying close attention to each one with good quality products.

Step One – Exfoliate

When a man shaves, the razor removes up to two layers of dead skin cells –which is brilliant exfoliation for the skin. This process is important as it is these dead skin cells, combined with oil and dirt on the skin surface that block pores which results in break outs. Selecting a good quality shave crème with the right active ingredients is imperative, look out for an ingredient called dimethacone, this provides the greatest degree of slip, allowing the razor to glide over the skin causing the least amount of irritation.

Step Two – Deep Cleanse

Following the exfoliation process, it is important the skin is thoroughly cleansed. This removes any lingering hairs, dirt and loose dead skin cells – all of which can result in break outs if left on the skin. A facial wash is recommended at this stage. Finish by rinsing the skin with cold water to close the pores.

Step Three – Tone

Men have more active sebaceous glands than women, which brings positives and negatives for men. Sebaceous glands secrete oil onto the skin which acts as a natural moisturiser, so as a result – men tend to have better nourished skin than women. However, these natural oils can also block the pores. A toning product is key to bring down the levels of oil on the skin.

Step Four – Condition

There are all kinds of factors that can lead to skin drying out. The face is exposed to all kinds of elements, which can swiftly result in a loss of moisture in the skin. Moisturising is therefore a key step in the shave/skincare routine. Apply moisturisers with clean hands and massage gently into the skin.

Following these simple steps will guarantee a comfortable, close shave without any of the skin irritation many men suffer with, whilst also providing thorough exfoliation.