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Skincare 101: The Perfect Shave

You’ve had a razor in your hand for years, but it never hurts to sharpen your skills. Consider these six tips the refresher course you need to get that super-close, irritation-free shave you’ve been striving for.

3. The Right Prep

A quality shave cream or gel is key to a smooth shave. Skip alcohol-based products, which dry out skin, and look for moisturizing ingredients, like glycerin, instead. Chamomile and aloe are also both natural anti-inflammatories that calm and hydrate skin. Try Nivea Sensitive Shaving Gel ($3, drugstore.com) or Edge Sensitive Skin Shave Gel ($4, soap.com). Also look for earthy products that contain marshmallow, green tea, calendula, and evening primrose extracts--all help ease minor cuts and fight razor burn, irritation, and itchiness.

Picking the right product for your skin type also keeps your face at its softest (and prevents redness or irritation).

  • Guys with sensitive or dry skin should pick shave gels, which are more hydrating than creams. Try Gillette Fusion ProGlide Irritation Defense Shave Gel ($3, drugstore.com).
  • Guys with oily skin should go for creams—their richer lather protects skin and allows blades to get closer to skin. Try Gillette Classic Shave Foam ($3, cvs.com).
  • Guys with normal skin are good with either gels or creams. Just look for those moisturizing ingredients.

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4. The Technique

Shaving after a hot shower is best since steam opens up pores and softens coarse hairs, two things that make for an overall smoother shave. Use warm to hot water to lather up your cream or gel. Then use long, even strokes to move the razor  in the direction of hair growth—this is the best tactic  for preventing razor burn and ingrown hairs. To finish off an extra-close shave, re-lather your face and gently shave against the grain. Think slow and steady to prevent cuts.

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