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Move over! There’s someone else trying to use the bathroom mirror, and it’s not your wife with that loud hair dryer of hers. Your little boy is growing up. He’s got some stubble, and he wants you to teach him how to shave. What do you do now?
Us old pros may have our own way of shaving. Some of us shave in horizontal motions to shape the beard and mustache. Some of us have no qualms about shaving against the grain because we know that our coarse hair takes extra effort to shave off. Like many other areas of life, we have a tendency to throw caution to the wind sometimes because we know what we are doing.
Personal preference aside, it’s best to teach your son how to do things in the conventionally right way. Especially considering he’s probably just got a little peach fuzz compared to your manly mane, your son will need to be very gentle when he shaves because his supple skin will be far less forgiving than yours.
Practice Makes Perfect
Anyone who is new at something will likely make mistakes, but no one wants to watch their son mutilate their face. Shaving is not an instinct, and a practice session on an object that can’t feel or bleed makes the whole process a lot better. Some people use a balloon to practice shaving. A fruit like an apple or a banana may even work. Of course, all of these are rough surfaces, so be sure to be safety conscious about the possibility of cutting oneself with a razor.
Spread shaving cream on the object, and allow your son to get a feel for how the razor glides. If he damages the object, he knows that he’s applying too much pressure. It's better to learn that lesson one thing than on oneself.
The Principles of Preparation
Have your son start the process by splashing warm water on his face. This opens up the pores, which makes the shaving process much easier. Then, lubricate the skin with shaving cream. Shaving gel works too. For newbies, anything that foams up into a thick lather is best because they need plenty of room for error.
Convey that the shaving cream helps the razor to glide across the face without digging into the skin. Teach him that even if all of the hair is not removed from an area, he should not use several passes of the razor on an area without shaving cream. While you don’t want him building a beard out of shaving cream, help your son to understand that he may need to apply more from time to time.
Some guys like to apply pre-shave oil before shaving cream. The simple life Smoky Mountain Beard oil makes a great pre-shave oil. This is a step it’s probably best to skip if your son is prone to breakouts or has oily skin.
The Basics of Shaving
It is best to shave with the lightest possible pressure. You’ve got to press hard enough to remove the hair, but we all know that pressing too hard can lead to nicks and scrapes. Shave in straight downward strokes away from precious parts like the nose and eyes. Help your son to understand that he does not have to shave an acre at a time. He can make his strokes much shorter than the length of his face.
Rinse off the razor after each stroke. When all of the shaving cream is removed, splash some cold water on the face. This closes the pores and reduces the possibility of inflammation that can come along naturally from the process of shaving.
Then, take a step to nourish the skin. Some people like to use aftershave. (Make sure your son understands that most aftershaves contain alcohol, so it will sting if he’s got any cuts in his face. You don’t want a Home Alone moment! (Shaving creams without alcohol are much better for the skin anyway) A sparing amount of the simple life beard oil spread across the skin after a shave feels good and gives the skin a boost.
When it comes to the shaving creams and post-shave products you use, keep in mind that teenage skin is different from grown man skin. Teens are more prone to breakouts, and some scents and ingredients may just be too harsh for their skin. While it will be nice to one day pass along the family favorite aftershave brand to your son, your growing boy may need to start with something a little less harsh for his first shave.
It’s never a bad idea to do a spot test. Have your son apply a little bit of the product to the inside of his elbow. Observe the area and make sure that there are no bumps, itchiness, pain, or redness, which are all signs that the product irritates his skin. Sometimes, irritation and allergic reactions take about a day to become apparent.
Here’s a pro tip! Do not start your son out using a straight blade. A razor is far safer for someone who is still developing steady hands. Some teens thrive with an electric razor, but plenty do just fine with a handheld razor, whether it's disposable or not.
Teach your son about hygiene. Make sure he understands how to properly clean his razor. Teach him not to share razors with family or friends, and teach him the proper way to clean himself up and prevent infection when those inevitable nicks and scrapes come along.
If your son has acne or any other skin condition that causes frequent breakouts, talk to his dermatologists about best practices for him. People with acne can still shave, but you want to find methods that will not needlessly irritate the skin.
Teaching your son to shave will likely be one of the most memorable bonding moments you have with him on his not so long path to adulthood. Make it a wonderful memory, and he’ll think of you for years to come.