"What are ingrown hairs?”
Ingrown hairs can be a major problem for black skin types. This is where stubble grows back in on itself after shaving to form small and many times painful "razor bumps”. This can occur in any skin type but is especially common in black skin because of the naturally curly nature of the hair. The easiest way to prevent ingrown hairs is to use an exfoliating face scrub before shaving. The scrub clears away the dead skin cells and debris that interferes with growth. Also, always shave in the direction of hair growth rather than against the grain. This can cause the hairs to become trapped below the skin's surface, resulting in ingrown hairs. If possible, purchase a face scrub that’s organic. I recommend Blu Skin Care’s USDA certified organic "Oat-Flax Facial Cleanser" ($25). It’s an exfoliant but it’s gentle enough to use twice a day. It’s made with oatmeal and flaxseed that does an all-star job of sopping up oil and dirt from the skin.
"DON'T FORGET TO USE A MOISTURIZER AND SUNSCREEN"
There’s a misconception that black people don’t need moisturizer or sun protection. Although, dark skin tones contain more melanin, which has a small amount of natural protection, sunscreen is still needed.
On days when you’re likely to be exposed to the sun for an extended period of time, make sure you use a moisturizer with a minimum SPF-15 sunscreen, A great product is Blu Skin Care’s USDA certified “Organic Whipped Coconut-Green Tea Moisturizer.” It contains coconut oil which is a natural sun protector and moisturizer at the same time.
- Applying an all-natural shaving lotion after shaving will reduce the appearance of redness.
- Be sure to always use a clean blade when shaving with a razor. This can be best achieved by only using new blades and discarding ones that have been previously used three or more times.
- If you use an electric razor, replace the rotary blades or foil after a few months. Of course if you're required to shave daily, you may have to replace them sooner.
- While shaving with a handheld razor, always shave in the direction of hair growth. Most hair on men's faces, slant downward, so be sure to shave in that direction. This is also important around the neck areas since shaving against the grain is one of the main causes of pointy, sharp hairs that can burrow back into the skin.
- Don't stretch your skin while shaving. Pulling your cheeks, chin or neck while shaving in order to get a closer shave, can cause darkness and discoloration of underlying skin tissue. This is especially true for light and fair-skinned Black men who have dark, coarse hair.
- Watch what you eat. A lot of skin irritations may subside if certain foods are avoided. Fatty foods, foods containing oils, cholesterol and sodium, can make your skin more susceptible to damage while shaving.
"How to use aftershave lotion”
Squeeze or spray a small amount of aftershave into the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together and apply the aftershave to the shaved area, including your neck. Use only a small dime-sized amount to avoid a harsh “cologne" scent.
"How are you cutting your hair?"
Which haircut is right for your skin? At the end of the day it’s all about swag and doing what you love and not what some magazine says. Personality and overall style is something the best hairstylist can’t help you with. Hair grows back. It’s all about having fun with looks and fashion.