Skincare and shaving can present a unique set of challenges for black men. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, up to 60% of black men experience ingrown hairs. Sure, shaving bumps happen to most guys. But, African-American men tend to have courser, tightly curled facial hairs that are more likely to curve and grow back into the skin, leading to painful irritation and inflammation. Since there’s no full-proof way to prevent them, it’s important that black men have a good shaving and skincare routine that can deliver a clear, smooth complexion. We asked are our in-house men’s skincare experts to walk us through the do’s and don’ts of shaving and skincare for black men and how to get rid of bumps and ingrowns on the face and neck.
Exfoliate. At least twice a week using a scrub or mask to lift the layer of dead skin cells. Grooming Lounge Mug Scrubber is a gentle formula with environmentally-friendly Jojoba Beads and Allantoin that prevents skin irritation and enhances moisture retention. The gentle scrubbing beads uproot stubborn ingrown hairs, clear out deep-rooted dirt and oil while softening coarse beard hair for an easier shave.
Don’t: Use a scrub, mask or any cleanser filled with nasty and abrasive chemicals that bother an already inflamed face.
Wash up. When it comes to skincare for black men, it’s important to find a face wash tailored to your skin type. The right formulation shouldn’t leave your face feeling dry and tight after you use it. If your skin is slick and oily, use a cleanser that is oil-free or oil reducing, but not one that strips all the moisture from your dermis. Kiehl’s Oil Eliminator Face Wash contains salicylic acid that helps to shrink acne and razor bumps. It cleanses without disrupting the skin’s natural PH balance.
Don’t: Use the same bar of soap on your face that you use on your body. You know better.
Prep before shaving. No matter your ethnic background, prepping your skin and softening your course beard hair is the key to a close, comfortable shave. A steamy shower and pre-shave oil like our Grooming Lounge Beard Master Shave Oil, cocktailed with a nourishing, best-in-class shave cream will eliminate razor drag by creating a smoother surface. The razor blade will glide easily over your face and redness and razor burn will be noticeably reduced.
Don’t: Don’t ever drag the razor across your face without a protective barrier between your skin and the blade. Ouch!
Switch to a safety razor. The key to cutting back on razor burn and irritation is to minimize the friction between your blade and skin. A safety razor has a very sharp well-angled blade that requires fewer passes over the skin even when taking down course hair. Make sure you have a fresh blade that will easily cut down your whiskers as dull blades also cause tugging and pulling. It’s also important to note that the longer a blade sits out, the more likely it is to collect breakout-causing bacteria. Replace it when needed. There is no “best razor for black skin” but we’d recommend taking a peek at the Merkur 34C or Parker 99R if you’re going to give a safety razor a shot.
Don’t: Shave against the grain. When going against the grain, the blade changes the angle of the hair, causing it to curl back into the skin and create ingrown hairs. If you need a closer shave, go across the grain.
Treat. Enter our Grooming Lounge The Shavior, the ultimate solution to razor bumps, burn and ingrown hairs. It’s specially formulated for areas of intense irritation after shaving. This spot treatment and after-shave lotion absorbs instantly into the skin to neutralize the residual bacteria that seeps into pores. Chamomile, a core ingredient, immediately calms down post-shave inflammation and soothes painful irritation. The superstar ingredient, Glycolic Acid, thickens the layers of skin and makes it less likely to break out in the future while exfoliating and releasing uncomfortable ingrown hairs. Just dab it on where needed and let it work its magic. Presto! Hands down the best aftershave product for black men or any man who suffers from razor bumps.
Don’t: If you’re a fan of getting your shave at the local barbershop make sure the barber doesn’t use any alcohol-related solutions which can irritate sensitive skin big-time.
Moisturize. Get the right formula for your skin type, apply in the morning and at night before bed and you will balance the amount of oil your skin produces. And YES! The best skincare for black men includes sunscreen. While it’s true, black men have more melanin in their skin making them more resilient to the sun (and sunburn), the sun is still damaging. In fact, African-Americans are at a greater risk of skin diseases because it is more difficult to detect abnormalities or they find out too late. Be safe and slather on an SPF 15 or higher if you’re going to be under the sun for a good chunk of time. Urth Face Balm with SPF 15 hydrates and protects with a fusion of herbal extracts, pure essential oils, and vitamins C, D, and A.
Don’t: Don’t use a body lotion on your mug. The skin on your face is much thinner. Facial moisturizers are formulated to be thinner and lighter so that they absorb more quickly.