Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Things have been kind of bumpy...

You know it's serious if I'm willing to post such a flattering picture of myself in order to solve this problem. I'm officially fed up with shaving. Look at that bloody neck! Just wait until tomorrow, when the blood is gone but it's replaced with what look like giant zits. My face was just not built for shaving.

But shave I must. I have tried lots of solutions. I used to use an electric razor. In college, it actually worked. I don't think my facial hair was as coarse back then, and I also don't think I was ever actually all that cleanly shaven. I've tried an electric razor again recently and it just doesn't cut it. But I have constant razor bumps on my neck, and every time I shave with a regular razor, those bumps become spots of blood which become even bigger, uglier bumps. And I'm serious - I've tried everything! I shaved in the shower for a while. A little better, but not much. For the last couple of years, I actually shave in the bathtub, which is a little better but wastes so much time and water and is just silly. I've tried lots of different shaving creams. I've tried bump-be-gone after shaves. I have avoided shaving against the grain. I've tried shaving slowly and methodically, and I've tried shaving fast and furious. But no matter what ... this is the result.

It's times like this that I wish I had a larger blog readership. I think I'm going to need lots and lots of advice before I solve this problem, and I just don't think I have enough blog readers to offer that advice. But let's try it anyway. Guys, how do you shave? What works for you? Surely some of you have dealt with this! I have resorted to shaving every three or four days recently in order to give my face a few days to recuperate, but I don't really think I should have to spend the rest of my life looking sloppy 75% of the time and looking like a vampire victim the other 25%. This must end! What can I do?!


Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

Question: How often do you shave?

My take: If I shaved every day or every other day, my neck would look like that, too. So I'll e-mail you a possible option you could try that I'm sure a lot of us would love to see.

Another take: If I'm in the mood to take care of myself "up there," then I'm usually shaving every three or four days.

I start with a nice hot shower with plenty of steam. I wash my face last with some kind of face wash or whatever the crap Marie buys.

Then when I get out of the shower, I get the water in the sink nice and hot and use that to wet my whiskers.

Then I apply a liberal amount of shave gel or shaving cream, making sure to give ample coverage of the area to be shaved.

Then I start. I go with the grain and rinse my Gilette Mach 3. But I'll go against the grain, too, always rinsing in between each pass.

I find that the Mach 3's triple blade surface gives me the cleanest smoothest shave a guy could want and with hardly a nick. I just have to wait until there's actually some stubble to shave. Otherwise, I find I'm just scraping skin away, too.

I have an unopened Schick Quattro (four blades) sitting on my bathroom shelf. I'll probably try it someday. And then Gilette came out with the five-bladed Fusion.

What will they think of next?

Spenc said...

I'm with Joe on the Mach 3. I used to have the same problem, but since switching to this razor I haven't had as many issues.

I also wait a looong time between shaves. At most I'm doing it twice a week, but most often it's just once per week.

I'm also not a hairy guy, so my facial hair doesn't grow all that much.

Have you considered seeing a professional barber? You know, Sweeney Todd style, without the death? Maybe it's worth a visit. There's a shave shop in Colombus Circle that I've always thought about going into -- I'd imagine your 'hood has something similar. Check one out!

Love you!

doug said...

Yeah, I've been using the Mach 3 for years. It's the best, there's no doubt. I think guys are nearly unanimous in that opinion; I wonder how other razors stay in business! Anyway, it has helped, but clearly not enough.

Sounds like Joe and Spencer have come to the same conclusion that I thought a grown-up couldn't come to: I simply can't shave daily. It may not always look professional, but it's better than walking around looking like I have a skin disease!

Brian said...


I shave every two-three days. Stubble? Yes. But my face would look tore up if I did it every day. Have you used the Mach 3 razor that vibrates? Using that one in the shower gives me 0 razor burn. If I were you I would start the shower about five minutes before you're ready to get in there and just sit in the bathroom and let the steam open up your pores and hair follicles. It helps.

I would take Spencer's advice and try one of those old barber shop guys.

doug said...

Brian, I was convinced I would get a comment from you making fun of me for posting such a yucky picture of myself. I'm a little astounded. :)

I can't bring myself to run the shower for five minutes before I get into it. That's so wasteful! But I do like the idea of trying the vibrating Mach 3. Is it really that much better than the non-vibrating one?

Also, being shaved by a barber would be fun and so old-fashiony, but clearly that would be a one-time-only just-for-fun thing and wouldn't really solve my ongoing shaving problems.

Joe said...


Also, Gillette.com, for which I apologize for misspelling yesterday, has shaving tips and an interesting marketing tactic for the Fusion Phenom (five blades plus vibrating action).

They obviously want to sell their most expensive razor. But they're dissing the Mach3 that we all know and love. They need to quit harshing the shaving mellow some of us "enjoy."

Joe said...

Apparently, Tiger Woods uses the Fusion Phenom, so if you want your golf game to be as smooth as his, use it, too.

Will and Michelle Ridd said...

That makes me so sad! I wish I still worked at Elase, I would have you come in for some laser hair reduction! Someday when you are rich, you should consider getting a few treatments... I used to get really bad razor burn and bumps (in an area that you don't want to hear your sister talk about), and after a few treatments from the laser my hair grew is so much thinner and slower & I haven't had a single bump since. We had a lot of men come in and just have their necks lasered and most of them were really happy with the results.

Marie said...

I was also going to suggest laser hair removal, at least on your neck. You may not want to do it on your face because it would inhibit your ability to grow a goatee or something. Anyway, I have similar problems with shaving, albeit in different areas. With how infrequently I shave my legs (because of the burn), poor Joe probably feels like he's married to a teenage boy, or maybe a goat. I can't wait for the day when I have enough money for laser hair removal. Hmmm...with a journalist's salary, it might be a while. Bring on the hair!

amelia said...

The second I saw this picture, I knew it was going to be about your shaving woes. Insert sad face here :( Or Doug cut-up sad face :('," Does the DC weather make it worse?

I asked GJ for his advice and he said he can't use old or semi-old blades or he'll cut himself like that. He gets new ones quite often. But he notes "I'm sure Doug isn't using old blades."

GJ also uses an electric razor. He doesn't love it because it's not as close of a shave, but it's quicker. I wonder if using an electric razor a couple days a week would help?

Another thought: Go to a real barber, with the big blade and paintbrush shaving cream thingie, and ask his advice.

King Jimmie said...

Oh Douglas! Your poor neck! I think you're worrying a little too much about always looking perfect, and it's making you look dog-chewed ;) I, like the others, shave once - maybe twice - a week. A subtle hint of stubble is not only acceptable, but usually even sexy, especially on you!

Being that we are blood related, I have been cursed with the same sensitive skin as you - especially on the neck. My method: I bought a beard trimmer from Wal Mart. Before I shave, I use the trimmer with no attachment, and buzz the hair down to mere stubble. I find that the shorter the hair is, the less pulling, knicking, and bleeding I experience. I then fill the sink with wicked hot water, wet my face with said water, and lather up with shaving gel (I always go with gel as I feel it lubricates better.) I then use a - believe it or not - Mach 3, and go nuts, rinsing between every pass. I avoid going over the same area more than two or three times. Once all is said and done, I rinse my face and get in the shower. I find that shaving pre-shower, though possibly unorthodox, helps my face recover from the beating it just endured. Following my shower, I pat my face and neck dry, avoiding rubbing, and apply generous amounts of Kenneth Cole Reaction aftershave - both because it soothes like a mutha, and it smells like heaven, and I like smelling like heaven. But the most important part for me is then waiting at least three days before repeating. If I ever shaved two days in a row, there would be hell to pay. Lay off the frequent shaving and I think your problem will at least subside.

Keep us posted with updates. Let us know what works and what doesn't. And if you'd like, when you come home for Christmas, I can give you personal shaving lessons. I won't even charge!

By the way, since you're gay and all, shouldn't you be really femme, and shouldn't your facial hair - if you even grow any - be all thin and patchy?

Kelly said...

Doug, a couple of recommendations:
1.) Go to a barber and get a real shave, not as a pamperig experience, but as a learning experience. Watch how he does things and ask for advice.
2.) Do you have "Art of Shaving" stores in DC? Look'em up and check'em out. In Denver they are very helpful and willing to teach you to shave. I dunno about you, but no one ever 'taught' me the right way to shave. This is a bigger deal than it sounds.
3.) Products... buy and try a lot. Different brands have different ingredients that can really mess up your skin or make it amazing. Try putting on an oil first, then adding the cream. That did wonders for me.
4.) Try different blades... sometimes a single blade is better. Make sure your blades are new and sharp.
Good luck and keep us posted.

Heidi said...

I know I'm a girl but go to Meltproducts.com and buy theit shave stuff. Its amazing. TRUST.

Chris said...

I feel your pain Doug and if you had seen my face as of late I have just given up and accepted the beard. Even I would never have believed that my peach fuzz face could grow such rough stiff little hairs in its old age. When they get pushed the wrong way it seriously feels like needles in my skin.

The only way that I can even attempt to shave is after I soak my face in hot steamy water. The most convenient time is directly after a hot shower. without the heat to open my pores I would massacre my face. I always go with the grain and do touch ups against the grain to get really close.

I think the key is really the heat. Have you seen how old school barbers will wrap a hot towel on your face for several minutes before they go at it?

Also when you're done you don't really need to close your pores with after shave. Really cold water does it as good as anything.

Good luck with your healing

Brian said...

I'm so sorry to disappoint.
Did I mention that second picture of you is TERRIFYING?

And I can see all the way up your nose.

So there.

Wendy said...

I'm about a couple weeks late, but I just wanted to add my two cents.

I am a freak about hair removal and I want you to know, that even as a girl, I use the Mach3 or the newer Titanium from Gillette! I have also found that the more you pay for shaving cream, the better it really is (I also use men's cream on my legs because it's WAY better than the crap they sell to women). Anyway, my favorite is Nivea (which is pricey, but worthwhile and good on sensitive skin). Neutrogena is another good option for baby-faces!

On another note, I've watched my man shave and he's pretty meticulous about the whole "one-pass" thing Joe was talking about. He says you gotta make sure the blade is perfectly clean or you'll get a nick.

Good luck friend. I'm sorry your face hurts.

(p.s. don't do laser removal until they come up with a better way to do it...as it stands, it prohibits your tanning abilities...and we so wouldn't want to do that)

Babs said...

Hey Doug, it's barb. Random time to leave a comment on your blog, I know but I thought I would chime in as well. You might want to consider buying a lady razor like this - http://images.amazon.com/images/G/01/hpc/detail-page/B000MATKPO-1.jpg

the venus breeze, it has the extra shave gel bar things that are a kind of nice buffer zone thing. Give it a shot!