My bikini line woes are public knowledge; a quick Google search of my name will likely give you pages of results about ingrown hairs. Generally, I write about ways to treat ingrown hairs, but today we're talking about a shaving system that prevents ingrown hairs, particularly for afro-textured hair. Until Bevel Shaving System was delivered to my doorstep, I thought the only way I could rid myself of ingrowns was to have laser hair removal. While laser hair removal is incredibly enticing, it can be expensive and time consuming. Frankly, I just want to shave.
The main thing about Bevel Shaving System that gained my trust was that the shaving system was made for people of color, specifically targeting the afro-textured hair community. Curly, coily hair is more likely to grow back into the skin, causing inflammation and ingrown hairs. Even if you are a non-shaver, the hair can naturally grow back into the skin causing you to wonder WTF you did to deserve this kind of unsightly problem.
I've tried too many razors with false promises to relieve the shaving problems that plague my bikini line. This was my first attempt at shaving with a single-blade razor. I must admit, I was nervous to use a single blade because of my own clumsiness and hatred of following written instructions. Before I shaved, I needed to calm my nerves and find out why this shaving kit was different than the others: I spoke with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry who gave Bevel a stamp of approval and provided a wealth of knowledge on safely removing kinky hair with a blade. Here's everything you need to know about shaving afro-textured hair.
1. Be Realistic About The Amount of Hair You're Removing
One of the many reasons that I've butchered an entire patch of skin while shaving is because I ignored the fact that I have an excessive amount of hair going on, typically out of laziness. Dr. Henry says that it can be harder to find the root of the hair if the hair is longer than a centimeter long. Yes, I can attest to blindly shaving in several directions because I can't see through a mass of curls. So trim the hair so you can see the direction of the hair before you start shaving. This was an especially important tip for the bikini area that I avoided all winter.
2. Soften The Hair Like It's the Hair On Your Head
TBH, when I saw everything that was included in the kit, my first thought was "Nahhh, I just use razor!" Like I said, I've never been good at following instructions. The priming oil softens the hair, making it easier to remove with a razor. Since curly hair tends to be coarser, this is a crucial first step in shaving with any type of razor.
3. Take The Extra Time To Prep Your Shaving Cream
While you can use Bevel shave cream right out of its matte tube, Dr. Henry recommends pouring the cream into a bowl and giving it a stir to make a lathering cream. Next, wet the shaving brush in your kit and apply a small amount of shave cream onto the brush — this basically gives it the potential to lather while you shave. If you're used to suds in your skincare, this will be the route you want to go. Always one to skip steps, I can see myself applying the cream directly on the damp brush otherwise.
4. This Single-Blade Razor Is Unlike Your Old Drug Store Razor
The Bevel razor handled differently than the brightly colored, drug-store brands of my past. According to Dr. Henry, the difference between a single and multi-blade razor is that multi blades shave at different angles. "[The multiblade razors] makes it easier for curly hair to grow back in the skin. The single blade will create a blunt end and make it harder for the hair to grow back in," she says/ The single blade helps prevent curly hair from curling and bending as it grows back which often leads to those painful bumps of razor burn.
5. Handle Your Razor Like It's A Weapon... Because It Is
On the day I used my kit, I confidently got my tools together, ready to shave my previous botched hair removal attempts out of my memory. That was until my sister pointed out that the razor did not have a blade in it. After I watched her insert the blade, in confusion, I grabbed it and immediately nicked my finger. Seriously. Even when you are just handling your blades, be extremely careful.
6. ...This Applies to Shaving As Well
Unlike other single blade razors, the Bevel razor is weighted. This is actually a huge perk to your shaving experience because you won't need to apply as much pressure on your razor while you shave. Applying a ton of pressure while you shave doesn't result in a closer shave, according to Bustle's Miki Hayes. "All it does it collect even more dead skin cells in your blades and cause more friction and therefore irritation than normal." When you use Bevel's weighted razor, Dr. Henry suggests staying at a 30 degree angle and gliding the razor over the desired area using the momentum and weight of the razor. "Respect the blade, especially on the bikini line and armpits," she says. These areas of the body tend to have more dips and angles that can make it easier to nick and cut.
7. Be Especially Sensitive To Existing Ingrown Hairs
There have been times where I've been shaving over the same ingrown hair for months hoping that good intention and luck will somehow relieve the inflammation. Dr. Henry advises to proceed with caution over existing ingrowns. "Avoid actively inflamed hairs so you don't tear or scrape the ingrown hair [and] use the aftershave to pull the hair out naturally," she tells me. While I had no concerns about my legs, when I moved onto my bikini line, I avoided areas that I knew were struggling.
8. Don't Be Mesmerized By Your Results While You Shave
I started with my legs, the area that has never caused me the slightest bit of grief in regards to ingrown hairs and razor burn. After effortlessly gliding over my right leg and becoming incredibly confident in my shaving abilities, I picked up the speed on my left leg, forgetting about a keloid on my shin that instantly was nicked by the blade. Fortunately, there was zero pain involved and I only noticed when I completed my shave. As Dr. Henry mentioned, respect for the blade is crucial.
9. Rinse Your Blade In Between Sections
While the blade didn't appear to get duller during shaving, I noticed a good amount of build-up from the removed hair and product on my skin. I used a cup filled with warm water to rinse my blade after each section. Before I started another area of my body, I rinsed the blade completely underneath running water.
10. Respect Your Newly Smooth Skin
I wasn't surprised to find the products slightly drying because I'm used to shaving and washing with oils. After my shave, I applied the restoring balm and let it settle before using my daily body moisturizer. The restoring balm is basically an aftershave, but I was happy that it didn't tingle and burn like most aftershaves I've purchased in the past. Dr. Henry recommends using the restoring balm daily, especially on the days you aren't shaving to further avoid ingrown hairs.
11. The Results Make Shaving More Often Totally Worth It
If you are someone who finds shaving to be a daunting task, I'm sorry to tell you that, according to Dr. Henry, shaving daily or every other day will help prevent bumps and ingrown hairs. Not only is shorter hair easier to cut with a blade, but if you have coarse or curly hair and allow it to grow too long, it can begin to curl back into the skin's surface. While it seems like a serious commitment, I have found when I am shaving regularly, it's far less time-consuming then when I have lengthy hair. Of course, seeing my legs in their first pair of short shorts of the season definitely means I'm going to be shaving more often.
Image: Kristin Collins Jackson (12)