How to Shave Without Leaving a Shadow

Shaving cream makes a close shave less painful.
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If you're always left with stubbly shadow after a shave, don't give up on getting cleaner, smoother skin -- you just need to perfect your technique. While there technically isn't a right or a wrong way to shave, changing your approach can give you a closer shave and finally get rid of that persistent stubble. When you go after a close shave, though, be careful, or you could trade your shadow for a bad case of razor burn.

Treat yourself to a heavy dose of moist heat. Heat and moisture prime your hair and your skin for a close shave -- they soften the follicles, open your pores and relax the muscles in your face. Shave in a hot shower or give your face a hot washcloth soak for a few minutes.

Massage in a moisturizing shaving cream, lotion or gel. Work up a nice lather to stimulate your facial muscles, which pushes up the hair and makes it easier to get a close shave. Moisturizing products help your skin stay lubricated while you shave, so your razor won't catch and drag as much.

Shave with the grain for one or two passes, and then against. Shaving against the grain cuts closer, but may also increase skin irritation afterward, so save it for last. The important thing is to go over your face as few times as possible. Use a new, sharp razor and take long strokes, rinsing the blades with hot water in between.

Rinse your skin with cool water to tighten your facial muscles and close your pores back up, and then gently pat your skin dry with a clean towel. Your skin will be sensitive after getting a close shave, and rubbing it dry will only make it worse.

Moisturize your skin. Giving yourself a close shave leaves the skin dry and raw; if you don't moisturize, it can get red and irritated. If you apply aftershave, choose one without alcohol, which can burn that sensitive skin.

Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.