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Razor Bumps: An Unnecessary Evil

May 22, 2008
I have interviewed many African-American men, everyone from doctors to retail clerks, Police officers to barbers, even a-list actors and models. The one thing that all of these men had in common regardless of education, age, or socio-economic status was that many of them had a problem with razor bumps. These men were all otherwise extremely well groomed, with the flyest clothes, and the most beautiful women on their arms. So, I always wondered, with all of this going for them, why in the world would they settle for not having the smoothest skin? Why do brothers accept razor bumps as a necessary evil?

The truth of the matter is, if you are using a straight edge razor correctly, then there is no reason in the world that you should ever get razor bumps. It's ironic that although African-American men spend more time and attention on grooming and looking good than anyone else, black men are the ones who suffer from razor bumps the most.

In today's image conscious world, first impressions mean everything. And it is true what they say; you never get a second chance to make a first impression. It's like having an Armani suit with some Chuck Taylors on. You wouldn't do that. Why? Because just like shoes are part of the total package, so is your skin. And, it's apparent that men are starting to understand that because they are spending now, more than ever, on male grooming, skin care, and hair products. In fact men are spending more than $4 billion dollars a year on such vanity products and services.

Razor bumps don't just look bad they feel even worse. They are painful, irritating, and they can itch. A firefighter once told me that his razor bumps were interfering with the necessary tight seal on his oxygen mask. Of course, this is an extreme example of the problem, but razor bumps are extremely uncomfortable, especially with anything like a tight collar, or anything else rubbing against them.

But don't just think of razor bumps on the face or on the neck, razor bumps can attack anywhere you shave. That means if you shave your back or if you are doing a bald head fade, or even sporting a completely bald head, then you need to make sure you are shaving the right way and taking the necessary preventative steps to keep those razor bumps at bay. So, when men ask me what they should do to avoid razor bumps my answer is always the same:

1) Prevent razor bumps before they start by using lots of warm water to soften and moisturize hair before shaving whether we're talking about your head, your face, your neck or anywhere else on your body.

2) Always lather hair to trap in moisture and lubricate the skin and tweeze ingrown hairs in the direction of hair growth.

3) Be sure to always shave in (and not against) the direction of hair growth.

4) Use an aftershave everywhere you shave, every time you shave.

Remember, at least seventeen value judgments are made in the first 11 seconds when you first meet someone. So, be sure to put your best face forward at all times and make the most of every impression, be it the first, second, or last. You should always be well styled, well groomed, and smooth. Be smooth from head to toe, especially your face.
About the Author
By Will Williams, Bump Patrol's Director of Education and Licensed Master Barber. Visit Bump Patrol resource site for more shaving tips at www.BumpPatrol.com.
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