Razor Bumps Suck!
The battle of black men and razor bumps has been ongoing for centuries! So, this post is serious business! Why? Because this subject is very dear to my heart. As a teenager I couldn’t wait to a grow a beard, and whenever I’d say that, I’d get a response like, “what the hell is wrong with you?” Now–at age 24–I understand why I got responses like that. IT’S BECAUSE HAVING A BEARD SUCKS! Also, as black men (or any type of man/woman that grows tightly curled hair), you’re more prone to getting razor bumps from shaving your hairs with a razor. I’ve learned this lesson time and time again due to my uncanny ability to quickly forget, but finally I’ve found a legitimate solution:
Before I continue any further, I want to make a little disclaimer that I’m not being sponsored by any company or anything like that, I just felt like I needed to clarify this subject since the current information on the internet about black men, beard shaving, and razor bumps isn’t too cohesive.
Okay, now let’s get back to Magic Shave. This stuff is dope! For some reason, I was initially hesitant to use this stuff (it was sitting on my shelf for 4 months before I actually used it), but I’m happy that I decided to give it a try 3 weeks ago. It really helped me out with eliminating and preventing razor bumps.
What is Magic Shave for black men (or curly-haired men/women)?
Normally, you’d cut your hair, which is considered physical hair removal. Magic Shave is a depilatory cream, which means that it works by chemical hair removal. Don’t worry, though, it’s safe. People tend to hear “chemical” and think bad things, but the term chemical doesn’t always have to have a negative connotation. This stuff safely helps you remove your hair so that razor bumps can be avoided.
How does Magic Shave work for black men (or curly-haired men/women)?
Magic Shave comes in a powder form (gold can) or in cream form (pre-mixed tube). I bought the gold can initially and had success with shaving, but the process of mixing it was very messy and annoying. I ended up going out and buying the cream form thinking it’d be easier since it was pre-mixed. It was easier, but it was SUPER weak, and none of my hair came off. I wasted $5. I suggest buying the gold can since it’s stronger, and if you continue reading, I’ll give you a great technique for mixing it!
What’s the best way to use Magic Shave for black men (or curly-haired men/women)?
The gold can of magic shave is better than the pre-mixed tube because it is stronger. I found the best way to use this stuff is to follow the directions, but adjust accordingly. What do I mean by this? Well, the directions are a bit vague, which is frustrating, but I found that they were enough to guide me down the right path. Here’s how I feel about each step of the directions, what I feel should be listened to, and what I think should be adjusted:
Don’t forget: DO NOT WASH YOUR FACE BEFORE USING THIS CREAM
Mix 2 heaping teaspoons of shaving powder with an equal amount of cool water.
I don’t know what the hell this really means, but what I do is get a semi-deep jar and dump in two random regular kitchen spoon measurements of the powder. Then I slowly add water while mixing like crazy. Remember that you are trying to make this powder have the consistency of a paste. Don’t use too much water. ADD WATER SLOWLY. Also, I use a semi-deep jar so that I can aggressively mix the stuff with a spoon while avoiding a mess.
Apply the creamy (pasty) mixture to beard. Leave on for 5-7 minutes. Remoisten if the mixture dries.
Okay, this makes sense. I use my fingers to apply the stuff since it allows me to feel the contours of my jaw line and make sure all of the hairs on my face have cream applied to them. The 5-7 minutes thing varies. If you’re hair isn’t super coarse and you have really sensitive skin then I’d say leave it on for 5-7 minutes. Personally, I leave it on somewhere between 12-15 minutes. MAKE SURE YOU DON’T LET THIS STUFF GET DRY. Figure out a creative way to keep it moistened after you’ve applied it to your beard, but make sure that you keep it all on your beard!
Remove with spatula. Rinse shaving area thoroughly. Do not wash off with soap.
They’re not joking about this, but don’t use a spatula. I actually find it easy to use a credit card (clean, of course) or some type of slim/flat object. DON’T SCRAPE YOUR FACE WITH THE FLAT OBJECT. Instead, just glide it on your face and let it take whatever it can off. Get the rest of the hairs off with a damp warm cloth. Rise your face with water after. NO SOAP. After this, though, I would apply that Neutrogena lotion to your face. This will make sure that razor bumps don’t get a chance to form.
If any beard remains, wait 36 hours before next Magic Shaving Powder application.
I’d listen to them, but use your judgement.
Some information about me:
I think it’s important to understand some things about me in order to see that these methods will most likely work. First of all, I’m Nigerian. To reference Lil Wayne’s “A Milli,” there aren’t many things that are “tougher than Nigerian hair”! That being said, I’m sure that I have the curliest/coarsest hair type that you can get, and Magic Shave still works. It should be noted, though, that if your hair isn’t as course as mine, then you should apply less of the Magic Shave/use it for less time. Personally, though, this has really helped me with razor bumps. I simply don’t get them any more.
Post-Magic-Shave Care for black men (or curly-haired men/women):
Just because you’ve found a way to get the hairs off your face without irritating your skin doesn’t mean that you still can’t get ingrown hairs/razor bumps! Once I saw that Magic Shave worked for the first time, I was excited and just left it at that. Bad idea. Two days later, I had razor bumps (although not as bad as when I shaved with a razor), and I wondered why. I came to realize that my hair was still growing with its normal super curly pattern, which is what causes it to grow right back into my skin and cause an ingrown hair.
I speculated about the pathology of razor bumps (I know. I’m a dork. I’m in medical school, I can’t help it!), and I decided that it was similar enough to the pathology of acne. I used some of my girlfriend’s Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Treatment, Clear Skin Cream for a few days and it worked great! I decided to start looking into the major ingredient of most acne creams and I found out that it’s salicylic acid. Ring a bell?
Salicylic acid is basically Aspirin, but it has amazing effects on acne/ingrown hairs. To keep it simple, salicylic acid promotes the sloughing away of dead skin. Why is this important? Because dead skin cells clog your pores and stop your hair from growing freely, which causes your hairs to grow back toward the skin and cause ingrown hairs.
This is STILL not enough to prevent razor bumps, though. I tried using my girlfriend’s cream without anything else and the bumps were still there, although VERY diminished. What I decided to do next was to assist the Neutrogena cream with the sloughing away of my dead skin cells. How did I do this? I bought a face scrub wash that would let me manually scrub away dead skin cells and also give my coarse and curly hairs room to grow. It worked. I ultimately ended up doing a lot of research, and I decided to buy a Neutrogena facial scrub with 2% salicylic acid. I also decided to buy a different cream (my girlfriend’s was good, but I found a better one), which is also made by Neutrogena and also has 2% salicylic acid. See the pattern? Salicylic acid is the key! I’ve had no serious razor bumps since doing all of this, and I thought that was something I’d NEVER be able to say!
Note: YOU HAVE TO WASH YOUR FACE/APPLY THE LOTION AT LEAST TWO TIMES A DAY (I’d suggest morning and night). Honestly, you have to keep up with this. I missed two days of washing my face with the scrub/applying the lotion, and razor bumps started to reappear. Keep up with it, and you won’t have a problem!
Where can you buy all these products to stop razor bumps for black men (or curly-haired men/women)?
You can find all of these products in your local CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens, Walmart, or any other pharmacy-type store. However, they are more expensive in-store than online, so I’d recommend buying them at Amazon, and if you have an Amazon-prime account, you can also get free 2-day shipping:
Soft Sheen Carson Magic Shaving Powder (Gold Can)
I hope this helps someone because I sure wish I knew all of this before I started growing facial hair. Lastly, check out this little tutorial video some guy made on YouTube. He uses the cream, which I don’t recommend, but all the other procedures are right on!