It’s sounds easy when people suggest that you whiz it all off but this is the one big decision you can make with your hair and, crucially, the one that you can’t undo. You may have spent the last decade styling, cutting or teasing your hair in a certain way to disguise the thinning but you always knew the inevitable will happen. The day will come when you have to take action and do it.
If you’re planning scalp micro-pigmentation, known as SMP, then a close shave is more than likely. During this process, a SMP practitioner will insert pigments into the scalp to create the illusion of a shaved head. Although it can work on disguising thinning on clients that have longer head, the best results are on those that have chosen to buzz cut their existing hair.
Whether you’re contemplating SMP or not, the shave is the one big thing you can do to take back control and bring an end to this issue that’s been niggled you for all these years. You first shave isn’t something I recommend doing on your own the first time and I would strongly recommend consulting your barber or stylist. A shave can be a number one clipper cut that brings your hair to very short tight cut or a wet shave that actually removes all the hair. I went step one first and then progressed onto step two some months later.
This is a big step and when I had my first ‘whiz off’ I went to my local barber the morning I was taking a flight to Kathmandu with some friends for a three-week trek around Annapurna in Nepal. I knew would get some time to get used to my new look and I would get a bit of colour to my face, so I would have a healthy glow when I got back to the real world. When I returned to work three weeks later, my new look didn’t seem like a big deal and everyone just remarked on how well I looked.
When approaching a wet shave I now adopt the a three stage process – after a few weeks of this I’ve got the process down to less than five minutes. I’m assuming you’ve clippered your hair before you start – don’t ever wet shave a full head of hair.
Step 1: Preparation
I always shave after a warm shower; this softens the follicles and makes the head less sensitive. I use a good quality shaving cream with moisturiser and and I also go for one of those brands that’s for sensitive skin. I let the foam do its business for a couple of minutes which further softens the hair. The prep is vital, don’t rush it.
Step 2: Shave
I’ve got a free standing mirror that I can pick up and use to see my head from all angles so make sure you have a hand mirror of some sort. Also, it might sound obvious, but make sure you’ve got good lighting too.
One thing I learned early on was to keep a really sharp razor. I used to make a razor on my face last a week to ten days – if you’re doing your head you should bear in mind that you’re doing a lot of shaving. Although you’re going to save money on barbering and products, your razor bill is going to go up! A clean, sharp razor minimises ingrown hairs and skin problems.
Don’t shave against the grain of the hair and the key is to let the razor do the work and feel it glide. Avoid pressure and keep the razor well rinsed. Like with your face you will find the right pattern to follow and what feels most comfortable. The key is to take your time, particularly early on. Behind the ears and the base of the neck is often the areas that are missed. Finish off with some cool water to close up the pores.
Step 3: Protect
I dry using a towel in a dabbing motion and moisturise with a non-alcohol shave balm. As with shaving your face the act of shaving removes skin oils so this should be replaced and I always go for a quality brand. I always finish off with a light sun block no matter what the weather and when on holiday I use the strongest factor I can find.
Shaving daily keeps you looking good and will very quickly become part of your routine. After a few months you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this years earlier.