Since I am not an expert on this, I will prevail to the genius of Paula Begoun, cosmetic reviewer extrordinaire. Following is an excerpt from her book The Beauty Bible.
The following tips are the basics of a great, smooth shave.
* It is essential for your skin to be wet for at least 2 to 3 minutes , or longer before starting.
* Find a razor that works well for your skin.
* When it comes to shaving creams, those that contain emollients work perfectly on the skin. You can use regular hair conditioner as well.
* For best results, shave against the growth of the hair.
* After you are done, do not use a washcloth or loofah. They can cause irritation or create problems.
* Once you are out of the shower or bath, dab your skin dry gently.
* Apply a moisturizer over slightly damp skin.
Preventing Red Bumps:
As many woment know, in addition to the occasional nicks and cuts incurred during shaving, it isn't unusual to also have an aftermath of uncomfortable and unattractive razor bumps (red, inflamed blemishes), particularly along the bikini line. Hair follicles are attached to oil glands, and both are attached to nerve endings. Shaving can easily irritate the skin, the hair follicle and the oil gland, causing a rashlike breakout of annoying bumps. Ingrown hairs can also be a dilemna. Ingrown hairs are curly wiry hairs that curl and dig into the adjacent skin as they grow out or hairs that grow back in the wrong direction, causing a bump that can become infected.
As widespread a beauty problem as this can be, for women and men alike, the lack of products addressing the issue is surprising. The only product I know of that is specifically aimed at reducing or preventing these red bumps is called Tend Skin($50 for 16 oz). It contains isopropyl alcohol, propolene glycol, acetylsalicylate, and glycerin. This is a very interesting formulation that is ridiculously overpriced, and the alcohol part of it is self-defeating. Alcohol caused irritation and redness, the very problems this product is supposed to address. How absurd! As it turns out, Tend Skin is nothing more that aspirin suspended in alcohol with a slip agent. Aspirin is an anti-inflammaroty, and a very effective one at that. The notion that you can put it on your skin to reduce irritation is intriguing and completely worth trying. However, the $50 is best kept in your pocket because there is no reason why you can't put this concoction together yourself with a small bottle, one or two aspirins, a quarter cup of tap or distilled water, and perhaps a touch of glycerin (which can be purchased at a drugstore).The drawback to creating this your self is guessing at the proportions, but with a little experimenting you should be able to an interesting toner for ingrown hairs that is safe to use on any part of your body. If you find the bumps do not respond well to the aspirin, try an over-the-counter cortisone cream to reduce the redness and irritation. However, if the bumps get infected you will need to disinfect them with an over-the-counter antibiotic like Neosporin, Polysporin, or Bacitracin. All three are excellent for quick relief from a small topical infection.
*Note: Paula Begoun now offers an excellent product for irritated skin on her website cosmeticscop.com. It is called Skin Relief Treatment ($13.95 4 oz).