Most men don’t fully understand the importance of exfoliation. It can be particularly helpful when you reach for the razor to tidy things up. Of course, you might already be exfoliating without even knowing it.

If you do your shaving in the shower or run hot water over your face and use a shaving gel to prepare, you’ve already joined the ranks of proud exfoliators everywhere. And you may have noticed that there are some benefits to the practice. Specifically, you won’t have to bleed for that close, smooth shave.

Why Exfoliate?

Have you ever attempted to shave without wetting or otherwise preparing your skin? It’s not a very pleasant experience. Even if you use a decent razor with an aloe strip and sharp blades, you’ll almost certainly come away with the micro-abrasions that cause razor burn. You’re likely to experience some macro-sized cuts, too. You know — the ones that leave you with little dots of bathroom tissue stuck all over your face.

For obvious reasons, you probably use some sort of lubricant such as a shaving gel or cream to help reduce razor burn and cuts. However, you could be doing more to protect your skin and deliver a clean shave without changing up your shave routine a whole lot.

Exfoliating is simply the process of preparing your skin for a shave by opening your pores and clearing away dead skin and other debris. The simplest way to do this is just by using warm water. For best results, we recommend using a chemical exfoliant such as those available from Dove for Men, Jack Black, Kheil’s or Clinique.

The chemicals in these products will help open your pores and clean your skin. They’ll also help the hairs on your face stand up in preparation for shaving. This ensures a cleaner shave and more uniform re-growth. It also helps your skin stay healthier in the long run.

Proper Exfoliation Technique

Even though this is a fairly straightforward process, it should be noted that you can damage your skin if you don’t do it correctly. For example, selecting a mechanical, as opposed to a chemical, exfoliant might have a negative effect on those with more sensitive skin. The particles in mechanical exfoliants can have similar effects as a dry razor when rubbed against the surface of your skin, meaning you could come away red and sore from a process that was intended to enhance your look.

It’s usually not a good idea to exfoliate too often, either. Don’t feel compelled to do it every day. For guys, it’s a good habit to get into giving your skin a good exfoliating each time you shave, but not more often than that. We’re not saying you shouldn’t wash your face and take care of your skin, but you don’t need to use a chemical treatment. Too much exfoliation could result in dried and cracked skin.

Speaking of dry and cracked skin, it’s best to follow up your exfoliation with a moisturizer. Many men’s health brands offer post-shave products that include helpful moisturizing elements, and these make sense for our recommended method. Remember to always pat your face dry rather than “scrubbing” to avoid irritating the newly shaved skin.

Once you’re dry and you have taken care of any minor nicks and cuts — which you shouldn’t have to if you exfoliated — go ahead and apply your moisturizer.

The Benefits of Proper Exfoliation

Aside from experiencing fewer cuts and none of the redness you may be accustomed to after shaving with a razor, there are some serious upsides to doing your exfoliating.

For one, your skin will feel softer and look better. That should be enough to convince any dapper dude to do their exfoliating before ducking out to attend the evening’s social activities. If you’re among the majority of men loyal to a single barber, you could even make a request to have this done as part of a shave-and-haircut deal.

Exfoliating will also reduce blemishes and painful ingrown hairs by eliminating the blockages that can lead to these skin-marring conditions. If you’ve ever experienced the pain of an ingrown hair, that alone should be enough to convince you to start. Oh, and then there’s the added benefit of sounding classy and well-groomed when in conversation with members of the opposite sex. But try not to rely too heavily on it — your female friends probably know a thing or two about skincare.

No Reason to Wait

Don’t wait! Exfoliate! It’s easy, it feels nice on your skin and it keeps you from bleeding all over the place when you have to shave. This “evolved” grooming technique is proven to reduce cuts and so much more!