My most frequently visited page here on my blog is this one: Razor Bumps and Ingrown Hairs
The sheer volume of traffic to it shows me that it seems to be a very common problem with little information on the internet about the difference, and how to treat them. So I wanted to make this short add-on entry about face mapping in the hopes that it will help some people.
Irritation and ingrown hairs can often be caused by cutting the hair too closely and/or in the wrong direction. Though it's often touted as being the only way to get a 'really' baby-butt smooth shave, shaving against the grain (A.T.G.)(ie. the direction the hair grows in) isn't suitable for everyone. Some people have strong skin and fine hair so they can take this shaving direction, but others will have coarse hair, or thin skin, and ATG is just too harsh.
Often young men learn to shave by going out, buying a razor, and just giving it a go. But really every man, whether he's new to shaving or doing it all his life, should take the time to map their face before next putting blade to skin.
A facial map takes the key areas of the skin and breaks them down into sections. Print one off, then go through each section and run your hand along the hair to find out which direction the hair grows in. There are so many ways! Some grow all left to right, some men grow hair down the cheeks but up the neck. Some even have swirls like you have at the crown of your hair on your head! Just because the left check grows straight down doesn't mean the right side will.
To help you do this, and get to know your face better (and to remember each time you shave!) there is a fantastic application online here: Interactive Facial Hair Mapping
For anyone having trouble loading the link above the map looks link this:
So take the time and get to know your face. Find out what works... maybe you just need two with the grain passes' when shaving? Maybe one pass 'with' and one 'across'? Or maybe you can take the full 'with, across and against'? Some men, no matter how hard they try, will find that an electric shaver will be the only way to have a comfortable shave and that's fine too.
Either way your face is your own and only you can find out. Good preparation of the skin before you shave, finding products and a razor or blade that suits you, and providing good aftercare to your skin will have you looking your best. Remember that a day's worth of irritated skin is not worth suffering through for two hours of extra closeness!