Ask The Expert: The lowdown on men’s grooming, from shaving to haircare

Using body soap or face wash to shave is among the big mistakes long term because it will damage the skin. Photo:

Ask The Expert is a column where we get experts to answer questions on topics related to fashion and beauty.

Truefitt & Hill operations manager Imran Baig, who has worked with the Malaysian franchise of the world’s oldest barbershop for 12 years, gives us the lowdown on men’s grooming as well as some hair and skincare tips.

What are the essential steps for preparing skin and hair before shaving or trimming a moustache and beard? – Ben, KL

For hair, before every haircut you should give your hair a proper wash and dry it, making sure there are no product residuals in your hair.

For the face, I always recommend using warm water or a warm towel to clean your face first.

Then apply a pre-shave oil which is a blend of essential oils, and massage the area you are planning on shaving, for around a minute.

The massage will help to soften your hair and reduce friction when you’re shaving. Also, make sure your razor is sharp enough.

After applying pre-shave oil (which will also help reduce the possibility of ingrown hairs), you can use any fine shaving cream or gel, depending on your preference.

To apply shaving cream, I recommend shaving brushes, but if you’re in a hurry, then you can just use your fingertips.

However it’s important to note that when you apply your shaving cream with a brush, the foam is able to get closer to the roots of your hair, which softens them and makes them easier to shave.

Read more: Malaysian men put value into looking good, with the male grooming market growing

Can you recommend products that are best suited for pre-shave care? – Zak, KL

We recommend aftershave balm to close the pores, because when you apply the hot towel onto your face before shaving, it opens the pores.

After that, you need to close the pores to prevent your skin from irritation or infections.

Aftershave balm helps with this, and also soothes and moisturises your skin.

Some like to use aftershave splash (liquid), and I would suggest using this followed by a moisturiser.

What are the key techniques for achieving a close, irritation-free shave, especially for those with sensitive skin? – Hou Li, Kuching

If you have no time to go to the barber or you prefer to shave at home, always do it after a warm shower and always use shaving cream or gel, but it’s important to apply pre-shave oil.

Make sure your razor is really sharp, and try not to use long strokes. Use short strokes to avoid razor burn.

Imran Baig says that many people, especially men, don’t think they need to set aside time for pampering, but it’s actually very important to make time for self care. Photo: The Star/AZMAN GHANIImran Baig says that many people, especially men, don’t think they need to set aside time for pampering, but it’s actually very important to make time for self care. Photo: The Star/AZMAN GHANI

How should one properly care for the moustache and beard after shaving? – Rhys, PJ

For facial hair, current trends that are popular are having different styles of beards, and depending on the length of the beard, there are plenty of products that are suitable for all styles.

Use styling balm to style or shape your beard, and to nourish the beard, we have beard oil. These are the two main products which will help maintain the style and health of your facial hair.

We don’t recommend using hair gel, some people make this mistake, thinking that hair products can also be used on your beard.

It’s a big no-no as our facial skin is different from our scalps. It’s very sensitive, we can only use products that are specially made for the face as they are more gentle.

What are the common mistakes men make when grooming their moustache and beard, and how can they be avoided? – Ruben, KL

I come across this quite often, when I introduce our pre-shave oil and shaving cream.

Some people say they just use body soap or face wash to shave, those are really big mistakes long term because it will damage the skin. You’re going to get wrinkles and your skin will look dull.

Do note that there are many gels in the market created with harsh chemicals that can give you headaches and nausea, as they go through your roots into your body when applied.

For shaving, do not shave without proper shaving cream or gel, and aftershave is very important.

How long should one use the same razor? – Samuel, Kuching

For any razor in the market, there’s a lifespan which is stated on the packaging, that tells you how many shaves you can do with the product.

However, for some with fine hair grains, they can use the razor for a little longer, but I would suggest following the recommendation on the razor’s packaging, as many only change their razors when their skin starts getting irritated.

Read more: Movember calls for men to grow a moustache, but some just struggle with it

How often should a man go for professional grooming, and what are the benefits of professional services over at-home grooming? – Richard, KL

For the beard, at least once a week. What happens is once you shape your beard, it involves cleaning the neckline and the top parts of the cheek.

Within three to four days you’ll have new hair growth and once that happens it will destroy the shape of the beard.

If you can do it twice a week that would be better but once a week is the minimum.

For haircuts and trimming, we would recommend twice a month, and going to a professional usually involves a massage.

Many people, especially men, don’t think they need to set aside time for pampering, but it’s actually very important to make time for self care.

When you get even just a head or face massage, it’s good for blood circulation and glowing skin.

It will also help elevate stress, and it’s not the same if you do it yourself as a professional knows your exact pressure points and how best to go about massaging them.

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beauty , Ask The Expert , haircare , skincare


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