BEFORE WE BEGIN...
The information provided in this article is for information purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please read our disclaimer at the bottom of this page for more information.
You may have hit a wall with your hair loss treatment regime, decided hair transplants are not for you or simply want to embrace your hair loss... whatever the reason, this was no doubt a big decision to make.
Whether you take the opportunity to reinvent yourself, taking the decision to shave your head can be a huge relief for some and help give a boost of confidence. Afterall, you only need to take the lead from stars such as Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson or even Prince William to see how this can help you take control of your hair loss.
If your hair is longer, be prepared that completely shaving can entirely alter your appearance. Sounds obvious but it can be a shock to some.
Shaving your head may feel strange and take a little time for you to adjust to but there are many who have stated they feel less stressed after taking the plunge - and anything that can help improve your mental health and confidence gets a huge thumbs up from us at Nanogen.
OK, so now what? Well, we’re here to help you take the next step with some handy tips on getting that buzz cut or shaved head right.
While your new buzz cut requires minimal equipment, afterall all you need is a pair of clippers with multiple guards, it's important that you don’t automatically reach for beard trimmers. For this job, you will want to invest in a decent set of hair clippers made specifically for hair on your head - there is a reason your barber has a collection of different tools in their arsenal, beard trimmers and hair clippers are quite different.
Aside from the obvious difference when you pick them up, while beard trimmers are smaller in size and power, their blades are designed to cut closer to the skin. This is great for shaping and for the finer trimming closer to the skin but not so great for getting rid of larger areas of hair.
Hair clippers are larger in size and power, their blade size has more incremental adjustments, offering detachable guards and the ability to cut hair styles at longer lengths.
However, hair clippers are not designed for shaping intricate areas.
With this in mind, we would recommend starting with clippers and then introducing trimmers if you need to tidy up around the ears or shape up the back.
When using clippers, while it may seem obvious to some, it’s worth remembering that the higher the number guard, the less amount of hair you remove and the lower the number, the more hair it cuts. It’s better to start with a higher number to begin with and gradually decrease this to a level you are happy with - remember you can always cut more off but you cannot add it back!
It’s also worth getting a hand held mirror to ensure you can get a good look at those hard to see area’s like the back of your head and behind your ears.
Now to the nitty-gritty - the cut!
Firstly, make sure you wash your hair so it is clear of any product and ensure your hair is 100% dry before you pick up your clippers. Product or wet hair is a sure fire way to clog up the blades, which can impact the cut not to mention pull on the hairs while you are running the clippers across your head - from experience we can tell you this is not pleasant!
Having freshly washed hair also ensures your hair is in its natural state, not manipulated by product or how you have styled it.
The trick to getting an even haircut is to go against the grain of the hair.
You should take it slow and steady to ensure you are getting all of the hair, especially if this is your first time, regularly clearing any hair build up from the clipper guard. You may need to go over certain areas a couple of times until you get familiar with the natural bumps and shape of your head.
Now if you are looking to leave some difference between the length of the sides and the top, we recommend starting with the sides of your hair, giving you the opportunity to keep the top a little longer if you like. Start at the sideburns and make your way up the side of your head
Should you end up cutting your hair too short, don't panic! Your hair will grow back soon enough and practice makes perfect.
If you are feeling brave you could also try a little fade but as your barber undergoes specific training in how to do this, we’d suggest leaving it to the professionals. Once you have finished and are happy with the length of your hair, it’s time to grab the trimmers.
Once you have tackled your sideburns, take care to trim around your ears as the trimmer blades are close to your skin and you don’t want to nick it. We would suggest that you ask someone to do your neckline though.
Make sure you take time to clean your clippers and trimmers of any hair and remember to oile them regularly. Most clippers and trimmers will come with a brush and blade oil to help with maintenance.
If you take care of your clippers, they will take care of you.
Why not check out this video by GQ for some handy tips;
Now, if you are going full shave, follow the steps above but you can spare the time with the trimmer - just gradually cut the hair down to the lowest setting on your clippers.
Yes, we said wash your hair - again.
Not only will this get rid of all of the trimmed hair pieces and soften the remaining hair but for the same reason you use warm water before shaving your face, this relaxes your skin and prepares it for the most frictionless shave possible.
Now it is time to apply the shaving foam - make sure you are applying a light layer evenly and consistently over your head. Grab the mirror to make sure you get everywhere you need.
If you have sensitive skin or are prone to ingrown hairs and shaving rash then we recommend using a pre-shave oil before you apply the shaving foam. The softer and more hydrated your hair and skin are prior to shaving the better.
Now you are all ready to get started, wait 2-3 minutes after applying the shaving foam/cream/gel to allow it to penetrate the hair and soften it up.
When you are good to go, start from the top of your head and work your way down, going with the grain of the hair this time.
We don’t have to say it but we will.... go slow, make sure you regularly rinse the blade every few strokes. It is going to be difficult to see everything you are doing so feel free to use the mirror again to keep checking. That hand held mirror purchase is looking like a good investment right now!
Once you are finished, rinse with warm water and run your hands over your head to find all those spots you have missed the first time around. Don’t just grab the razor, make sure you apply the oil and shaving foam again before going for round 2.
Just like your face, now it's time to keep your scalp happy and irritation free by applying a post shave product.
Make sure you wash your scalp with cold water this time to close up the pores before applying your chosen product so the skin is nice and firm. We recommend using an alcohol-free product containing tea tree oil, which is a really good anti-inflammatory.
Sounds like too much hassle? Why not skip the shave and opt for an electric foil or rotary razor. The shave won’t be as close or last for as long but it will be less time consuming for you and will minimise irritation as they do not break the surface of the skin.
Less hair = less maintenance, right? Unfortunately, not necessarily. Depending on the style you go for, you may need to be prepared to touch up with the clippers every couple of weeks to keep the hair the length you want, this could be much more frequent if you are going for the shaved look too so be prepared.
As well as looking after your tools, there are also some points to remember with your new style.
You have your skincare routine locked down but what about your scalp care? This new liberating short hairstyle doesn’t mean you can shave and forget, it’s time to start looking at products to keep your hair clean and any product kept to a minimum.
Now with more skin on show, it is essential to protect your scalp from the elements. While this may be obvious in the winter months it is vital to protect your head from the sun; there's nothing worse than a sun-burned scalp. While there are plenty of hat options available to suit your particular style and get the job done, we highly recommend that your moisturiser contains an SPF to give added protection.
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While our aim is to provide you with up-to-date and relevant information, this information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss your specific case with a healthcare professional who knows your specific medical history.