Shaving bumps, be gone!
Long term followers will remember reading Merging two cultures, an article I wrote back in January highlighting how language can be a difficult thing when we make assumptions about understanding each other!
Mr O has been plagued with “shaving bumps”, something he hates and which he vows and declares does not happen when using the shaving powder mentioned in the above article.
Unfortunately, it just isn’t available here in Australia. After trying just about every local option available (we have a cupboard full of lotions, shaving creams/soaps etc) with really no improvement, we researched. Research revealed this is a common problem for black men. It is the type of hair – it doesn’t take kindly to these multi-blade razors at all. USA web sites detailed this clearly and although Mr O knew he never used razors because his hair is different, neither of us had ever really delved into the specific science of it. It was a bit of a “duh” moment for us both, I think! After all, from Mr O’s perspective, his hair is the only hair he has ever had to deal with!
Because black men have body hairs that are predominantly curly and wiry, shaved hair follicles tend to curve back and re-enter the skin as they grow, causing irritation and razor bumps. Ingrown hairs can also occur when hair doesn’t fully emerge from the skin’s surface and instead sits coiled underneath, leading to bumps and possible infection.
One of the recommendations is not to shave every day, but in societies where the clean-shaven look is almost mandatory, this can be difficult. Mr O likes to shave every day as a personal preference irrespective of social norms.
DE (double edged) razors seemed to be the recommended solution on most sites. The LESS blades the better was the consensus. But where to buy them? I managed to find some actual blades in Safeway, but after trying three pharmacies and two supermarkets, I decided the razors themselves are just not available any more in general retail outlets. I’m of the opinion that because you buy one razor and it lasts for years, the general retail outlets, depending on fast and high product turnover, just do not stock them.
One pharmacy recommended a place called The Shaving Shop: they do sell some, so I swung past on my way to Costco today as a short term solution. We had done an on-line search and found some available on line, with prices from $29 to $400. I already knew blades would be hard to come by: internet shopping seemed to be the only solution. How on earth are all the other black men in Australia managing, we wonder?
Mr O was still depressed about his shaving powder: for him it is the ultimate solution. Understandably so, given he had used it most of his life and it worked! So we searched. Why we didn’t do this months ago I don’t know, but we didn’t. Life is busy! We think of solution hunting only when it drives him nuts and he usually only mentions it at night.
Suddenly Mr O spotted the shaving powder product: “That’s it!”
Turns out this product is made in the USA! So thanks to the miracles of eBay, we have bought a case. How long it will take to get here, we don’t know. Hopefully, not too long. We are going to take photos of before and after and publish the results as we both find this whole thing interesting. It is an aspect of moving to a country where you are definitely in the minority: appropriate products are not necessarily available that must cause many people endless frustration. I remember arriving in Australia and not being able to get my favourite toothpaste, but that was hardly a major issue as suitable replacements were easily available.
The shaving powder, I noticed from the USA web site, is often recommended by doctors. Doctors here, with little or no experience of the hair type, had given Mr O tablets and a cream. This wasn’t getting to the root of the problem, though, so really didn’t fix anything. We had even tried one depilatory cream for men available here, but it didn’t have enough strength on Mr O’s facial hair and most of those creams really aren’t meant to be used on the face anyway.
It will be interesting to see how long our purchase takes to arrive and also the results! Mr O is very pleased we are finally going to get the product he is used to. I am very pleased he is very pleased.
The freight was actually more expensive than the product, but given Mr O knows what he is getting, it will be worth it!
If you are someone who has relocated to a new country, what problems have you experienced getting products you have always used?