Over the years of collecting tattoos and taking pride in my collection, I’ve come to realize the importance in shaving my work.
Especially in the realism genre, many tattoos are so intricate and have such a great amount of detail that hair growth in certain spots can really take away from how beautiful a particular piece is.
For instance, I have a crucifix on my chest, where Jesus’ head is about the size of a half dollar coin… I definitely don’t want a bush of hair covering details of his face!
I have come to find that shaving tattoos genuinely makes all of your art look much sharper, more beautiful/eye-catching, and more like the artist intended for it to look like.
Keep in mind that new tattoos should not be shaven until they are fully healed. Shaving a tattoo while it still healing can damage the tattoo. You risk slicing the tattoo which can result in some of the ink falling out. Not to mention it would be very painful! It could also remove scabs opening up the risk of infection. It is reccommended to wait at least several weeks before shaving. You want to be sure there is no scabbing, peeling, bumps, raised areas, or shininess on or around the tattoo.
Once the tattoo is completely healed, it is fine to shave your ink. The tattoo ink is located in the second layer of skin. Shaving only affects the top layer of skin so you will not harm your tattoo by shaving as long as it’s done carefully.
Here are five tips I have for you guys who want to do your work justice by getting it nice and smooth.
- Shave in the shower. I say this for a multitude of reasons. One reason is that this makes things a lot less messy and there is virtually no clean up. Another reason is because the heat in the shower makes your hairs softer, resulting in a smoother and better shave. Lastly, for me, shaving my entire body and getting my tattoos looking sharp/pristine is in a weird way sort of like a mini therapy session for me. I have to focus, be patient, then the end result is very satisfying.
2. Before you get in the shower, fill up a cup of steaming hot water.
This provides a much better shave because the hairs and skin react far better when things are warm. You will want to dip/rinse the razor for a few seconds in the hot water every three or four strokes you take with the razor, so that the blade on the razor heats up to cut better and so that the excess shaving cream attached to the razor washes off.
3. Watch out for the bone.
It’s been my experience that the majority of frustrating cuts, nicks, and even scars I’ve received while shaving have been on areas of my body that are bony (such as my elbows, shins, knees, etc). When shaving these areas, do your best to go much slower than you would in areas such as your outer thighs, outer bicep/forearm, or other areas that are pretty flat.
4. Use A Good Razor
Safety razors are the gold standard when it comes to getting the closet, smoothest shave. The are the heavier metal razors with razor blades. There is a learning curve when you use this type of razor, and you have to shave slowly and carefully but the result is worth it.
5. Figure out which direction of shave gets each body part the smoothest.
In my experience, this can be tricky for some reason. With my arms, I like to shave downwards (of course getting the blade hot by dipping it in the warm water every couple of strokes). My outer and inner calves, I will sometimes shave downwards but I do notice that when I stroke my leg with my fingers upwards I can still feel parts of the hairs left over and of course can still see visible remainders of partial hairs. I personally just like things to be entirely smooth, so sometimes I will shave both ways. This might cause irritation for some folks, but in my personal experience I haven’t seen much of any kind of noticeable skin reaction from doing this as long as I do it in the shower. After-shave would probably help too.
I know it may sound silly but I genuinely believe this small thing can make a huge difference in how we perceive our own collections as well as how others perceive our collections. To be honest, I take the time/energy to shave my whole body every two or three days because I just like to do my collection justice for both my own pleasure and for anyone who might see it in person and be fascinated.