Secrets for Your Smoothest Shave Ever

Airdate: 2/21/12

Say goodbye to shaving the wrong way with the wrong products when we divulge the quick and easy secrets to a perfect shave!

Bryan Barron: Hello, you are listening to "Beautifully Informed" with the Paula's Choice Research Team. My name is Bryan Barron; I am your host tonight, online with my co-hosts Desiree Stordahl and Daynah Burnett. Hello ladies.
Desiree Stordahl: Hello.
Daynah Burnett: Hello.
Bryan Barron: So, tonight we are going to be talking about the secret for your smoothest shave ever. We are on live every Tuesday night at 6pm Pacific Time.
00:00:40 Our shows are archived on or You can just go to the Community section, listen to our current or past broadcast anytime. You can download the past shows from iTunes. A lot of our listeners tell us that they tune in when they are working out. And that's a great idea.
00:01:03 We are taking questions tonight, so be sure to call in. You will win prizes! The number to dial is 347-426-3783. And before we delve into the topic, I have got a rant, kind of a big one, but it is something that has been on a lot of people's minds lately because of media reports. And it is the lead in lipstick controversy.
00:01:29 We have looked into this issue quite thoroughly. And we have actually prepared a response that we posted on the Paula's Choice Facebook page. So, for those of you who may have missed that on Facebook, or who just found out about this story from a news report, I wanted to read to you what Paula, and myself, and a few other people here at Paula's Choice prepared. So, I apologize - I am going to be reading from a "script" but I felt that this was the best way to get the point across. So here we go.
00:02:03 So, the Food and Drug Administration completed a study reviewing and ranking the lead content of 400 types and shades of lipsticks from dozens and dozens of cosmetic companies, including brands that everyone has heard of; chances are you have some of these lipsticks at home or on your mouth right now. Of course, what's hidden in the news reports, and what this report concluded, is that there has never been and there is still no risk in using any lipstick from any company.
00:02:33 The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which is a spinoff of sorts from the Environmental Working Group, has twisted the facts of this study to create fear where there is no justification to do so, at least not any more so than the food you eat or the water you drink. So, one of the things that we really wanted to get across in this message is that lead is a natural element. It is never added to any makeup or skincare product, or anything that is intended for human consumption or use.
00:03:03 But lead is present in the parts-per-million range in nearly anything and everything. It is in the oxygen we breathe. It is in daffodils. It is in the water we drink. Almost every bit of matter on planet earth has some amount, however miniscule, of lead. So, it is not surprising then that it would also present in the naturally derived ingredients, particularly those used as pigment in lip colors.
00:03:28 Another thing to help put this in perspective, parts-per-million or PPM, is an incredibly minute amount, and to give this the proper context it's the equivalent of one single grain of sugar in 5 pounds of flour. According to the FDA's report, the average amount of lead in lipstick is 1.11 PPM. So, if we conservatively estimate the average tube of lipstick at 1.5 grams as far as the size of it, there would be approximately 300 tubes of lipstick in one pound.
00:04:03 At the parts-per-million ratio, the amount of lead really becomes meaningless. Consider also that women aren't eating their lipsticks. It is true that a tiny amount gets ingested, but most of the lipstick that you lose comes off on other objects—it is not swallowed. The levels of lead in some lipsticks are lower than what regulatory agencies have deemed safe for drinking water, which as we all know, we all definitely ingest.
00:04:28 And even if you are buying the bottled water, that doesn't mean that there isn't trace amounts of lead in there, too. Unfortunately, none of that information is mentioned in news reports because scare tactics make much better headlines and get more attention. It's not nearly as enticing for a headline or broadcaster to read "Lead Found in Lipsticks, But So What?" The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics' blitz on lead in lipsticks does not provide a single reference showing the teeny amount of lead in lipsticks is a problem. All of their sources have to do with occupational and/or environmental exposure to heavy metals, which include lead, but not cosmetics usage. Without question, lead can be a harmful substance in large amounts when ingested; however, there is simply no proof that the fractional amount that may be in some lipsticks is causing anyone harm in any way.
00:05:19 Quantifying this would be difficult given the amount of lead we're exposed to on a daily basis. So in other words, how would you ever figure out how much lead that may be in our bodies was actually from lipstick, and not from numerous other sources? There is just no way. According to the Cosmetics, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, "The average amount of lead a woman would be exposed to when using cosmetics is 1,000 times less than the amount she would get from eating, breathing and drinking water that meets Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standards." The European Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association agree with that statement as well.
00:05:59 If you're concerned about lead exposure, and there is reason to be concerned about it, just not from lipsticks, you'd be much better off having your home's paint, soil, and water supply tested than opening your makeup bag in fear that adding color to your lips will hurt you in some way. And the next time you see a headline or a news story that seems to disparage otherwise benign products, think twice before becoming too concerned—and notice how often these reports are one-sided and geared toward causing panic rather than helping you make an informed decision.
00:06:31 That's the end of my rant.
Daynah Burnett: Well said. Well said.
Bryan Barron: So, thank you, thank you for listening. We are going to get right into the topic here - secrets for your smoothest shave ever. If you have been sitting listening to us, not putting lipstick on because you are worried about lead, go ahead and put it on if it makes you feel better. Okay, number one, getting things off to a hair-free start here. The most important thing is to use a good quality razor blade.
00:07:02 One of our favorites, and Desiree, I wanted to ask you about yours, but I was talking with Daynah before the show and we like Schick's Quattro brand. It has got a pivot head design, which can be incredibly convenient for getting around the various curvatures on the legs, for men who use it on their face or neck. And it has a thin, flexible yet sharp blade, so it cuts the hair very well without really damaging the skin because it also has that little moisture reservoir.
00:07:37 I was talking with Daynah and I thought it was interesting how Quattro is marketed to men and women, and the women's name for the moisture strip is something like "softening protective moisture strip," and on the men's version it is like "protective skin saver," or something like that. It sounds very masculine.
00:07:59 Desiree, do you have a razor of choice that you have found works really well?
Desiree Stordahl: I do. I use the Gillette Venus Embrace. And it is a five-blade razor. And it has a good, flexible head that kind of moves with the ebbs and flows of your leg, so I like it a lot.
Bryan Barron: I have heard from other women that they really like the Venus razors which are made by Gillette. You want something that has at least three blades.
00:08:28 Some of them have five, some of them have four. I have experimented with three and five blade razors, and found that the five blades actually tear up my skin a bit. Now, your experience may differ; I would encourage people who are unsure to try both, and see which one you prefer. A lot of people think that they get a wonderful shave with the five-blade option, and they are definitely out there. So, a question that was brought up in using a razor is how much pressure to apply.
00:09:00 The natural inclination is to press really hard for a smoother shave; or the thinking is that the more pressure you apply, the closer shave you are going to get. So, we were talking and the question came up, "How do you know that you are using too much pressure?" You now that you are using not enough pressure if the hair simply isn't getting caught up in the blades, so you are going over the same area again and again. And, as an aside to that, you know that you are using a relatively fresh blade, and not one that has been sitting around for two or three weeks, and really should just be replaced.
00:09:34 You are using too much pressure if the razor tends to clog quickly, or your blade dulls faster than you think it should. Because what is happening is that when you use excess pressure, yes you are getting off those hairs, but you are also taking quite a bit of dead skin cells with it. And those skin cells can mix with the shaving cream or gel and really gunk up the razor blade. Daynah, anything to add?
Desiree Stordahl: Bryan, I have a question for you. I think I tend to let my razor blades go too long. I let them get dull and continue using them, which is just horrible. And I know I shouldn't do that, but I am always trying to extend the life of them.
00:10:12 So do you have a general guideline for how often you should change your blade?
Bryan Barron: I do. Mine is from personal experience, but I have found that it serves me well. Because I use one of these razors that has the moisture strip on top, I pay attention to how that is wearing. And if you look at the razor across view of it, if you are looking at it from the side, you notice that that little moisture strip, or however it is designed sticks out just a little bit past the razor blade itself when the blade is fresh. So, each time you use the razor that moisture strip wears down a little bit more.
00:10:55 So I have found that when my razor gets to the point where those little moisture strips have receded into what is holding them in place, then I know it is time to replace the razor blade And for me, that is usually once a week, maybe once every eight or nine days if I skip a couple days of shaving.
Daynah Burnett: We actually had an unfortunate incident at my house. One of my ladies, for listeners, I've got three girls at home between the ages of 11 and 16, so we go through a lot of razors at my house.
00:11:33 And our oldest, and she would probably die if she knew I was telling this story, she started to have what looked like a skin disease on her legs. She had oozing, weeping, these open wounds. And we took her to her doctor and he said, "You've got to see a derm." We went to a derm, and sure enough it was MRSA that she had gotten from using an old razor.
00:11:59 And of course...
Bryan Barron: Oh my gosh.
Daynah Burnett: I know. And that is really contagious. I mean, it was an ordeal. And what it came down to was she was using a razor - and I asked her how long she had been using it, and she said four months. So, no wonder...
Bryan Barron: Oh no!
Daynah Burnett: Yeah! It is not only to get a good shave, but also to save yourself from spreading bacteria, germs, infection. I mean, those things are real. And you are opening up the skin, even in a really small way, every time you shave.
00:12:32 So it is important that those are clean and fresh.
Desiree Stordahl: If MRSA won't motivate you, I don't know what will.
Bryan Barron: Oh my gosh, you are not kidding. So, before we move on to point two, I wanted to mention a couple other tips that anyone can use to help their razor blades last longer. One of the things that we complain about around here when it comes to shaving is not only the very act of having to do it, but how darn expensive razor blades are to replace.
00:13:01 I mean, for a lot of people, it is one of the most expensive parts of their grooming regimen, save perhaps for some of their skincare products. And it is something that we all need to do. And you can't help but think, "Man, these razor companies, they really have a racket going because I need to shave. I want to use the razor blade that I know works well for me. And so I am not going to just use any old razor because the side effects from that could be pretty bad."
00:13:32 So you are stuck. So, one of the ways that you can make the razor blade last longer is to do your best to keep it dry between uses. That means when you are done shaving, rinse it very well, give it a final rinse, whether you are in the shower or at your sink, and then dab it with your towel and set it in a place where it is not going to get re-exposed to water such as a multifamily household where you know two other people are going to be showering after you, or whatever the case may be. You want to keep that razor blade dry between uses.
00:14:09 The other tip is that you will find, as we mentioned earlier, if you use the right amount of pressure, you are going to extend the life of your blade because too much pressure not only is going to be damaging to your skin, but it also causes the razor blade to wear down faster. Desiree, point two. What's our next secret?
Desiree Stordahl: Equally important as finding a good razor blade is finding a good gentle shaving cream or gel, whichever you prefer, a foam even.
00:14:40 It needs to be fragrance-free, free of those irritants. There are not that many out there that are actually that gentle and that great for your skin. Of course, we love our Paula's Choice Close Comfort Shave Gel. And you might notice if you ordered it any time recently that we have recently re-launched it new packaging. It is the same formula but it has a new awesome look.
00:15:02 The few others that we recommend come from Lab Series for Men, and for Women, also Aveeno's Therapeutic Shave Gel which is fragrance-free. And at Target there is Every Man Jack's brand which has a fragrance-free shaving gel or cream, and women can use it, too. The biggest deal is to not shave bare skin. If you have ever done that you probably have gotten some sort of rash or realize that the shave wasn't as smooth as it should be.
00:15:31 So if you don't have shave gel or shave cream in your shower, use your conditioner. A lot of women do this. I have used it in a pinch, especially when I am traveling and I don't want to pack another product. You can just use your conditioner. Our Paula's Choice Smooth Finisher Conditioner is great because it is, again, cologne-free, fragrance-free, so it is extra gentle. And it offers a really nice smooth, even glide.
00:15:56 But probably most any conditioner, as long as it is not a super ready conditioner, will be thick enough to work, and emollient enough to work. Bryan, what is your next tip?
Bryan Barron: The next tip is to, and there is some disagreement about this, so let me preface this statement by saying that everyone has their own method for what works best for them. And if you are getting good results from the way that you are shaving, meaning you are not irritating your skin. You don't have red bumps. You are not cutting yourself. Shaving isn't code for "have the first aid kit at the ready."
00:16:32 Shave in long, even strokes in one direction going with, rather than against, the grain. That is a general guideline. In fact, Daynah had mentioned that the way she was taught to shave was always against the grain, and that is essentially what she has been doing, and she is going to try shaving the other way and let us know if she notices a difference.
Daynah Burnett: I'm going to do a beauty experiment, and we will see what happens.
00:17:00 I will report back next week.
Bryan Barron: Yes. So we were talking about that fact, and as a generalization, if most women are shaving against the grain, what is interesting is that most men are taught when it comes to shaving our faces to shave with the grain, although, as most men know, you really have to do a combination of both. Shaving with the grain tends to work great in the beard area, along the cheeks, on the chin and upper lip, but you usually have to go back over a few areas going against the grain to really make sure that you get those wayward hairs underneath the chin and the neck that can grow in every which way.
00:17:41 And this is doubly true for men whose beards are curly. Okay, be sure to rinse the blade with water between every one or two strokes. That is going to remove the excess shaving cream and the loose hairs. We have all made the mistake, especially when we are pressed for time, of not rinsing the blade as often as we should.
00:18:06 It might seem to be a time saver, but you are going to end up spending more time shaving away at your face or your legs, so it ends up not being a time saver. Also, wait to apply shaving cream or gel to warm, damp skin, then begin shaving. As I said, if the method that you are using works for you, then great, but if you are shaving against the grain, and you are not seeing good results, or shaving is just a chore that ends up causing injury, try shaving with the grain.
00:18:39 And also pay attention - take a look when you have some hair growth, especially on the legs, at the way that the hair grows on the front of your legs, and the back of your legs. For some women, the hair grows in different directions. So that means that shaving with the grain on the front of your legs may be the best option, but on the back of your legs you may have to shave against the grain for smoothest results.
Desiree Stordahl: Okay. Next tip is to use a regular application of AHA or BHA body lotion. And the reason you want to do that is it is going to help remove the top layers of dead, dry skin.
00:19:22 I know in my case, if I don't use a BHA or an AHA lotion on my legs I can actually get - it almost looks like an ingrown hair. It is literally like I can almost see the hair under my skin getting trapped under there. So using an AHA or BHA exfoliant is really going to help bring up those dead layers of skin cells and remove them so that you can get an extra smooth shave and nothing is getting trapped under there.
00:19:48 You don't want to apply an AHA body lotion after shaving. You will feel stinging if you do that. Absolutely don't do that. You can use a regular body lotion, make sure it is fragrance-free, or again, you are going to have stinging. And a BHA, I have done that. I don't have any sort of problem putting a BHA on after shaving. And there are anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant aspects to salicylic acid which is in BHA.
00:20:15 So, in essence, that shouldn't cause irritation, but of course experiment and check it out for yourself, see if that happens for you. Also, if you don't have an AHA or BHA, or just don't want to use them for whatever reason, you can use a damp washcloth and your body cleanser to lightly exfoliate the areas that you intend to shave. And just remember to rinse well before applying the shaving cream.
Bryan Barron: Absolutely.
00:20:40 So if red raised bumps appear after shaving, and this is common for men along the neck, and it is very common for women in the bikini area, treat them with an anti-redness solution that is alcohol free and doesn't contain any other irritating ingredients. A great one to try that we developed specifically for this purpose is Paula's Choice Redness Relief Treatment. And our Resist or Skin Recovery Toners are also excellent options.
00:21:09 Personally, I do use the Redness Relief Treatment from time to time, but I use our Resist Advanced Replenishing Toner as my after shave every day, and I have found that it works beautifully. Getting back to the previous point about using an AHA or a BHA, I have found that since using a BHA product on a regular basis that I basically never have red bumps or ingrown hairs, or really any lingering redness from shaving which is remarkable, because on a light skin tone like mine that type of inflammation shows up like a sore thumb.
00:21:50 Next, if you have been lax about shaving your hair, you have gone all winter without pulling out the razor, and who can blame you. So, you are ready to shave again; you are going to start wearing shorts, but you are like, "Okay, wow, the hair is getting quite long here." It is a good idea to trim it with scissors or clippers before shaving. Trying to shave long hair, especially if it is naturally coarse not only can be taxing, but you run a high risk of cutting yourself and causing irritation.
00:21:22 Don't use household scissors or those that you might have around the house for kids' art projects. You want to look for specially designed scissors, often called trimmers. You can use the ones that are sold to men for grooming their beard or mustache. Tweezerman has some great options. They don't just make tweezers. They have some nice trimmers, too. And there is a brand sold on called Titania that also has some nice grooming scissors that would work perfectly to trim the excess hair.
00:22:53 Daynah had an additional tip and what was that?
Daynah Burnett: Well, my husband, I use his hair clippers, with his permission, of course, and the same ones like the small ones we use to clean up the back of his neck, and it works great. It works really, really well.
Bryan Barron: Yes. And that would be fast. So if your significant other/husband has that around the house and is okay with you doing that then absolutely, but just don't try to shave those long hairs. You will be in for some trouble if you do that. I can almost guarantee it.
Desiree Stordahl: Okay. I think pretty much well wraps it up. Daynah, are we ready to go to callers?
Daynah Burnett: We are ready to go to callers. And I want to urge everybody to call in. If you have questions for the team, we are here ready. The number is 347-426-3783.
00:23:45 Our first caller is Kristin in Massachusetts. Kristin, you are on the air.
Bryan Barron: Hi Kristin.
Kristin: Hi.
Bryan Barron: Hi. What's on your mind tonight?
Kristin: I was waxing my bikini area for a while, and all of a sudden started getting horrible ingrown hairs. So, I have started the laser process, but the ingrown hairs are still there along with some of the inflammation that I can't get rid of.
Bryan Barron: Waxing can be great, and the area, depending on how sensitive it is often will determine how you react, as well as the type of wax used and the technique used of the person doing the waxing.
00:24:38 I think all of us have at least one waxing horror story. I did it on a dare once and will never do it again because I literally looked like I had chicken pox all over my chest. It was terrible. So, Kristin, I know exactly what you are going through. I know how obnoxious that inflammation can look, and you just want it to go away. Have you tried using a fragrance-free BHA exfoliant in that area?
Kristin: I have the Paula's Choice, I can't remember what the name of it is. I haven't used a BHA, no.
Bryan Barron: Oh, okay.
00:25:21 Well I was going to suggest, we have a brilliant product in the Paula's Choice line called the Weightless Body Treatment. It has got 2% salicylic acid. So, I'm going to have you take a two-pronged approach. We are going to send you the Weightless Body Treatment. And that has got the salicylic acid in there. And you can apply that after you have put on our Redness Relief Treatment.
Kristin: Okay.
Bryan Barron: The Redness Relief Treatment has stabilized aspirin which is technically known as acetyl salicylic acid. And just like aspirin that you take for a headache, works to reduce the pain and the inflammation. It can have the same benefit when you apply it topically.
00:26:04 So after showering you take the Redness Relief Treatment, use a cotton ball or a cotton pad, and dab that over the affected areas. Wait a minute or two, let it set, and then you can smooth on the Weightless Body Treatment. And I am thinking that maybe in three days or so you will start seeing a pretty significant improvement.
00:26:29 And if you don't, one of the things that you can try is to cocktail the Weightless Body Treatment with a dab of fragrance-free Hydrocortisone Cream.
Kristin: Okay.
Bryan Barron: You may have some of that around the house. If you don't, the Aveeno brand which you can find - I have seen the Aveeno Hydrocortisone Cream at our local Safeway grocery store, pretty much any drugstore is going to have it. Or just look for a drugstore or off brand. As long as it is fragrance-free, if it has 1% Hydrocortisone as the active ingredient, that is what you want.
00:27:07 The brand becomes less important because the Hydrocortisone is an over-the-counter drug. There are regulations and standards that apply to that. It is not like one company is using a cheap version of it and the other company is using the nice version of it. They all have to be standardized. So, I think that approach would really help. And then I can imagine you are probably not going to be keen on trying waxing again, and you mentioned you are going the laser hair removal route.
Kristin: That's what I started. I started doing that.
Bryan Barron: Okay.
00:27:40 We will get those products out to you, Kristin. And we would love to hear how those bumps respond to it.
Kristin: Okay, great. Thank you.
Bryan Barron: Thanks for calling.
Daynah Burnett: All right. Next up I have got Anne in Indiana. Is that right, Anne? Are you there?
Anne: Hi. Is it me?
Daynah Burnett: Yes. Anne, where are you?
Anne: I am in Southeast Iowa and thank you for taking my call.
00:28:08 So, winters are winter here, and summers are so hot and so muggy, and it is in the summertime that I have some problems with shaving, although I am doing everything else the same - same razor, same technique, same soap, same water. But in the summertime I do get some irritation.
00:28:30 And I don't know if it is because maybe there is native yeast in the air or what.
Bryan Barron: So, Anne, one of the things that can happen in the summer, especially when the humidity is up, I know exactly what you mean by that muggy feel. I grew up in Michigan and we had some pretty wretched summers there in terms of just the kind of day where you open up your door and you are not even outside for 30 minutes and you have already broken out into a sweat.
Anne: Mm-hmm.
Bryan Barron: You know, you can just feel that dampness hit you.
00:29:03 So, what happens in climates like that is that not only is that humidity, it is attracted to your skin, so your skin kind of automatically has some drag to it; it doesn't feel as smooth as it normally does. And so the combination of that, and then the perspiration that happens as a means of our body's process to keep us cool when the temperature goes up, that is going to affect how the razor glides over the skin.
00:29:34 The solution to that, and this is a theory; I can't point to any research that backs up what I am going to tell you. But one of the things that you can try...
Daynah Burnett: Oh, I'm sorry. I think we lost Bryan.
Bryan Barron: No, I'm here.
Daynah Burnett: Oh, there you are.
Bryan Barron: Sorry. I'm still here. Anne, one of the things that you can try is prior to shaving, and this is going to be contrary to the advice we mentioned earlier, but in that situation that you described, try running cool - not cold, not frigid - but just cool water over your legs before you put on the shaving cream or gel.
Anne: Okay.
Bryan Barron: That alone may help wash away some of that and just kind of cool down the skin a bit so that you will have a closer shave.
00:30:26 Again, it is a theory. It is worth trying and it is something that is easy enough to do. Another suggestion is to try - if you normally use a shaving cream, or something that is a shaving foam but when it foams up it feels really creamy - you can try switching to a gel which may work better. And we will send you a tube of the Paula's Choice Close Comfort Shave Gel.
Anne: Well thank you in advance for that.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. And I'm also going to send you a bottle of our Redness Relief Treatment that you can use post-shaving on any reddened areas.
00:31:02 A coworker of ours just - this is one of those products, the Redness Relief Treatment, that has multiple benefits. The coworker of ours mentioned that she loves using it for bug bites. And that her last camping trip was saved because she brought that along with her. It really helps take down the inflammation and the itching, particularly from mosquito bites. And I can imagine that with the kind of summers you have in Iowa mosquitoes are probably out in full force.
Anne: Oh, they are.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
00:31:32 So if you don't have a need for Redness Relief Treatment now, definitely keep it around and when you get some of those bug bites, or someone else in your family is itching, have them dab some of that on and see if it helps.
Anne: Perfect. Well thank you so much.
Bryan Barron: You are welcome, Anne. Have a good evening.
Anne: You too.
Desiree Stordahl: And just to our loyal listeners and fans, the Redness Relief Treatment actually used to be called Skin Relief Treatment. So, if you are getting a little bit confused, and have used that product in the past, it is now a new packaging and it is called Redness Relief Treatment.
Daynah Burnett: I was saying to Bryan before the show that it is one of those products that I cannot not have in my house.
00:32:11 It is just useful in so many ways, from everything from a bug bite, to an after shave, to just if my skin is feeling reactive in any way; it just really, really soothes my skin. And definitely calms down any kind of redness or inflammation. I love that stuff. It's great.
Desiree Stordahl: I actually just had experience with it. The other morning we were about to do a Paula's Choice Video Shoot and I ended up getting kind of a red, blotchy rash on my neck. And so I sprayed some of that on there right before the shot. And sure enough, within like 15 minutes it had gone down. So, it is pretty amazing stuff.
Daynah Burnett: Wow. All right, well we have got another caller on the line.
00:32:51 We've got Marcia from Colorado. Marcia, are you there?
Marisa: Yes, it is actually Martha.
Daynah Burnett: Oh, apologies. I was seeing Marcia. So, Martha, you are on the air.
Martha: Oh, that's okay. Yes, my question is I'm currently pregnant and I have some kind of darkening in between my breasts. I was wondering if there is anything that you would recommend to help make it go away.
Bryan Barron: Oh, Martha, this can be a tough one because the number one ingredient that can help that go away is generally not recommended for regular use during your pregnancy, and that is hydroquinone.
00:33:36 It's generally considered safe to use hydroquinone in your last trimester if you are only applying it a couple of times per week. The problem with that, that sounds encouraging, but the problem with only using hydroquinone a couple of times a week is that you are not going to see results very quickly. And it is really about the daily consistent use of hydroquinone that is going to make the biggest different.
Martha: Okay. So I have to wait.
Bryan Barron: Well, not necessarily. I was going to mention a few other things that you can try that you can use at any time during pregnancy.
00:34:11 And, of course, you always want to double check with your physician to get his or her okay. But, pigmentation issues sometimes crop up during pregnancy as a result of the hormonal and other numerous other changes that are happening. Some women experience what is called the "mask of pregnancy" where they get noticeably darker around the perimeter of their face. Some can get discoloration between the breasts that you have experienced.
00:34:41 Sometimes it is under the arms. They notice the armpit area is markedly darker than the surrounding skin, and it never used to be that way. It can vary. Some women find that their moles increase in number during pregnancy as well. And it is all a part of that biological process. So in addition to the hydroquinone in the third trimester, if you want to consider that, ultimately I think you should consider that after pregnancy.
00:35:11 You can go to Beautypedia to check out options. I can send you a tube of our Paula's Choice Clearly Remarkable Skin Lightening Lotion if you promise to set it aside and only use it when you are supposed to.
Martha: Yes. Thank you.
Bryan Barron: In the meantime, so two things: you want to make sure, depending on what you are wearing, if the top you are wearing is exposing that discolored area to daylight, even if the sun isn't out, we are just talking daylight because UV light is present - if you can see your hand in front of your face when you are outside, you are getting some UV light - you want to keep that area protected from sun exposure.
00:35:54 So, if you are wearing a top that conceals that area, keep in mind that most fabrics only offer about an SPF of 5 or so, depending on how tight the weave is. And darker colors typically - is it the darker colors offer more protection and lighter...? I think it is darker colors offer less because the lighter colors reflect the sun's rays. But I may have to double check that at a later date.
00:36:20 But just keep the - the take home message is that clothing is not the only method to cover up. You should still be putting at least SPF 15 on the area as well.
Martha: Okay, sounds good.
Bryan Barron: Another thing that you can consider is you can apply an alpha hydroxy acid exfoliant to that area. That is going to help increase skin cell turnover, help those dead skin cells that tend to look even more discolored and dull, it will help them to shed naturally. So we are also going to send you a tube of Paula's Choice Skin Revealing Body Lotion with 10% AHA.
Martha: Okay, thank you.
Bryan Barron: AHA is generally considered safe to use throughout pregnancy and while you are nursing.
00:37:07 To be on the safe side, as I mentioned earlier, do check with your doctor. But you can apply the AHA lotion twice daily and see how your skin responds. I don't think you will get a tremendous improvement, but I do think you will see some improvement, especially if you are good about protecting that area from sun exposure. And good luck with the pregnancy.
Martha: Thank you.
Bryan Barron: It's an exciting time!
Martha: Yes, it is.
Bryan Barron: All right.
00:37:35 Have a good night, Martha.
Martha: Thanks, you too. Bye-bye.
Bryan Barron: Bye-bye.
Daynah Burnett: Okay, so we have Joan from Illinois. Joan, you are on the air.
Joan: Hi there.
Bryan Barron: Hi Joan.
Joan: I have a question about thick skin, I guess it is, and I think I should use more of an exfoliant, and maybe is a 10% better, of course I would think, than a 2%, or the 8%?
00:38:09 Because it is not getting through my thick skin, I don't think; and there are still bumps after I [shave].
Bryan Barron: What part of the body are you talking about where your skin is thick?
Joan: The thighs.
Bryan Barron: The thighs. Okay. Is it the entire thigh, or is it the inner thigh?
Joan: No, more the inner bikini line, that area.
Bryan Barron: Okay. Go ahead.
Joan: Well I was going to say, and so I just avoid shaving too much. And I'm thinking that this dead skin, I mean the ingrown bumps, are not nice, right? So how often, and when if you shave do you use the AHA before, after? So it is a when and a how often maybe, or what should I use.
Bryan Barron: As far as how often to shave that area, I would say you could give it a try daily.
00:39:14 But it depends on what kind of results you are getting from the previous attempt. In other words, the hair in that area, assuming that we are not dealing with thickened skin, which we are and we will get back to that in a minute, but generally speaking the hair in that area is going to take longer to grow back than, for example, a man's beard.
00:39:39 So whereas I may have to shave every day to keep that five o'clock shadow minimized, in an ideal situation you may be able to get away with shaving that area maybe once every four to five days to keep it perfectly smooth and to keep the stubble away. What I am a little unsure about is how the skin in that area got so thick.
Joan: Yeah.
Bryan Barron: Is it dry and scaly? Or does it just feel notably thicker?
Joan: No.
00:40:10 No. I think when I say "thick" it just seems that because there is some ingrown, or hair that is under the skin. And it pokes out a little, and then even if I took tweezers and pulled it out, it is like the tip of the iceberg, only a quarter is showing.
Bryan Barron: Oh, man, okay.
Joan: So my skin has that much that has to be exfoliated?
Bryan Barron: No, it is not necessarily that.
00:40:40 It is just sometimes, especially in the bikini area, the hair often tends to be curly.
Joan: Oh, yeah.
Bryan Barron: So essentially what happens is that as the hair starts poking out, you can see it out of the follicle, which is another name for a pore, the pore linking, the follicular lining. The hair starts to come out, but then as it starts growing, instead of growing out and away from the skin, it grows out and then it curls, and then it starts growing back into the skin.
00:41:13 And then that can be very painful, and itchy, and it can lead to red bumps. You can try using - have you tried the 2% liquid that we sell?
Joan: I think I have, but I am not religious about it. And maybe I should be.
Bryan Barron: Yes. You do need to apply that at least once a day, especially...
Joan: Before or after you shave?
Bryan Barron: You wouldn't want to put it on before you shave because you would essentially just be shaving that off, you know what I mean? I mean, some of it would stay behind, but for best results you can apply it after shaving.
00:42:00 Do you normally shave in the morning or at night?
Joan: Morning.
Bryan Barron: Okay. So what I would do is I would put the 2% BHA liquid on with either your finger tips or a cotton pad at night. And then, so give it several hours to work, and then you can wash that area in the morning, and then shave. And then if you would like, because BHA, the salicylic acid is fine to apply after shaving as well, you can dab on a bit more.
Joan: Okay.
Bryan Barron: You were talking about percentages and AHA or BHA.
00:42:40 You do not need as much salicylic acid or BHA as glycolic acid or AHA. The difference in percentages can seem logical on a label. It is simple math - well, this product has 2% salicylic acid, but this product has 10% glycolic acid. And 10% is more than 2%, so why wouldn't I want that one? When it comes to AHA and BHA though, the difference isn't quantitative, it is qualitative. And simply put, you can get equal results with less salicylic acid than you can with glycolic acid.
00:43:19 So it isn't about one being stronger than the other. I mean, you could certainly argue that a 10% glycolic acid product is stronger than a 1% salicylic acid product. When you are doubling the salicylic acid to 2%, and it is in a formula that enhances its penetration into the skin which is exactly what you are getting with the 2% BHA liquid that we will send you.
00:43:45 We are also going to send you the Redness Relief Treatment and the Close Comfort Shave Gel. I want you to try our shave gel. Just apply a thin layer of that and see what you think.
Joan: Oh, that would be great, because I don't have that. I have a lot of Paula's products, but not those few things. That is great.
Bryan Barron: Give the Close Comfort Shave Gel a try. And I will give you a tip - the shave gel doesn't foam or lather. And it is very concentrated. So, people who are used to products that they dispense from a can, and they foam up, they tend to use too much of the gel.
00:44:22 For the area that we are talking about on you, I would say a nickel sized amount applied to damp skin should be plenty. If you find that you do need more than that, of course add more, but it is always better to start out with a smaller amount in a just-as-needed versus putting on - because what will happen if you put on too much is that your razor blade won't be in as close contact with the skin. It will literally just keep missing those hairs until you shave enough of the gel away that your skin is exposes again.
Joan: Gotcha. Well, that sounds great.
Bryan Barron: So, give that a go. And try the 2% BHA liquid. If it remains a consistent problem, later this year we are launching a specialized product called BHA 9.
00:45:10 And it does contain 9% salicylic acid. It is meant as a spot treatment for stubborn imperfections like that blackhead that you just can't get rid of, or that white bump that just doesn't respond to anything, or that little patch of large pores that you have that just isn't going away. So, you can try it on the particularly obnoxious bumps.
00:45:34 And it is fine to use that with the 2% BHA liquid. You can combine them. And so in your case, down the road, they may be what is needed. And we are looking to launch that product. Last I heard it was going to launch in August.
Joan: Okay. Well I will look forward to trying that, too, and ordering some. And I will try this other stuff. I appreciate it so much.
Bryan Barron: Okay, Joan.
Joan: Thanks for your help.
Bryan Barron: Thank you so much. Have a good night.
Daynah Burnett: All right. We have got Kelly from New York.
00:46:08 Kelly, are you on the line?
Kelly: Yes I am. Hello and good night.
Daynah Burnett: Hi, you are on the air.
Bryan Barron: Hi Kelly.
Kelly: Hi, good night. How are you?
Bryan Barron: Good. What's on your mind?
Kelly: I have a question. The lower part of my legs are coarse, and the upper part of my thighs are finer hair. And I found that - I shave with a men's razor, a Gillette razor, the ones that you can pre-fill, because the female razors do not work for me. I don't know what else to do.
00:46:45 I know I was told that I am supposed to use the female razors because they have these conditioning stuff in it that is really good for your legs.
Bryan Barron: Well, you know what? A lot of the men's ones do, too, Kelly. And honestly, when it comes to razors, for men and women, it is so much more about marketing than anything else. And the next time you are at the drugstore or at Target and you are in the razor shaving cream aisle, take a look at how all of the women's razors have pretty flowers on the package.
00:47:22 The colors are more feminine. The names...everything about it is designed to look more feminine. And then you look over at the men's, and everything is edges and metal. And there are bold orange and green colors. It is all about what appeals to the different genders. But when it comes down to effectiveness, it is the same. For example, the Gillette Venus has identical construction, for the most part, especially in terms of the blade to the Gillette Fusion razor which is marketed to men.
Kelly: Yes, okay.
Bryan Barron: But there is a strong marketing pull to call the female razor the Venus, and they put it in much prettier packaging.
00:48:10 And then the men's razor - men aren't going to want to buy a razor that is called Venus. Maybe they would buy one that is called Mars. I don't know. But, so you have been using a men's razor, and are you finding that you have to use two different ones? Or is it the razor that you are using is working well on one part of your leg, but not the other?
Kelly: Yes. It is working well on the bottom part of my legs, because there is coarser hair there. But it is not working well on the top part.
00:48:42 And I find that with the female razors as well that the hair on my thighs is finer. So, when I am done shaving I realize that there is still hair, and I'm really frustrated because I don't know what else to do.
Bryan Barron: Desiree or Daynah, do you have any tips for Kelly regarding that situation?
Daynah Burnett: Well, one of the things I wonder is how warm and moist you are getting your legs when you are - like you are trying to get the hairs nice and soft.
00:49:14 Are you making sure that you are getting everything - is everything "primed" I guess is what I am asking?
Kelly: Yes. Yes. Because I am in the bathroom for a long time before I even begin to shave. I don't know if that is a problem. I use the hot water. Maybe that might be a bad thing, too, because I get the red bumps a lot. I don't know - I am doing that part. And I'm using a shaving gel, but I use Skintimate shaving gel.
Bryan Barron: You know, Kelly, I would suggest experimenting with two different razors to see if you notice a difference.
Kelly: Okay.
Bryan Barron: The razor that you are using now, that is working better on the coarse hair on your lower legs, do you know if that is a five-blade or a four-blade?
Kelly: I think it is a four-blade.
00:50:14 Let me look and see what it is here.
Bryan Barron: Because I was going to suggest that maybe for the...
Kelly: It's five.
Bryan Barron: It's a five-blade. Try using a three-blade razor, and one that you can find in most stores. It is also marketed to men, but it will work the same. It is the Gillette Mach 3. Go for that little set where you get the razor and like two replacement cartridges for like $7 or $8.
00:50:50 Because if you buy the razor itself without the refills, and then have to buy that separately, it ends up being an expensive experiment. Give that a try.
Kelly: Mach 3, right?
Bryan Barron: M-A-C-H 3, yes, by Gillette.
Daynah Burnett: That is a razor that I have heard a lot of people swear by. I have never used it myself, but that is one that I have definitely heard really good things about.
Kelly: Okay I will try that one. I am using Gillette Fusion.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. And Kelly I am going on the theory that that blade style and configuration may do the trick for that finer hair. And the five blade, because it cuts so well, is able to really get at that coarse hair.
00:51:41 And I'm concerned that if you overdo it with the Gillette Fusion Five-Blade on your thighs that you may end up just worsening those red bumps.
Kelly: Okay.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. So we are going to send you, I want you to start using the Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA on your legs. Do that several times a week. It can sub for your regular body lotion, unless your legs are very dry, in which case you can apply the Weightless Body Treatment first and then follow with your regular moisturizer.
00:52:17 And you can definitely put it on after shaving. It is going to make the shaving experience better. It is going to help reduce those red bumps. And you can call us back, or send us an email through and let us know how that worked for you.
Kelly: All right. Thank you.
Bryan Barron: And we are going to send you a Redness Relief Treatment as well because I really want more people to try that product. It is an incredible product to use. After shaving you can just dab some on. If you have some trouble spots, particularly redness, you can just dab it right on there after shaving. And you can use it on your face as well if you are having sensitive skin issues on the face. Give it a try there, too.
Kelly: Oh, okay. Thank you.
Bryan Barron: All right, have a good night, Kelly. And Daynah, before we take another call, I didn't want to forget this. Daynah, you gave me a little tear out from the March issue of In Style Magazine where dermatologist Dr. Frederic Brandt talks the six biggest myths about aging.
Daynah Burnett: Oh, Dr. Brandt. There is just something about him.
00:53:23 He gets me a little bit nutty.
Bryan Barron: You know what, I am not diminishing his profession or his expertise with the Botox at all. All due respect to his medical credentials, but man he looks creepy.
Daynah Burnett: He does. And you know his products aren't great. His professional reputation aside, his products are largely not good.
Bryan Barron: His little picture here is in this article, and his face looks so done up and frozen, and his browser so oddly arched, that I mean you have to imagine -
00:54:05 I know that Dr. Brandt is very much into the clinical trials, and he is experimenting with the dermal fillers and stuff that haven't gotten full approval yet. He is part of that premarket approval testing, and that is all very exciting. But it looks like he has just gone overboard on his own face. And it is a shame. I almost want to go and try to find pictures of what he looked like 10, 20 years ago before all of this injectable stuff was available.
00:54:33 Because, wow, it just doesn't look natural. I mean, it is one thing to try to look younger via Botox and dermal fillers done artfully, but I think he just went overboard. Anyway, got off on a tangent there. The myth that we wanted to talk about that you may have read is the more you exfoliate, the better. So that is the myth, and then according to this little article the reality is though it is important to remove dead skin cells regularly so your skin will reflect more light and better absorb treatment products, doing it too often can be so irritating that you won't be able to see other anti-aging -
00:55:11 I'm sorry, not see. You won't be able to use other anti-aging products like retinol. The ideal: exfoliate just once a week with an at-home microderm system or peel. Do either one of you want to help me explain why that is faulty advice?
Daynah Burnett: Desiree, are you there?
Desiree Stordahl: No, I'm sorry, my roommate just came in the door, so I was a little bit distracted. I am doing the show from home tonight.
Bryan Barron: Oh, and Desiree, you have had a busy day being part of all of those -
00:55:45 Desiree is our Paula's Choice product video model. And she and Paula have been shooting a slew of new videos all day today. So I can imagine you are probably a little slap-happy at this point.
Desiree Stordahl: I am a little We have been having so many new products, and the new packaging to reshoot, so it has been quite an ordeal. But, go ahead and go on.
Bryan Barron: Okay. So, Daynah, did you have something to say, or do you want me to jump in?
Daynah Burnett: You go ahead. You have got it right in front of you, so it is probably better if you speak to Dr. Brandt at this point.
Bryan Barron: Okay.
00:56:18 So the message here is that he is saying to exfoliate less often. That exfoliating too much is actually a problem for skin. And I would agree with that. If you are using the type of products that he recommends, particularly a Microdermabrasion scrub, as those tend to be very abrasive. And the tendency when you are right there at your sink in the thick of it is just to keep scrubbing because you are thinking, "Oh, I'm going to scrub my blackheads away. I'm going to scrub these wrinkles away." And rinse, rinse, rinse, and then you notice afterwards that you are getting some inflammation. And so, yeah, for a little bit your pores look smaller and your wrinkles look fewer because you have pretty much just roughed up the skin so you are getting some swelling.
00:57:02 Very different from how a well-formulated AHA or BHA exfoliant works. And as an adjunct to this, there is no research that we have been able to find anywhere, and no one we have asked - professionals and what not - has ever been able to tell us why this advice about not using retinol with a BHA or AHA product is still floating around out there. I see that month after month.
00:57:30 There is never an explanation as to why you can't. They just say, "Don't." It is almost like saying, "Don't eat broccoli with chicken. Always eat broccoli with beef." And then they don't say why. Do you just take that advice at face value? I mean, bottom line, it is perfect fine to use a BHA exfoliant and a retinol product at the same time. If you can find them in the same product, although they are typically not in the same product because of compatibility issues with the pH.
00:58:03 That has to do with the keeping the exfoliant effective. Once it is on your skin it is going to go to work right away, and then you can follow with a retinol product. They don't cancel each other out. Really for best results, if you are using a well-formulated exfoliant, you can apply it every night, or even twice a day. The key is being consistent. So that brings us to the end of our show. I can't believe how fast that hour went by.
Daynah Burnett: Oh, yeah, it is over already.
Bryan Barron: I hope that we have given you all some helpful advice about shaving.
00:58:37 You know, I thought this was going to be a really quick, simple topic tonight, and the truth is, it is not. As we saw from the callers, there are a lot of issues and head scratchers that can come up when it comes to the simple act of removing hair. Let's go over real quick our next three shows that we are looking forward to presenting to you.
00:59:00 On February 28, next Tuesday, "Top five tips for keeping oily skin under control." On March 6 we are going to be talking with hair expert James Todd. And he really is an expert - he is an amazing, amazing guy - on how to fix your worst hair disasters.
Desiree Stordahl: I can't wait for that one.
Bryan Barron: Call us and tell us about your worst haircuts. What to do if you get a bad dye job. What to do if you are just having a bad hair day that is extending into a bad hair month. Give us a call and James Todd will help you work through the situation.
00:59:37 On March 13, we are going to be doing a Splurge vs. Steal show, "Find identical department store cosmetics at the drugstore." Save money.
Daynah Burnett: Fun, fun, fun.
Bryan Barron: That will be a super fun show. Thank you everyone for listening. Come visit us at Check out the products you are using at And we will talk to you next week. Good night.
Daynah Burnett: Good night.
Desiree Stordahl: Good night.
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