In many ways this year was the renaissance of the traditional shave. Male grooming aficionados around the world are turning their back on the modern salon of the noughties and are embracing the traditions of good ol’ fashioned barbering. Of course, no classic cut would be complete without an old school shave.
Many men are going cold turkey on their wasteful disposable razor routine, and getting to grips with throwback razors like grandpa used to use. For a good shave, these men use little more than a good sharp blade, some musky soap, and a styptic pencil.
As most traditional razors don’t have plastic guards, they deliver a closer shave, but inevitably a few nicks and cuts along the way. The skin on your face and neck is vascular, which means that there are lots of tiny blood vessels under the skin. A pathetically small laceration can bring forth a fountain of blood, and have you on your morning trip to work with your face covered in toilet roll confetti.
Aside from looking ridiculous, toilet tissue leaves your precious mug vulnerable to infection. No antiseptic properties with your bathroom roll. That’s why your grandpa used to use a styptic pencil.
Why styptic pencils can help stop the bleeding of a shaving nick quickly
A styptic is an antihemorrhagic treatment, which is used to stem blood loss in the military (so you know it works), as well as being a handy treatment for shaving cuts. The active ingredient, aluminium sulfate, helps the blood to form a clot and causes constriction of blood vessels to control the bleeding. The combination of these two effects, which can cause a stinging sensation when applied, is why the styptic pencil is useful to stop bleeding quickly.
While styptic pencils do not seal the skin after shaving, they do help to stop shaving nicks from continuing to bleed, and have antiseptic properties to help you avoid infection.
Do styptic pencils help the treatment of deeper nicks
The vast majority of shaving cuts can be treated with a styptic pencil. Even some deeper nicks benefit from a couple of applications as bleeding stops quicker than just a bandaid or piece of tissue paper.
However, if you have severed a major blood vessel you should apply firm pressure to the wound and seek medical attention. Styptic pencils will certainly work wonders on shaving cuts, but if you have a fire hose spraying out of your neck, it will be difficult to make the apply effectively.
You can buy styptic pencils online from various retailers, but be wary of those that are not retractable into their casing. Poorly packaged styptic pencils have a tendency to unexpectedly crumble into the sink during use, leaving nothing more than a miserable clump of goop. Modern models, such as Glyder, can be retracted, stopping them from getting wet. These designs are easier to use, can be applied on the move, and will last longer.