Hello and welcome to 2013 everybody! I'm still here, and if you're not, I hope it's because you're off having fun!
The last time I did a post about my morning shaving routine was in 2010. I don't update it much because, really, not much has changed. I thought I'd share the subtly evolving line of products anyway, though, especially because newer readers would have to wade through over two years of posts to read about it otherwise. So.
Step 1: Soften the hair and cleanse the skin. I run very warm water over a washcloth and hold it to my face to open the pores and get the beard all soft, and rub my chin where the hairs seem to dislike standing up and are more likely to grow back into the skin again. Then I use a Cetaphil or drug-store-equivalent gentle skin cleanser, whatever's cheapest. I find the imitations work just as well.
Step 2: Shave - stubbled sisters do it against the grain. I've been using the King of Shaves Azor System Razor with Kiss My Face moisture shave. The razor lets me have a greater range of pressure on the skin and the blades last a long time, and a small dab of the foaming gel goes a long way and is easier to come by than my other preferred mediums. And yes, I shave against the grain. I don't want any evidence of stubble or a shadow by afternoon. I pay for it with a few ingrown hairs, so if that worries you, try shaving across the grain. I finish off with the styptic pencil to stop any bleeds, and am now able to apply moitsurizer and make-up much sooner than before.
Step 3: Make amends with your skin. That poor organ goes through a lot when you shave it. Now that I've been on Spiro for a while, I don't have the same problem with oiliness that I used to, but I still like to use Aveeno's Daily Moisturizing Lotion or its less expensive imitations, all of which are light and leave no feeling of residue. It's just enough for my face, but my chin needs a little something extra. It's always dry and flaky after repetitive shaves. I ran out of jojoba oil a long time ago, and man that stuff is expensive! So I now use a tiny bit of Vitamin E oil, which promotes healing among other things, and allows make-up to sit more easily over the abused areas.
Step 4: Cover it, girl. I always see the stubble lying just under the skin, no matter how aggressive my technique, and then there's sometimes blemishes from ingrown hair. I need a thick concealer, and I still use CoverGirl's Smoother because it has that extra shot of moisturizer right in the stick. It's opaque enough to cover all but the worst spots, and I find it doesn't blob on any dry bits like other concealers do. I also still use CG Fresh Complexion Pocket Powder even though it's designed for oily skin. It is such a lovely fine powder. Really, I could probably just pat a bit over my chin and neck where I have things I want to hide, but my brain still thinks I need all-over cover, even though acne is not nearly the problem it used to be.
Step 5: At the end of the day, thank your skin again. It's put up with your torture and carried you through the day. I wash off all the make-up with the same gentle cleanser, and will usually gently rub with a washcloth again just to coax those hairs not to grow into the skin overnight. My medications have really evened out my skin, so I'm not afraid to moisturize every night, now, and will often use Vitamin E oil again to encourage healing overnight, or Polysporin to prevent infection in any open cuts. I don't even use Persa-Gel anymore, except directly on the odd pimple.
My skin does very well without the harsher cleansers or benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, thanks to the Diane and Spiro. If I thought my face was good before, this is amazing progress. I get compliments often. It's funny, I really thought these chemical treatments were preventing acne, until I saw what my skin could be like with my androgen blocked. I have to acknowledge the pills for the impact they've had on my routine. It's nice not to have to worry about acne and oil nearly as much, and to focus on a safe, clean shave and hiding any leftover shadow.