Part of a man's daily routine is shaving, and if he's not careful enough with the ever-so-dreaded razor, the nicks and tiny cuts start to happen. Then, before he knows it, little pieces of tissue are stuck all over his face to stop the bleeding.
However, there is a miracle tool out there that can stop that, one that also makes for a great, cheap gift for the shaving man: the styptic pencil.
According to the Executive Shaving Company, one of the largest shaving and grooming suppliers in Europe, a styptic pencil is a short, medicated stick generally made of powdered crystal from what's called an Alum Block. In a styptic pencil, the Alum Block and a waxy binder are pressed into a pencil shape. It is generally used to seal small cuts and nicks, especially from razors.
The company explains that an Alum Block has antiseptic properties that cool and refresh skin after shaving. The salts inside the block constrict blood vessels and tighten pores, too. Applying an Alum Block immediately after shaving to a wet face can instantly stop bleeding from minor cuts, razor burns and small nicks.
Before the days of the safety razor the styptic pencil was a necessary part of a man's shaving kit and was used to seal cuts caused by improper shaving, although many people still continue to use safety razors and styptic pencils, writes the company.
Users on reddit.com expressed their opinions on styptic pencils. One said: Yeah, they sting. I will trade a small wince of pain for avoiding the weird look from the cute girl at the coffee shop and later finding that my neck was bleeding as though I'd been garroted.
Another said: It works. I don't use it unless it's a major cut because it feels like bleach.
The Executive Shaving Company also lent some tips for anyone using the styptic pencil:
- After use, clean the alum block thoroughly with water, dry it and store in a dry place. If you allow the block to remain moist or exposed to moisture it will dissolve.
- If you have dry or sensitive skin, then we do not recommend using alum blocks since the minerals used are astringent, meaning that they draw moisture out of the skin.
- For the best ELECTRIC shave, dampen the face and apply the block before shaving to condition and ready the skin. These actions tighten the beard and raise the whiskers for an easier shave. (If you still happen to get cut, then you reapply the block.)
- Never use the alum block before a shave, only after.