We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

The perfect shave. It’s something to which many males devote considerable time and expense, experimenting with different razors, gels, creams, brushes, and strokes. But for some, particularly African-American men, the quest for a smooth-as-stone face is complicated by pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB), or razor bumps, painful ingrown hairs that become infected when the razor is wielded. Now, a longtime military man and Howard alumnus, Lt. Col. Marvin Whetstone of the Air National Guard, has developed a technique to combat razor bumps. In a video, he describes a 20-to-30-minute process that begins with scrubbing the skin with warm water and moisturizing soap, applying petroleum jelly, and then plying a double-edged, nondisposable razor in careful downward strokes. Some dermatologists contest that other techniques (including the use of Retin-A or topical steroids) are just as effective. And the best solution to razor bumps, doctors say, is to grow a beard. However, even though the armed forces will grant a “profile,” or shaving waiver, to soldiers who suffer from PFB, Whetstone maintains that a beard negatively affects career advancement in the service and elsewhere. To obtain a video, send $28.45 to Whetstone at 15779 Columbia Pike, Box 570, Burtonsville, MD 20866.