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Five Tips for Reducing Razor Burn

Simple steps to prevent razor burn and irritation

Published on 12/06/2016
Hair and NailsHairDiagnosis and DetailsShavingSensitive SkinSkin Care for MenWestern
Man in field about to shave his beard without getting razor burn

I’ve dealt with razor burn ever since I started shaving. I can recall discussing this issue with my friends on my wedding day. Nobody knew why I kept developing red, irritated, and bumpy skin after I shaved. 

I thought I had a solid routine. I always showered before I shaved. I used fresh razors. I bought shaving cream specifically formulated for sensitive skin. However, no matter what I tried, I still experienced razor burn. Nothing seemed to work.  

So, a few years ago, I decided to take the matter into my own hands and investigate this issue some more. What I finally found is that razor burn is most likely to afflict people with curly hair, and is caused by the hair curling over and irritating the skin when shaving. Further, most popular shaving products, like aerosol shaving cream, multi-blade razors, and alcohol-based aftershaves, aren’t good for it. 

I decided to experiment with different shaving techniques and employ my knowledge of natural products to see if I could improve my razor burn. I looked for techniques to protect my skin and reduce irritation. After a ton of research and experimentation, my resulting routine leaves me with far less razor burn and irritation. In fact, most days it’s totally imperceptible!

Everyone is a little different and finding your routine may take some time. However, here are a few basic tips that may help you reduce your razor burn.

  1. Use a single blade razor. Throw away those 3 and 5 blade razors, they will just tear up your sensitive skin. Multi-blade razors can make the hair more sharp further irritating the skin. They may also catch your hair on one blade and pull your skin closer to the other blades, causing further irritation. Switching to a single blade reduces the friction and pull. I have found double edge safety razors to work very well.  But, you could also try a straight razor (with a lot of practice) or even a disposable single blade razor. I personally have found the double edge safety razor with Feather blades to be the best for me. However, these blades are extremely sharp, and beginners to this technique should try something a little less sharp, like Wilkinson, which I also really like.
  2. Wet shave with a shaving brush. When you apply the shaving cream or shaving soap with a brush, it helps you get the cream under your hair which, in turn, protects your skin. Also, it’s worthwhile to invest in sensitive skin shaving soap, as it helps to moisten and soften your hair and skin before you shave.  
  3. Use a moistening aftershave cream. Most aftershaves are alcohol-based, which helps to close your pores. However, this also dries your skin, which may cause further irritation. Using an aftershave cream or just a moisturizer will reduce irritation and nourish your skin. I use whipped shea butter, which is great for soothing irritation.  
  4. Look for shaving products made with licorice, aloe, and green tea, as they help to reduce skin irritation. Licorice is a widely used Chinese herb for all types of inflammation. Green tea is packed with antioxidants, which speed the healing process for wounded skin. Lastly, aloe is soothing for irritated skin (which is why it’s often used on sunburns).
  5. Always shower before you shave. Think of how your hair feels softer after a shower. This will happen with your facial hair as well. Softer hair makes for an easier shave. 

Shave on!


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