How to Prevent Razor Burn While Wet Shaving

Getting shaved in a barber shop

We’ve all been there: a clean-shaven face covered in red splotches and cuts. We promote shaving in all its luxurious glory, but it’s easy to end up with irritated skin if you don’t correctly execute the shave. So if you’re truly in pursuit of a satisfying wet shave, set aside some time, slow down, and read the following tips. Trust us – learning the essentials of how to prevent razor burn will elevate the entire shaving experience.

Why am I getting razor burn?

There are several factors that can lead to razor burn:

  • Not prepping for your shave correctly
  • Using the wrong razor or a dull razor
  • Using the wrong shaving cream
  • Not shaving correctly
  • Not adequately moisturizing after the shave

So how do I fix all of the above?

Not prepping for your shave correctly / Sorry gentlemen, but a quick dry shave just won’t cut it. Dragging a razor across dry skin creates far more tug than doing so on wet skin, so make sure your facial hair is nice and wet. One of the best times to shave is right after the shower, when your pores are open and your facial hair is plumped with moisture. Wet facial hair is weaker and thus easier to slice off. Although it may be tempting to apply shaving cream to a dry face to save time, don’t – it is one of the leading causes of razor burn.

No time to shower? Do as barbers do and warm up a wet towel. Place it on your face and let it steam your skin for a few minutes.  Then proceed with the shaving cream and razor.

Using the wrong razor or a dull razor / Since a dull blade is not as smooth as a sharp blade, it causes more friction and skin trauma when dragged across your face. This means more razor burn and rash. If you use a razor with disposable heads, change the head every three to ten shaves for optimal sharpness, depending on the thickness of your facial hair.

But if you really want to minimize irritation, we highly recommend switching to a straight razor or safety razor. Why? Razors with multiple blades have a particular caveat: after that first blade hits your skin, most (if not all) of the shaving cream will have already been scraped off. By the time the second and third (and fourth, etc.) blades hit your skin, you’re essentially dry shaving, which leaves your skin at its most vulnerable.

In contrast, a single blade gives you a clean cut.

Using the wrong shaving cream / First thing’s first: if you currently use a foaming shaving cream, stop. When shaving, you want a nice, rich lather that forms a moisturizing barrier between you and the blade, and foam is simply too porous to do that. Shaving cream provides excellent slip so your blade glides easily across your skin while still enabling a close cut. A quality shaving cream will also moisturize your whiskers and leave them standing upright and ready to cut.

A shaving brush is a wet shaver’s best friend

A shaving brush lifts the hair and keeps it lifted for a closer cut, and it helps create a creamy lather so the shaving cream stays close to the skin. A shaving brush also gently exfoliates skin to reduce irritation during the shave.

Not shaving correctly / As with any art, technique is essential. While you may be tempted to go against the grain for a closer cut, doing so is the number one cause of razor burn, razor bumps, and ingrown hairs.

Our tips:

  • Start shaving the sides, then the moustache, and finally the chin, where hair is thickest. By the time you get to your chin, the shaving cream should have thoroughly softened up your chin hair.
  • Rinse your blade after every stroke to clear it of whiskers, oil, shaving cream, and the general gunk that can get in the way of the blade making a clean shave.
  • Don’t do too much reshaving. But if you do, lather up the areas you want to shave again to ensure more protection for your skin.
  • Shave with short, light strokes to avoid applying too much pressure. The weight of the razor is sufficient to cut your hair.
  • Clean the blade with alcohol after you shave. Not disinfecting the blade can cause razor burn and skin irritation because you’re shaving with bacteria left on there from the previous shave.

Not adequately moisturizing after the shave / Your skin will be quite unhappy after you’ve dragged a sharp piece of metal across it, so you must restore moisture balance. While aftershave with witch hazel and tea tree oil works great as an antiseptic, for some men it will just add to the irritation.

If you find aftershave irritating, apply an aftershave balm (like Castle Forbes Essential Oil Aftershave Balm) or cream (like Piccadilly Shaving Co. Sandalwood Aftershave Cream), which has a thicker consistency than plain ol’ aftershave. Many of these balms and creams also work as non-oily moisturizers that won’t leave a shiny residue. Look for ingredients like aloe vera and menthol to cool while reducing redness.

Any product suggestions?

Of course! Check out our picks for minimizing razor burn and irritation below…

Products

SHOP: 1. Proraso Shaving Cream, Menthol and Eucalyptus, 2. Dovo Best Quality, Half Hollow Carbon Steel, 5/8″. 3. RoyalShavePB3 Silvertip Badger Hair Brush, 4. Speick After Shave Lotion, 5. Merkur 34C HD Chrome Plated Safety Razor, 6. Piccadilly Shaving Co. Sandalwood Aftershave Cream.

4 responses

  1. We love your tip on using rubbing alcohol. Not only will that keep the blade clean to prevent razor burn, but the blades will last longer. You can save your skin and a few bucks from following some of these tips. Thanks for posting!

    • Thanks! Yes, cleaning the blade with alcohol is a step a lot of us don’t think of – or forget – but that one little step can make a huge difference for the health of your blade – and skin.

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