The neck is tricky, and many wet shavers will tell you it’s their most troublesome spot to shave. Get too close and you end up with nicks, cuts, ingrown hairs, and razor burn; don’t get close enough and you don’t get a good shave.
To help you successfully navigate this unique terrain, we’ve put together a guide to shaving your neck with minimal irritation. Check back for Part 2 soon!
Determine your hair growth patterns
Hair grain – the direction your hairs grow in – doesn’t always go the same direction on your face and neck. Because shaving with the grain gives you the most irritation-free results, it’s a good idea to map your hair grain first so you know what you’re dealing with. Grow your facial hair out for a day or two, then use your finger to stroke your hair in different directions to determine hair growth patterns.
Use a hair grain map like this one to record everything, and keep the map with you when you shave.
Practice proper prep
Even before you start whipping up your shaving lather, you should prime your skin. The skin on your neck is thinner and thereby more sensitive than that on your face, so you must take extra precaution.
We recommend doing the following right out of the shower, when skin is most soft and pores are open:
Start by exfoliating your face with a gentle scrub like Triumph & Disaster Rock & Roll Suicide Face Scrub, which will remove excess debris, sebum, and blackheads that can leave skin bumpy and irritated. A scrub is particularly effective for those with ingrown hairs.
If you don’t have a facial scrub available to you, you can also scrub your neck with a warm, wet cloth. Or just wash your face with a gentle facial cleanser, like Baxter of California Daily Face Wash. The key is to get your neck clean without removing protective natural oils.
Try pre-shave oil
A pre-shave oil is not an absolute necessity, but it is worth a try. Oils penetrate more deeply and faster into skin than soaps, lotions, and creams, so they can really drill in moisturizing ingredients. Truefitt and Hill Ultimate Comfort Pre-Shave Oil is well-loved by our customers for its ability to reduce razor bumps.
Apply pre-shave oil after washing your face and before applying shaving cream.
Use cold water
Typically when you think of a luxurious wet shave, warm water is a given. But there are plenty of wet shavers who believe that cold water does the trick for an irritation-free neck shave. There are two ways to go about this: Warm water prep + cold water shave or cold water prep + cold water shave.
The idea is that warm water brings nerve endings closer to the skin’s surface, causing redness and increasing inflammation.
Use a DE razor with less of the head exposed + a good blade
If you’re a cartridge shaver, consider trying a razor with fewer blades, like a safety razor or straight razor. It will take some time and practice, but once you’ve learned how to maneuver the contours of your face and neck your skin will thank you for it. A single blade will always mean less irritation and/or ingrown hairs.
If you are currently a safety razor shaver, any DE razor with less of the blade exposed will be gentler on skin. Adjustable DE razors allow you to adjust the razor for a more aggressive or milder shave – dial up on your face; down on your neck.
Some have also had success with slant bar razors, which cut hair at an angle rather than straight on (like the Merkur 37C HD Slant Safety Razor).
Finally, pairing the right razor with a super sharp blade, like those from Feather, gets you an efficient cut the first time around.