No matter how masterful a wet shaver you are, you’ve experienced razor burn at some point. As a shaving connoisseur, you already know that switching to a DE razor or straight razor eliminates most of the threat. But there are plenty of other solutions, too, that might not occur to you right away. Making moisturizing a daily routine, for instance, instead of only after you shave, or shaving at night so you’re not stressing your skin with a full day of activities and environmental toxins.
1. Exfoliate before you shave
If you’re not exfoliating, you’re missing a crucial step to preventing razor burn. Exfoliating removes dead skin, oil, and other debris that can clog your razor blade and lead to razor burn. Exfoliating can also unearth ingrown hairs.
Choose an exfoliator based on your skin type: if you have normal/oily skin, try an exfoliator with glycolic acid, which dissolves the outermost layer of skin to encourage cell repair and healing. Pick one that comes with physical exfoliators (like beads or pumice) to get a deeper clean. Billy Jealousy Assassin is an intense exfoliator with walnut shell powder and sweet almond meal for physical exfoliation, as well as natural exfoliating enzymes. It’s so effective you can reduce the appearance of discoloration and scars over time!
If you have sensitive skin, a chemical exfoliator with beta hydroxy acids is gentler. We’re a big fan of Triumph & Disaster Rock & Roll Suicide Face Scrub, which exfoliates with salicylic acid, volcanic ash, and green clay.
2. Make moisturizing a routine
Dragging a piece of metal across your face is highly irritating. Keep your skin hydrated and irritation-free with a gentle aftershave balm, followed by a fragrance-free moisturizer. Avoid products containing alcohol, which is drying.
But don’t just limit moisturizing to after your shaves; apply moisturizer every morning and at night before you go to sleep.
3. Rinse your face with cold water after shaving
Warm water feels better, but at the end of a shave, splashing your face with cold water closes pores and cuts. It can even prevent ingrown hairs from forming.
4. Clean your blade between strokes
Each stroke you make collects a fresh batch of bacteria, shaving cream, and whiskers. If you don’t rinse your blade before the next stroke, you’re using a blade that’s filled with goop. Because the razor is now dull, you’ll get an uneven cut and may end up pressing down harder to compensate, irritating the skin. Not only that, but the dirty razor will also distribute pore-clogging bacteria. The solution? Simply rinse your blade with water between each stroke.
5. Disinfect the blade with alcohol
Over time, blades dull as mineral crystals from the water form microscopic “teeth” on the edge. These teeth drag across the skin, producing razor burn and cuts. Prevent this process by dipping the blade in rubbing alcohol at the end of your shave. Dip the blade in rubbing alcohol again right before you start your next shave.
6. Natural remedies
Aloe vera – Aloe vera is nature’s gift to irritated skin. It’s a painkiller that reduces swelling while forming a moisturizing barrier to encourage healing. Plus, it naturally contains salicylic acid to destroy bacteria.
Aloe vera cools on contact to sooth razor burn. Apply aloe vera gel on your face and allow to set for 5 – 10 minutes before rinsing off with cool water.
Tea bags – White, green, and black tea contain tannic acid, which is an anti-bacterial, astringent, and antioxidant. Once you’re finished with your morning tea, place the tea bag in the fridge for 10 minutes. Then rub the tea bag over the inflamed skin to calm redness.
Honey – Honey is an antibacterial that reduces swelling and inflammation while moisturizing the skin. Apply honey to skin and leave on for 10 – 15 minutes before rinsing.
Aspirin – Make use of aspirin’s excellent anti-inflammatory properties by creating an aspirin paste. Crush two aspirins in a teaspoon of water, then rub the paste on affected skin. Rinse off after 10 minutes.
7. Use an antibiotic face wash or ointment
Razor burn is caused by bacteria, so eliminate the source with either an antibacterial face wash or ointment.
8. Shave at night
Think about your morning routine. Let’s say you shave, apply aftershave, lotion, and sunscreen before heading out the door. Then you spend a full day out and about, during which time you’re likely to sweat. The sweat, in combination with using multiple products, can make your skin more prone to razor burn.
You are also more likely to come into contact with bacteria and toxins during the day.
Switch to shaving at night so you’re not stressing your skin out right after a shave. Instead, your skin will have a full night to focus on nothing but repair.
9. Remember your environment
If you live in a cold, dry climate, consider using a richer aftershave and moisturizer. If it’s hot and humid, you can get away with using a lighter product. Even if you live somewhere with moderate weather – like California – you may still want to switch up your products depending on the season.