How to Shave Your Neck with Minimal Discomfort, Part 1

Hispanic man getting his beard shaved in a barber shop

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.

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Common Shaving Problems: How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs

Attractive young guy is shaving his beard

Dragging a sharp blade across your face can have consequences. Ranking high amongst these is the ingrown hair, the annoying younger brother of the pimple. While giving up shaving is the best resolution, it’s not the most practical solution for most of us. So how do you keep your countenance looking good without sacrificing the razor? We’ve got your guide to keeping ingrown hairs at bay.

What are ingrown hairs?

When you shave, your hairs become very sharp and as the tips grow out, they can curl back into the skin, piercing it and causing inflammation, bumps, and soreness. Ingrown hairs tend to be more common for those with curly hair.

How do I get rid of ingrown hairs?

Add exfoliation to your skincare routine

What skincare routine, you ask? If you don’t have one yet, now’s the time to start, because when it comes to ingrown hairs, prevention is the best defense. Exfoliate daily with a gentle scrub (like Billy Jealousy Liquidsand Exfoliating Facial Cleanser) to remove dead skin cells that clog pores and hair follicles. And once a week, opt for a strong facial polisher to really get rid of the gunk (like Billy Jealousy Assassin Deep Exfoliating Scrub). If you have sensitive skin, start slow and increase the frequency with your tolerance.

If your skin is particularly reactive, only exfoliate the night before shaving.

Before shaving

Wrap a warm towel around your face and neck and wait for your hair to soften from the hot water. Alternatively, shave right after you shower so your hair is weak (that’s a good thing when you’re shaving) and your pores are open.

During shaving

The way you shave is a big part of the razor bump equation. Use a fresh, sharp blade, since dull blades can tug on your skin and cause more friction, leading to razor burn and ingrown hairs. Also, since fresh blades offer a crisp cut, there’s no need to do several passes over the same area, which can anger your skin.

Shave in the direction your hair grows to reduce spikiness.

After shaving

Relieve freshly-shaven skin with a rich aftershave balm or serum. Zirh Soothe Post-Shave Solution contains aloe vera to moisturize irritated skin, and retinyl palmitate (a form of vitamin A) to speed up cell turnover and reduce healing time, thus preventing clogged pores and ingrown hairs.

What if I already have an ingrown hair?

First we suggest giving your skin a breather. Stop shaving for a few days and let your skin go through its regular repair processes. During this time, remember to moisturize and feel free to try a cream formulated expressly for ingrown hairs, like The Art of Shaving Ingrown Hair Night Cream, which exfoliates skin as you sleep.

If you wear a tie or a high collar, loosen them both. Stiff collars and ties can rub against your neck, causing more irritation and slowing recovery.

If after this waiting period the pesky ingrown is still there, you can take matters into your own hands.

To remove your ingrown hair at home, warm up the area with a wet towel or steam your face over a bowl of hot water. Then use a pair of tweezers to lift the hair out of the skin.

You can also consult a professional aesthetician, who has all the tools to quickly pull that thing out with minimal damage.

Ingrown-Hair

SHOP: 1. Billy Jealousy Liquidsand Exfoliating Facial Cleanser, 2. Zirh Soothe Post-Shave Solution, 3. Truefitt and Hill Ultimate Comfort Pre-Shave Oil, 4. Billy Jealousy Assassin Deep Exfoliating Scrub, 5. The Art of Shaving Ingrown Hair Night Cream.

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