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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Why You Need to Moisturize This Fall and Winter

Skincare is an oft-neglected topic in the wet shaving community. We all worry about finding the perfect razor and blade and debate the type of bristles used in our brushes. But all of this neglects the foundation of a good shave – good skin.

We like to think of proper skincare as laying the primer before you paint a wall in your house. Sure, you could save some time and just skip straight to the paint, but you’ll be painting directly onto a wall potentially strewn with bumps, cracks, and small holes. Putting a primer on first smoothes over these imperfections so your paint goes on nice and evenly. The same concept applies to skincare. Moisturized skin means strong and resilient skin that stands up better to a razor blade and razor burn.

And during fall and winter, when the temperatures drop and icy air and wind rip at your face, hydrating your skin keeps its natural protective lipid barrier up. This is the barrier which locks in moisture and prevents bacteria from entering your skin. Without supplemental moisture, you can look forward to chapped lips, flakes, itchiness, and the running motif of winter – ashy skin.

So it goes without saying that moisturizing is important.

Read on for what adjustments you should be making to your skincare routine to keep skin hydrated through fall and winter, and what ingredients to look for in products.

What tweaks do I have to make to my skincare routine in the winter?

For the most part, use products with a denser, richer consistency. If you’re using a gel cleanser, for example, switch to a more emollient one like Triumph & Disaster Ritual Face Cleanser, formulated without alcohol (which is very drying). It contains Tamanu oil, an antibacterial that promotes skin elasticity.

Avoid cleansers that foam as well as ones that contain sulfates (sulfates dissolve the outermost layer of skin).

If you don’t use a facial serum currently, now’s the time to do it: Layer it beneath your regular moisturizer. Serums are composed of smaller particles than moisturizers, so they penetrate deeper and stay locked in longer. We like Jack Black Protein Booster Skin Serum, which is brimming with protective antioxidants and peptides.

You can further strength your skin’s lipid barrier by making these changes to your daily routine and lifestyle:

  • Avoid long, hot showers – these dry out your skin
  • If you have the radiator running, put a bowl of water next to it so the air won’t be completely parched
  • Eat a diet rich in omega-3s and omega-6s, which reduce inflammation and help skin retain moisture

What should I look for in fall/winter skincare products?

These ingredients are your skincare heavy hitters:

Glycerin – Glycerin is a humectant, which means it draws in moisture from the environment and traps it in skin. By doing so, it helps maintain the skin’s water balance. Glycerin also makes skin appear healthier because it’s highly emollient, making skin soft and reducing scaly, dry skin.

Hyaluronic Acid – A powerful humectant, hyaluronic acid keeps skin plump and hydrated. It can penetrate the outermost dead skin cell layer and moisturize the skin underneath. It also improves elasticity and acts as an antioxidant.

Non-Fragranced Plant Oils – Rich in antioxidants, plant oils like extra virgin olive oil, safflower oil, and jojoba oil can be mixed with moisturizer or applied afterwards to combat stubborn dry areas.

Ceramides – Your skin’s lipid barrier is made of 35-40% ceramides, so boosting it with some topical ceramides during the winter will keep it extra resilient. Ceramides are the glue that holds skin cells together. Anytime your skin suffers damage from a dry environment, the sun, or bad skincare products, the ceremides in your skin decrease. Replenishing your skin’s ceramides protects your skin overall so it feels better and looks younger.

Peptides – Peptides are animo acid chains that stimulate the production of collagen, which increases elasticity.

Do I still need sunscreen when it’s so cold and gloomy outside?

Absolutely. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean the UV rays have disappeared. In fact, up to 80% of UV rays bounce off white snow, which means exposed skin is vulnerable to damage if you’re not wearing good sunscreen. And yes, you can still get a sunburn in winter.

Seal the deal after you moisturize with a broad spectrum sunscreen, like Game Day Men Moisturizer: Hydrator + SPF 30, which includes peptides and vitamin E.

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How to Treat Razor Burn

boy shaving

Recently we wrote a blog on how to prevent razor burn. But it occurred to us that we should also address how to cure razor burn if you already have it. Because while prevention is key, no technique is 100% foolproof. Thankfully, knowing how to minimize symptoms will save you a lot of pain and annoyance.

Read on for some effective post-shaving skincare tips that calm those unsightly red patches. We’ve included both short-term and long-term fixes.

My skin itches, hurts, and generally looks angry. What should I do?

We’ll be going over 5 methods to treat razor burn:

  • Stop shaving for a while
  • Apply an ice pack
  • Avoid products with alcohol
  • Consider aloe vera, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid
  • Rethink your skincare routine

Fix it:

Stop shaving for a while / Time heals all wounds, at least when shaving is concerned. Put down the razor and let your skin breathe for a few days. Your skin will naturally heal itself. Just remember to use our razor burn prevention tips the next time you shave. During this growing out period keep skin clean by washing your face regularly – this will prevent pores from clogging and aggravating razor burn. Apply an antibiotic to infected sites.

Apply an ice pack / Apply an ice pack or ice cubes to the affected area in thirty-second intervals. The swelling and redness should go down quickly.

Avoid products with alcohol / Pouring alcohol onto skin affected by razor burn is like twisting the knife. Alcohol is an excellent antiseptic, but it seriously dries out skin and can clog pores, leading to more razor burn. Further minimize irritation by avoiding bar soap and anything with fragrance, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Consider aloe vera, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid / ALOE VERA is an analgesic (a painkiller) that fights irritation and swelling while forming a moisturizing barrier that promotes skin healing. Aloe vera contains two hormones, Axim and Gibberellin, that have superior wound healing properties. We recommend applying some aloe vera lotion or gel right after shaving. Because aloe vera is gentle and non-greasy, it’s suitable for both oily and sensitive skin types.

If you tend to break out after you shave, aloe vera’s got you covered there, too – it contains salicylic acid to destroy bacteria that leads to inflammation.

GLYCOLIC ACID is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), a type of acid found in fruit and milk. Glycolic acid exfoliates skin by dissolving the outermost layer of cells to trigger repair. This means razor burn and bumps will heal faster. Glycolic acid regenerates collagen and evens your skin tone.

Used regularly, glycolic acid can enable you to shave daily with minimal irritation.

SALICYLIC ACID is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), a type of acid found in plants. Salicylic acid is similar to glycolic acid in that it removes the top layer of dead skin cells, though it is slightly gentler. Salicylic acid helps break down whiteheads and blackheads, reducing breakouts. This function is especially useful if you shave and have pimples.

Our tips:

  • Use a shaving cream with salicylic acid for a closer shave: these shaving creams tighten the skin and narrow pores to create a barrier between you and pimple-inducing bacteria. Finish with a salicylic acid aftershave to keep skin moisturized and clean.
  • Salicylic acid can be used in conjunction with glycolic acid – start at lower concentrations for both and work your way up as it suits your skin.

Rethink your skincare routine / Moisturized skin is resilient skin, and resilient skin is less likely to react adversely to shaving. Everyone has a different skin type, and how your skin reacts can also vary depending on climate, weather, and age.

We can give you every tip in the book for wet shaving, but none of it will matter if you’re starting off with compromised skin. Skincare is a weak spot for most men, but such a vital part of a quality wet shaving experience. We will cover proper skincare in future posts, so stay tuned!

Product Recommendations:

RazorBurnRelief

SHOP: 1. Lab Series Skincare for Men Razor Burn Relief Ultra, 2. Geo F Trumper Fragrance Free Moisturizing Lotion, 3. Dreadnought Cooling Moisturizer, 4. C.O. Bigelow Premium Shaving Cream, 5. Ernest Supplies Face Wash, 6. Beardition After Shave.

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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.

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