Raised bumps. Itching. Redness.
These are all sure signs of razor burn, a bothersome type of skin inflammation that can occur after shaving. Though it can be the result of sensitive skin in general, it’s usually the result of haste and improper shaving techniques. On the bright side, razor burn is preventable.
How to Prevent Razor Burn
If you’ve regularly experienced razor burn, don’t fret. Learning how to prevent razor burn is quick and easy. A few small adjustments to your shaving routine can make a big difference. Consider some of the following tips next tip you step up to the mirror.
Tip #1 – Rinse your razor.
Your razor starts to collect debris from your skin after a single stroke. This naturally includes hair fragments. But it can also include skin-based particles that loosen up as you drag your razor across your face. In time, debris caught in your razor can impede effectiveness and contribute to razor burn.
You can stop your razor from clogging with debris by simply rinsing it. At a minimum, we should do a full rinse before and after each use. This can be done with warm, non-soapy water, followed by a thorough drying for best results.
Even better, we recommend rinsing your razor between each stroke during your shave. But remember to turn off the faucet between each rinse (just like brushing your teeth, you know the drill).
Tip #2 – Adjust your pre-shave prep.
There are three things you never want to skip before shaving: exfoliation, heat, and lather.
Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from your face, which helps limit the amount of debris that can get caught in your razor. It can be done using an exfoliating tool or a face wash that exfoliates your skin. What’s nice about an exfoliating face wash is that we also want to be shaving clean skin—so you can get two hairs with one stroke.
Another important pre-shave tip is to warm up your face. Why? Heat opens up your pores, which helps to soften your facial hair, making it easier for your razor to cut through without tugging or pulling. But don’t go grabbing for a hot iron—that’ll burn a lot more than razor burn. You can either take a hot shower before shaving or apply a hot, damp towel to your face.
Now you’re ready to lather up with shave gel or cream. Both hydrate your face to lock in moisture, softening your beard hairs so your razor can cut through more easily. Plus it makes your shave a lot more comfortable.
You might have also heard of shave gels and creams being called “lubricants.” That’s because they lubricate your face, providing a thin, cushiony layer of protection between your blades and your skin. This layer helps reduce friction that can cause razor burn.
Tip #3 – Missed a spot? Lather again.
Restrokes are one of the most common razor burn culprits. They might seem innocent. But it’s the same as dry shaving—both involve shaving an area of your face without lather.
We don’t want to get burned by restrokes. So if you spot an area that needs a second pass, be sure to apply more shave gel or cream to the area before you make another stroke.
Tip #4 – Sharp blades are key.
Another common razor burn culprit? Dull blades. As your blades become dull, it gets more difficult to cut through your whiskers efficiently. So your razor can snag and nick your skin as it passes along.
To avoid dull blades, swap them out on a regular basis. It could be time for a new cartridge after as little as three shaves. But the frequency varies, depending on the amount (and thickness) of your beard. You might also consider a more frequent swap if you have sensitive skin that’s more prone to razor burn.
Tip #5 – Don’t press too hard.
Applying too much force is a common mistake we make while shaving. But it’s important to remember that shaving is the process of cutting hair. There’s no need to cleave at our face like a stone carver.
Pressing too hard creates extra, unnecessary friction that can ultimately cause razor burn (not to mention painful nicks and cuts). But there’s good news: modern razors are designed to execute the job of shaving for us. So relax, lighten your grip, and let your razor do its job.
Tip #6 – Check what’s in your aftershave.
Perfecting your pre-shave prep and shaving technique only go so far. What you put on your face after shaving matters, too. But some aftershaves can actually cause razor burn. Or they can make existing razor burn worse than it already is.
It’s good to avoid using an alcohol-based aftershave, especially if you have sensitive skin. Your face is full of microscopic nicks and cuts after shaving, even if you can’t see them. That’s why alcohol-based formulas can make you really feel the burn (no pun intended).
We recommend using an alcohol-free, non-fragranced post-shave balm or another type of moisturizer that hydrates your skin. This helps to reduce irritation and redness associated with razor burn.
Tip #7 – Maintain your skin between shaves.
You’ve probably noticed one of the running themes by now. Dry skin is our nemesis when it comes to avoiding razor burn. So it’s good to use a facial moisturizer regularly to prevent dryness.
A good moisturizer will help keep your skin hydrated, so you can maintain a healthy complexion. And it’ll help you prevent razor burn, too. Win-win.
You’re ready to start shaving better.
Lots of guys experience skin irritation after shaving. But with these tips, we know how to prevent razor burn. A few adjustments can make a big difference.
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