Ask a Men’s Grooming Specialist: How to Deal with Razor Burn
Razor burn happens to the best of us, and can turn what should be post-shave bliss into a painful ordeal.
In essence, it’s your skin’s way of saying, “That wasn’t a smooth shave.” It usually occurs when your razor blade scrapes too closely against your skin, causing irritation. Redness, itchiness, and sometimes even painful bumps or ingrown hair are on the menu here — all things you don’t want to be a part of your grooming routine.
Whether you’re new to shaving or a seasoned pro, dealing with razor burn is a challenge that many men face. But, don’t despair just yet. The key to preventing razor burn is in using the right tools and techniques.
Pre-Shave Prep and Choosing the Right Razor
All of our grooming specialists stress the importance of proper pre-shave preparation. It sets the stage for a smooth and irritation-free shave.
Start by cleansing your face with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt and oil. Exfoliating once or twice a week can help prevent ingrown hairs. And don’t forget to use a pre-shave oil — it softens your beard and creates a protective barrier between your skin and the razor.
Next up, your razor and blade selection. Using a high-quality razor with a sharp blade is essential. A dull blade always increases your chances of razor burn.
Choose the right type of razor too:
- Safety razor: These razors have a single, double-edged blade that provides a close shave. They’re an excellent choice if you have sensitive skin, as they tend to cause less irritation than multi-blade cartridge razors.
- Straight razor: Straight razors require skill and practice but offer an incredibly close shave. That’s why we use them across all of our TGP franchise locations! That said, we do recommend that you come into one of our barbershops for a straight razor shave — they require precision which can be hard to pull off yourself.
- Cartridge razor: While cartridge razors are easiest to find, they’re more likely to cause irritation and ingrown hairs, especially if you press too hard or shave against the grain. We typically only suggest using cartridge razors as an absolute last resort.
Proper Shaving Technique
Now, let’s talk technique. You must shave at the right angle and apply the perfect amount of pressure.
Hold the razor at a 30-degree angle and use gentle, even strokes. Avoid pressing too hard — let the weight of the razor do the work. And most importantly, always shave in the direction of hair growth. Shaving against the grain might give a closer shave, but it also increases the risk of razor burn!
Once you’ve achieved a clean shave, it’s time for post-shave care. We recommend using an alcohol-free, moisturizing aftershave balm or moisturizer. It will help soothe your skin and lock in moisture. Always avoid products with alcohol as they can dry out your skin and worsen irritation.
If You Already Have Razor Burn…
Apply a cold compress to reduce any redness or inflammation. You can also use an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory cream to calm the irritation. Hold off on shaving until your razor burn has healed so that you don’t make it worse.
Razor burn doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of your grooming routine. Rushing through the shaving process, using a dull blade, and skipping pre-shave preparation are all recipes for disaster. Do your best to avoid all of the above.
Be patient and diligent in your grooming routine – your skin will thank you for it.