If you’ve got sensitive skin, you know the struggle: after a close shave, your face breaks out into patches of irritated red skin, with bumpy ingrown hairs sticking around for days if your beard is especially stubborn.
The good news is that razor burn is possible to prevent with a few tweaks in your grooming routine. Here are the most effective methods:
- Moisturize daily, and avoid alcohol toners
Part of the battle is taking care of your skin on a daily basis, not just on the occasions that you need a clean shave. Use a lightweight moisturizer every day and, if you use a toner, stay away from ones with alcohol in them.
- Soften your whiskers
When the hairs are softer and more flexible, there’s less scratchy resistance as you’re shaving. Use conditioner on your whiskers while you take a steamy shower before you shave.
- Open your pores right before you shave
Shaving while taking a hot shower is best, since the steam opens up your pores. That makes for a more comfortable shave, since the whiskers are easier to manage. If you don’t have a fog-proof mirror, soak a towel in hot water and hold it to your face for thirty seconds for a similar effect.
- Exfoliate your mug
Before you shave, use an exfoliating face wash to scrub your pores clean. When they’re clear, there’s less gunk and dead skin to get in the way of shaving. Just don’t use a chemical one, or one that’s too coarse, since it might be too rough on your skin before a shave.
- Invest in a shave brush
These things go a long way in helping you get a better shave: they thoroughly coat whiskers, generate a richer lather, better protect your face, and help exfoliate. Invest in one and use it properly.
- Switch to a safety razor
If you’ve got sensitive skin, a five blade cartridge razor is going to wreak havoc on your face. That’s because the things actually cut too close, which irritates your skin and can easily lead to ingrown hairs and razor burn. Upgrade to an old school safety razor, which gives you a smoother and more gradual shave, then master the technique of shaving with one to get the most out of it.
- Shave with the grain
This is age-old advice, but it’s especially important to keep razor burn at bay. Doing a second pass against the grain is usually fine when you’re using a safety razor, but on sensitive skin it might be too harsh. If you want to get a closer shave than shaving with the grain allows, you can re-lather after your first pass and then shave across the grain as a compromise.
- Close your pores back up
Once you're all done, soak a towel in hot water and wipe off any excess shave cream while soothing your pores. Then soak the towel in cold water and hold it against your face to snap your pores shut while they’re nice and clean. That’ll keep them from clogging.
- Re-hydrate your skin
Rub on some lightweight moisturizer to soothe and re-hydrate the skin you just scratched up.
- Layer on some razor burn relief
You can find after-shave lotion that’s specifically formulated to stop razor burn before it sets in. Pick some up and add a think layer to your beard area after you moisturize.
Use a few (or all) of those tips, and razor burn will be a thing of the past.