Named as one of the top grooming concerns of 2023, shaving irritation is an unwanted consequence of many men’s shaving routines. But it needn’t be. By following a few simple steps you should be able to reduce your chances of encountering the dreaded post-shave redness and itchiness in no time. This goes for all of you, whether you’re a full-time clean shaven addict or obsessed with your beard but need to keep it looking trim; these tips will help you to reduce irritation with each and every shave.
Look after the skin underneath
Reducing shaving irritation starts with skincare; introducing a daily face wash or scrub will help to minimise the dirt clogging up your pores. But how does this reduce irritation we hear you ask?
Simply, the less grime sitting at the root of your facial hair the closer your razor will be able to shave to the root. Plus, healthier skin underneath your stubble will ultimately lead to a more balanced complexion and reduce your chances of spots and acne. It’s a win-win.
Preparation is key
It’s time to shave but before your blade goes anywhere near your stubble there are two simple things you can do to help reduce your chances of irritation. First up, enjoy a hot (but not scorching!) shower. The steam and water will help to soften the outer keratin layer of the hair helping to reduce razor tug on each strand. Be sure to wipe off any excess facial wash or scrub applied during your shower and pat the skin dry with a flannel or towel.
Secondly, you’ll need a splash of pre-shave oil. This stuff goes a long way, so less is definitely more when it comes to application. Massage a drop or two into your stubble in a circular motion, lubricating as many hairs as possible and leave on the skin before applying any shaving cream. Leaving the oil on your skin will provide an extra layer between your blade and skin helping to reduce your chances of irritation. This step is also super important when it comes to reducing your chances of ingrowing hairs too!
Look after your blades
A common cause of irritation is using a blunt blade; think about the last time you tried to use a blunt kitchen knife to cut through an onion – it’s fiddly and hard work right? We don’t have any time for blunt blades in a decent wet-shave; any excess pressure on the skin/tugging on the razor caused by over-used blades will heighten your chances of angry and inflamed skin.
Caring for your blades is simple – rinse thoroughly when shaving in between passes to remove any product and hairs from the blade ensuring you get the most blade to skin contact possible. You also need to replace your blade regularly. The average use for a DE blade is roughly 4 full shaves; however if you have particularly curly, coarse or thick facial hair you may want to reduce this to 2-3 shaves. It’s also worth experimenting with different brands of blades. Some are sharper than others so you want to ensure you’re using the optimum blade for your skin and hair type.
So you’ve removed your facial whiskers and it’s a case of job done, right? Absolutely not. Aftercare is just as important as the preparation for a shave with three key products you might want to consider using here.
An alum block. It stings like a mother but by applying an alum block you’ll be sealing off any cuts with an antiseptic that also stops any bleeding. You can also apply it to any redness in the shaven areas to help reduce inflammation. By applying this step you’ll also learn areas that have been irritated by too much pressure on the razor and any areas where you may suffer sensitivity so that on your next shave you can be more cautious in these areas.
Then it’s over to our Post-Shave Balm to do its thing. Formulated with Aloe Vera and Witch Hazel it can sting a little on application but the soothing properties will help to reduce any irritation caused. Apply lightly to the skin in a circular motion and allow the balm to absorb into the skin to get the full benefits.
To round off your shave you can also apply a moisturiser. The key here is not to smother your face in it. Wait for the post-shave to absorb into your skin and then apply a light layer of moisturiser to help keep your skin smooth and nourished.
Reduce your shaves!
Our final tip is simple – reduce the frequency that you shave. By following the above steps you will achieve a closer shave than you have before, resulting in longer periods between shaves. The reduction in shaving frequency will naturally minimise contact with blades and your skin resulting in less irritation.
By combining all of these steps you’ll be able to see in time a reduction in ingrown hairs, redness and overall skin irritation. All it takes a little time and patience, but trust us, the relief from irritation will be worth it!