Shaving with sensitive skin

Do you shrink back from shaving due to sensitive skin? If so, you’re not alone. Up to 70% of people report having sensitive skin. When you have sensitive skin, wet shaving can be a chore. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can bypass irritation and enjoy the kind of shaves your grandfather enjoyed.

1. The best razors for sensitive skin

People with sensitive skin need to select a razor that won’t cause irritation. The problem is that the shaving industry has duped us into believing that razor bumps are normal and multi-blade razors are superior. The truth is, razor bumps are the result of an inferior multi-blade razor design that yanks the hair right out of your face. In short, multi-blade razors bring in the profits, but they cause irritation instead of giving you a close shave. The only way to avoid irritation is by using classic shaving tools.

When you’ve got sensitive skin, you need the sharpest, smoothest blade you can get your hands on. You need either a straight razor or a safety razor. Both razors give you a straight, sharp edge that cleanly cuts the hair close to the skin with minimal effort and almost no pressure.

If you have a curly beard and sensitive skin, you’ll be doubly impressed with classic razors. While you might experience occasional nicks and cuts, classic razors (used properly) won’t give you razor bumps and rashes.

2. The best shaving soaps for sensitive skin

Each person has their own unique sensitivities, but it’s safe to say that most sensitivities are caused by fragrances and other chemical ingredients that dry out the skin. The best soaps for sensitive skin contain moisturizing ingredients and no fragrances or synthetic chemicals.

Look for ingredients like:

  • Glycerin
  • Shea butter
  • Lanolin or lanolin derivatives
  • Tallow

Avoid ingredients known to irritate sensitive skin including:

  • Benzyl alcohol
  • Triethanolamine (TEA)
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI)
  • Methylisothiazolinone (MIT)
  • Fragrance

Dry skin significantly contributes to skin irritation. While some shaving soaps contain humectants that will lock in moisture, don’t rely on your shaving soap to provide you with all the moisture you need. Shave first, then moisturize for the best results.

3. Last-minute shaving cream/soap alternatives for sensitive skin

Let’s face it, there will be occasions when you won’t have access to your usual shaving tools. For example, you might go to a concert and stay at a friend’s house overnight or take a last-minute trip to see a sick relative and forget your shaving bag.

If you’re ever separated from your usual shaving tools, you’ll need to improvise and/or use tools that aren’t ideal. However, it’s not the end of the world.

How to select the right last-minute shaving products for sensitive skin

Your first consideration should be, “do I really need to shave?” If the tools you have access to are going to hurt your face and you don’t actually need to shave, skip it. Grow your beard out a bit. You can get a proper shave when you get home, or use some beard oil and see if you like growing it out.

If you absolutely must shave and you can’t run to the store to buy your preferred supplies, make do with what you’ve got based on how seriously the products will affect you. For instance, say you’re staying with a friend and they only have the type of canned shaving cream that irritates your skin. However, they’ve got a safety razor with fresh blades.

If you use the shaving cream, your face will be irritated but your shave will be smooth and you won’t be likely to cut yourself. If you try to use bar soap as an alternative, your face won’t be irritated, but you could end up with nicks and cuts.

Use the shaving cream if you can handle short-term irritation. If you can’t handle irritation from the shaving cream, use liquid soap instead of bar soap. Liquid soap (hand soap or dish soap) won’t lather, but it will glide, providing a little more protection than bar soap. Although, you still need to be extremely careful if you shave with liquid soap.

If you’re highly sensitive, you might have a reaction to the liquid soap if it’s scented or derived from non-plant sources. If you don’t feel comfortable using liquid soap, you’ve got a few more options.

Soap alternatives to shave with

Soap isn’t the only substance you can use for shaving. However, some of the popular alternatives are also allergens, so make sure you know you’re not allergic before trying any of these soap alternatives.

Coconut oil
Most households have at least one jar of coconut oil in the kitchen. Wherever you are, ask if there’s coconut oil available to use. While you don’t want to shave with coconut oil every day (it will clog your pores), it’s widely used as a pre-shave oil to lubricate the skin prior to applying lather. It gives you a slick glide, too.

Many people who shave with coconut oil say it works just as well, if not better than shaving cream.

Peanut butter
Shave with peanut butter if you’re up for an adventure (and you don’t mind being asked why you smell like peanut butter). If you can’t find coconut oil, there’s a good chance you’ll find peanut butter.

Getting a smooth peanut butter shave is easy. Just remember not to double-dip, and never use your shaving brush with peanut butter.

Honey
Honey is a suitable alternative if you’re allergic to coconuts, peanuts, or both. However, be prepared to jump in the shower after shaving with honey. You’ll probably make a sticky mess. Better yet, if you’re going to shave with honey – shave in the shower.

Worst case scenario – use a dry electric razor
If you love wet shaving you probably don’t want to use an electric razor. However, if you need to shave and you can’t find a suitable alternative to shaving cream, it’s probably your only option.

Techniques for sensitive skin: it’s all about the razor

The best wet shaving technique for sensitive skin is a basic shave with a safety razor. When you know how to use a safety razor and you can make good shaving lather, you’ll automatically get the perfect shave for sensitive skin.

Shaving with sensitive skin

Do you shrink back from shaving due to sensitive skin? If so, you’re not alone. Up to 70% of people report having sensitive skin. When you have sensitive skin, wet shaving can be a chore. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can bypass irritation and enjoy the kind of shaves your grandfather enjoyed.

1. The best razors for sensitive skin

People with sensitive skin need to select a razor that won’t cause irritation. The problem is that the shaving industry has duped us into believing that razor bumps are normal and multi-blade razors are superior. The truth is, razor bumps are the result of an inferior multi-blade razor design that yanks the hair right out of your face. In short, multi-blade razors bring in the profits, but they cause irritation instead of giving you a close shave. The only way to avoid irritation is by using classic shaving tools.

When you’ve got sensitive skin, you need the sharpest, smoothest blade you can get your hands on. You need either a straight razor or a safety razor. Both razors give you a straight, sharp edge that cleanly cuts the hair close to the skin with minimal effort and almost no pressure.

If you have a curly beard and sensitive skin, you’ll be doubly impressed with classic razors. While you might experience occasional nicks and cuts, classic razors (used properly) won’t give you razor bumps and rashes.

2. The best shaving soaps for sensitive skin

Each person has their own unique sensitivities, but it’s safe to say that most sensitivities are caused by fragrances and other chemical ingredients that dry out the skin. The best soaps for sensitive skin contain moisturizing ingredients and no fragrances or synthetic chemicals.

Look for ingredients like:

  • Glycerin
  • Shea butter
  • Lanolin or lanolin derivatives
  • Tallow

Avoid ingredients known to irritate sensitive skin including:

  • Benzyl alcohol
  • Triethanolamine (TEA)
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI)
  • Methylisothiazolinone (MIT)
  • Fragrance

Dry skin significantly contributes to skin irritation. While some shaving soaps contain humectants that will lock in moisture, don’t rely on your shaving soap to provide you with all the moisture you need. Shave first, then moisturize for the best results.

3. Last-minute shaving cream/soap alternatives for sensitive skin

Let’s face it, there will be occasions when you won’t have access to your usual shaving tools. For example, you might go to a concert and stay at a friend’s house overnight or take a last-minute trip to see a sick relative and forget your shaving bag.

If you’re ever separated from your usual shaving tools, you’ll need to improvise and/or use tools that aren’t ideal. However, it’s not the end of the world.

How to select the right last-minute shaving products for sensitive skin

Your first consideration should be, “do I really need to shave?” If the tools you have access to are going to hurt your face and you don’t actually need to shave, skip it. Grow your beard out a bit. You can get a proper shave when you get home, or use some beard oil and see if you like growing it out.

If you absolutely must shave and you can’t run to the store to buy your preferred supplies, make do with what you’ve got based on how seriously the products will affect you. For instance, say you’re staying with a friend and they only have the type of canned shaving cream that irritates your skin. However, they’ve got a safety razor with fresh blades.

If you use the shaving cream, your face will be irritated but your shave will be smooth and you won’t be likely to cut yourself. If you try to use bar soap as an alternative, your face won’t be irritated, but you could end up with nicks and cuts.

Use the shaving cream if you can handle short-term irritation. If you can’t handle irritation from the shaving cream, use liquid soap instead of bar soap. Liquid soap (hand soap or dish soap) won’t lather, but it will glide, providing a little more protection than bar soap. Although, you still need to be extremely careful if you shave with liquid soap.

If you’re highly sensitive, you might have a reaction to the liquid soap if it’s scented or derived from non-plant sources. If you don’t feel comfortable using liquid soap, you’ve got a few more options.

Soap alternatives to shave with

Soap isn’t the only substance you can use for shaving. However, some of the popular alternatives are also allergens, so make sure you know you’re not allergic before trying any of these soap alternatives.

Coconut oil
Most households have at least one jar of coconut oil in the kitchen. Wherever you are, ask if there’s coconut oil available to use. While you don’t want to shave with coconut oil every day (it will clog your pores), it’s widely used as a pre-shave oil to lubricate the skin prior to applying lather. It gives you a slick glide, too.

Many people who shave with coconut oil say it works just as well, if not better than shaving cream.

Peanut butter
Shave with peanut butter if you’re up for an adventure (and you don’t mind being asked why you smell like peanut butter). If you can’t find coconut oil, there’s a good chance you’ll find peanut butter.

Getting a smooth peanut butter shave is easy. Just remember not to double-dip, and never use your shaving brush with peanut butter.

Honey
Honey is a suitable alternative if you’re allergic to coconuts, peanuts, or both. However, be prepared to jump in the shower after shaving with honey. You’ll probably make a sticky mess. Better yet, if you’re going to shave with honey – shave in the shower.

Worst case scenario – use a dry electric razor
If you love wet shaving you probably don’t want to use an electric razor. However, if you need to shave and you can’t find a suitable alternative to shaving cream, it’s probably your only option.

Techniques for sensitive skin: it’s all about the razor

The best wet shaving technique for sensitive skin is a basic shave with a safety razor. When you know how to use a safety razor and you can make good shaving lather, you’ll automatically get the perfect shave for sensitive skin.

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