Did you know that one in every three men claim to experience skin irritation after shaving?
Additionally, many men also suffer from sensitive skin, making shaving the daily nightmare that won’t go away.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any one, hard, fast solution for shaving with sensitive skin. However, there are things you can do to adjust your shaving routine to help treat sensitive skin, and make shaving the enjoyable ritual that it should be.
Read on for some tips for treating sensitive skin—and to help you get a better shave.
Table of Contents
- Soften Your Hair
- Use the Right Razor for Your Hair Type
- Shave WITH the Grain
- Don’t Forget to Clean Your Blade
- Change Your Blade
- Stay Hydrated
- Wet Shaving for Sensitive Skin
- 1. The best razors for sensitive skin
- 2. The best shaving soaps for sensitive skin
- 3. Last-minute shaving cream/soap alternatives for sensitive skin
- Soap alternatives to shave with
- Techniques for sensitive skin: it’s all about the razor
- When is the Right Time to Shave?
Soften Your Hair
It’s important to remember that the stubble on your face is harder and tougher, and requires more effort to shave. But, before you take your best razor to your face, take a few minutes and soften your skin and hair. This will make it easier to shave, requiring less pressure and effort on your hair and skin, and reducing your chances of irritating your already super-sensitive skin.What is the best way to do this? Begin by taking a warm shower, or pressing a warm towel against your face. Allow the towel to sit on your face for a minute or two. The warmth softens the hair and opens your pores. Again, this allows your blade to glide smoothly along the skin, reducing irritation.
Use the Right Razor for Your Hair Type
Did you ever think that you could be using the wrong razor for your hair type? Who knew that hair type even mattered when it came to shaving?!
When treating sensitive skin, you also need to consider your hair type and thickness. Shaving enthusiasts and experts recommend using two or three blades at the most for straight hair, and a single-edge razor for thick, curly or coarse hair.
Shave WITH the Grain
This is a common shaving mistake that inevitably results in serious skin irritation. In fact, many accidentally shave against the grain, without giving it much thought. However, the golden rule of shaving is to shave with the grain. This is especially true if you have sensitive skin.
Another tip? It’s also important to avoid pressing down too hard or applying too much pressure on your razor while shaving. This excess pressure causes friction, which then leads to razor burn.
Don’t Forget to Clean Your Blade
This is another common mistake that shavers often make, without realizing it. Many men who shave in a rush or on the go will often forget to clean their razor blades after, or before their next shave. This is always a mistake.
Think about it: While you shave, your razor picks up excess shaving product, hair, and dead skin cells. If this gunk sits in your razor, then this leads to bacteria growth. If you then apply your gunky razor to your face for another shave, you are filling your pores with bacteria and debris, which causes not only skin irritation but also acne breakouts.
Pretty gross, right? One of the easiest ways to prevent skin irritation and breakouts is to simply get into the habit of cleaning your blade after every use, or before you use it again.
Change Your Blade
In addition to cleaning your blade on a regular basis, it’s also important to change your blade on a regular basis. Shaving with a dull blade pulls at the hair on your face aggressively, which causes skin irritation. Therefore, you should change your blade every two to three shaves.
This ultimately depends on how frequently you shave, however, if you have sensitive skin, then you will likely benefit from changing your razor blades more frequently than someone with normal skin.
Dry skin is one of the most common reasons for skin irritation and breakouts after shaving. Your initial reaction might be to immediately apply a moisturizer to your skin. However, if you aren’t careful, this can clog pores, which can do more harm than good for your skin.
You may want to look for a moisturizer that is designed specifically for sensitive skin. These particular products include fewer ingredients. This can help reduce your chances of using a product that contains ingredients that potentially cause skin irritation.
In fact, you may have allergic reactions to certain ingredients in products and not even know it! Pay a visit to your dermatologist if you believe you are suffering from dermatitis or another skin condition.
All in all, by staying hydrated, we don’t just mean applying a moisturizer on a daily or regular basis; we also mean by staying physically hydrated by drinking water! By keeping your body hydrated, you are also keeping your skin hydrated.
Wet Shaving for 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:
- Shea butter
- Lanolin or lanolin derivatives
Avoid ingredients known to irritate sensitive skin including:
- Benzyl alcohol
- Triethanolamine (TEA)
- Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI)
- Methylisothiazolinone (MIT)
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.
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.
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 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.
When is the Right Time to Shave?
Finally, some shaving enthusiasts and experts believe that shaving at night rather than the morning is better for the skin. There aren’t any concrete scientific or medical advantages to the time of day in which you shave to prevent skin irritation. However, if you want to prevent nicks and cuts, then you may want to consider shaving in the morning while you are awake and refreshed.
All in all, there may not be anything you can do about having sensitive skin, but there are some things you can do to help treat it to avoid redness, razor bumps, acne breakouts, and dry skin, to ensure an enjoyable shave.