To minimize razor burn, shaving knicks, shaving burn, ingrown hairs during shaving, it's important to follow proper shaving techniques. Here are some tips to help you achieve a smooth and irritation-free shave:
Prepare the skin:
Start by thoroughly cleansing your face with a gentle cleanser to remove any dirt, oil, or impurities. Then, wet your face with warm water or take a warm shower to help soften the hair and open up the pores. A hot towel over the face is a common technique used by barbers to soften the hair and open the pores.
Moisturize before and after shaving:
Apply a moisturizing pre-shave oil or lotion before shaving to help soften the hair and provide extra lubrication(hair conditioner will also work!). After shaving, rinse your face with cold water to soothe the skin and close the pores. Then, apply a gentle, alcohol-free aftershave balm or moisturizer to hydrate and calm the skin. This step is a common cause of skin trauma. This step can help reduce razor burn and also help reduce dry and itchy skin
Soften the hair:
Applying a preshave oil is a great way to soften the hair and lubricate the skin, hair conditioner works great as a pre-shave oil. Applying a warm towel on your face further soften the hair and opens up the pores. This makes the shaving process smoother and reduces the risk of irritation or cuts. As mentioned in the earlier step, the best time to shave is after a warm shower(or in the shower).
Use a quality shaving cream or shaving soap:
Apply a generous amount of shaving cream or gel to create a protective layer between the razor and your skin. Look for products that are suitable for your skin and hair type that will provide good lubrication. You are looking for a slick cream or soap to provide maximum lubrication. It can be oil based or water based. I talk more about this subject at the bottom of this blog. Re-apply shaving cream on your face during your shave...avoid shaving where the foam has been previously removed from a shave stroke.
Use a shaving brush:
A shaving brush has multiple benefits including exfoliating the skin, stimulating the skin, warming the skin to open the pore and lifting the hair to allow for a clean cut when shaving. The best way to use a shaving brush is in a circular motion which will help lift hairs more effectively.
At Carbon Shaving Co. we offer Titanium shaving brush handles with a 26-inch diameter high-quality synthetic shaving brush knots. Our knots are soft, yet provide enough stiffness to create a luxurious shave experience. Each of our knots is individually hand-tied in Germany by a 100-year-old brush factory that specialize in cosmetic brushes. We also offer the shaving brush handle with no knot which allows our customers to custom fit the hair density they would like. When shopping for a knot, considerations include the diameter of the knot, the loft of the knot, the stiffness of the bristles, the type of material, and the grade of the hair. With badger hair, there is no industry standard on hair grades so often a cheap grade is sold as a higher grade of badger hair. I write more about shaving brush hair here, I also talk about shaving brushes, including the history, types, hair shapes here.
Use a sharp razor blade:
Using a sharp razor blade is essential to minimize irritation. Dull blades can tug on the hair, cause more friction, leading to irritation. Replace the blade regularly(3-5 shaves) if you use a cartridge razor with replaceable blades. This can get expensive with disposable cartridge razors...consider a safety razor which has much, much lower cost blades and more options to tailor your shaving preference. I talk more about plastic disposable razors and safety razors here.
Choosing the right double edge safety razor blade:
If using a safety razor, choosing the right double edge razor blade is a matter of personal preference and experimentation. Since different blades will perform differently based on individual factors such as skin type, hair thickness, frequency of shave and razor type, it may take some trial and error to find the blade that works best for you. We will include a curated sample set of blades upon request when you purchase one of our safety razors.
Consider purchasing a sample pack of different razor blades. These packs typically contain a variety of brands and types of blades, allowing you to test them and determine which ones work best for your shaving needs. Sample packs can be found online or at specialty shaving stores. Once you have a sample pack or a few different blades, try them out over multiple shaves to assess their performance.
Pay attention to factors such as sharpness, smoothness, comfort, and how close of a shave they provide. Take notes on your experiences with each blade to help you remember which ones you prefer. I talk in depth about double edge safety razor blades here.
Make sure the blade is clean, sharp and not dull, as a dull blade can cause more skin irritation. By combining a high-quality shaving brush with a machined stainless steel safety razor or a titanium safety razor you truly can find the perfect comfortable shave.
Choose the right razor:
Opt for a high-quality razor that is easy to clean, won't rust or corrode, combining this with sharp blades will be your best choice. Single-blade plastic disposable razors or multi-blade cartridge razors can be effective, depending on your preference and shaving experience, however a safety razor is easier to clean and flush after shaving. I talk more about razor options here.
Short, controlled strokes:
Instead of long, sweeping strokes, use short, controlled strokes while shaving. This allows for better precision and reduces the chances of the blade catching on the skin and causing cuts, it also prevents the razor from getting clogged. Rinse frequently after these short strokes to keep your razor clear of debris.
Unlike plastic cartridge razors that often require more pressure to cut effectively, safety razors work best with light, gentle pressure. Let the weight of the razor and the sharpness of the blade do the work for you. Applying excessive pressure increases the likelihood of cuts and irritation. With plastic disposable razors also consider using less pressure. If necessary, for a closer shave, consider 2 light passes after re-applying shaving cream between each pass vs a single pass with more pressure.
At Carbon shaving we offer a customizable shave plate which will allow you to find the perfect balance of efficiency depending on how often you like to shave. We talk more about our base plates here.
Take your time:
Rushing through your shave increases the likelihood of cuts. Shave in a calm, unhurried manner, paying attention to each stroke and being mindful of your technique. Consider shaving a zen moment in time where you reflect on the day...consider shaving in the evening, this will give your skin time to calm before the next day.
Shave with the grain:
The above photo is the direction my hair grows, I shave in this direction with my first pass
Shave in the direction of hair growth (also known as shaving with the grain) to minimize the risk of irritation and ingrown hairs. Avoid applying too much pressure and let the razor glide gently over your skin. If you want a closer shave for date night, consider a second pass but go across the grain. It is against the grain that will cause the most irritation. I talk more about shaving techniques here.
Rinse the razor frequently:
Rinse the razor blade under warm water after each stroke to remove excess shaving cream, hair, and debris. A clean razor will provide a smoother shave, cut more effectively, provide a cleaner shave and reduce the chance of clogging. Its especially important to flush your razor thoroughly after your shave to keep your razor clean.
Hold the razor correctly:
Grasp the safety razor handle firmly but not too tightly. Find a grip that feels comfortable and allows you good control over the razor. Experiment with different grips to see what works best for you.
Avoid going over the same area repeatedly:
Try to minimize the number of passes over the same area to prevent unnecessary friction and skin irritation. If you need a closer shave, you can do a second pass, but make sure to add more shaving cream between passes, consider shaving across the grain and be mindful of not applying excessive pressure.
Rinse face with cold water:
After you've finished shaving, rinse your face with cold water to close the pores and soothe the skin. Cold water can help reduce inflammation and tighten the skin. It will also flush cut hair and debris from your skin and prevent it from getting caught in your pores and help keep your skin fresh and clean.
Pat dry and moisturize:
Gently pat your face dry with a clean towel and avoid rubbing the towel vigorously on your face. Then, apply a soothing, alcohol-free aftershave balm or moisturizer to hydrate and calm the skin, reducing any potential irritation. For some the cold water is enough but consider an after shave balm product if you have dry skin.
Use an aftershave product:
An alternative after you have rinsed your face with cold water to soothe the skin and close the pores is to apply an alcohol-free aftershave, some prefer an alcohol based aftershave product with their distinct favorite scent. This alcohol will provide immediate feedback on the quality of your shave, take note where it stings and consider doing something different in those areas. Regardless its important to moisturizer, hydrate and calm the skin.
Consider your skincare routine:
Ensure you're using gentle skincare products that are suitable for your skin type. Avoid harsh chemicals, alcohol-based products, or abrasive exfoliators that can further irritate your skin. Develop a skincare routine that keeps your skin clean, hydrated, and healthy.
Maintain your shaving tools:
Rinse and clean your razor thoroughly after each use to remove any buildup of shaving cream, hair, or bacteria. Store your razor in a dry place to prevent moisture-related issues. This is especially important with plastic cartridge razors where bacteria can collect in the tight, inaccessible areas. Debris will collect between the multiple blades and then grow in a humid environment like the bathroom.
Practice and technique refinement:
The best feedback you can get is after the shave, where is it burning? Where do I constantly get a nick? Where am I sensitive after the shave? Consider changing the direction you shave in these problem areas. Consider changing the angle to 60 degrees(referencing the photo above) or what is commonly called "Riding the cap" of a safety razor. Shaving with a safety razor may take some practice to master. Be patient and allow yourself time to adjust to the new technique. With practice, you'll become more comfortable and confident, reducing the chances of cuts.
Remember, everyone's skin is unique, so it's essential to experiment with different techniques and products to find what works best for you.
If you frequently experience skin irritation or other shaving-related issues, consider consulting a dermatologist for personalized advice and recommendations.
By following these techniques and using the right tools, you can minimize the risk of cuts, razor burn, post shave irritation while achieving a close and comfortable shave. Remember to practice patience and gradually refine your technique for the best results.
If you need help, feel free to reach out, we would love to help.