How to Get Rid of Razor Burn
There is nothing like a clean shaven face to get a good start to a day! A perfectly shaven face never fails to impress potential clients, colleagues and of course your significant other, who love to touch a smooth face! However, a clean shaven face is tricky and lots of men are walking around with their necks covered with red rashes, the well-known and famous – razor burn!
In this article we will outline not only what causes the ‘dreaded’ razor burn but also several strategies to reduce, relieve and forget about the issue!
Note: Even though this article will mention the word beard throughout, everything outlined below will equally apply to anyone that uses a razor (either for the beard, or for depilation, or for whatever…). So, ladies, enjoy the article as well!
What causes a razor burn?
Those irritated bumps on the skin or razor burn are caused by a mix of things. It happens after shaving when strands of hair curl back on themselves, and grown into the skin. This coupled with the bacteria already sitting on your skin and shaving blade, work together to produce this redness and itchy sensation.
So, how to get rid of a razor burn?
Like many things in life, prevention is key. And this is where you should start if you want to avoid a razor burn. Start by modifying your shaving routine in a way that will prevent the burn from appearing.
1st Part: Preparing the beard and the skin
A soft beard can be removed much more easily and effectively than a rough one, so the first step for avoiding a razor burn is to soften your beard. If you shave first and then jump in the shower… Wrong! Reverse your process: shower first, shave after. In this way, the hot steam will help softening your beard and making it easier to shave. While you are at it, if you want to increase the softness of your beard, grab a nice organic hair conditioner and rub it in your face. Let it rest for a while and you will notice a significant difference!
After that, exfoliate! While you are showering, use a facial scrub to remove dead cells from your face and help ingrown hairs to show up.
Now that you have softened your beard and cleaned your skin, it is time for a last tip to prepare your shaving: use a badger brush. Remember that old school badger brush of you father? Give it a second look! A brush really helps getting the shaving cream up under each hair of your bear which will result in an much more easier shaving.
2nd Part: Shaving
Now that we set everything up, it is time to do the actual shaving!
If you have been using the common 3-, 4- or 5- blades pulsing razors (or whatever the last fad is), keep using them. But if you feel that it is too much, why don’t you consider switching to the more traditional, manly and cheaper safety razor? If you are unsure on how to use one those, check youtube for some nice reviews and tutorials! Many men find that safety razors are much easier on the skin and produce much less irritation.
What about your technique? The easiest way to prevent a razor burn is to shave only with the grain. Trying to get a smoother shave by going against the grain is the perfect recipe for disaster! It increases not only your chances of razor burn, but also your chances of getting some pretty nasty ingrown hairs. Don’t forget that by going with the grain you will not be able to finish with only one pass, but that’s not a problem: leather up and do a couple more passes. You will end with a perfect close shave, but with much less irritation.
And you stroke? You should be using short and light strokes. There is no need to push you razor hard into your skin. Long and hard strokes are known to increase the chances of a razor burn.
Don’t forget also to clean your blade after every stroke. When shaving, the blade collects your facial hair, but also the shaving cream and the remaining dead cells from your skin. Wash you blade to get rid of all that and ensure that the blade touches your skin properly, and can effectively remove your beard.
Finally, this might seem a dumb question, but is you razor blade sharp? Have you tried to cut anything will a dull blade? Do you remember the messy results? The same applies to your beard and skin. A dull razor blade will make a mess of your face, will require more passes to properly finish the shave and, of course, will result in endless irritation of your skin. If you are cheapo and consider that razor cartridges are too expensive, see above and move into a safety razor. With high quality blades as expensive as a quarter dollar, there is no need to sacrifice your healthy skin for a couple of cents.
3rd Part: Finishing
You are done now, and have a perfectly smooth face, so it is time for some cleanup. Start by washing you face with ice cold water. This will help close those pores and reduce any risk of razor burn.
Apply a good smelling balm or moisturizer. For its skin healing properties, using anything with aloe vera will most likely help calm the irritated skin. After all, either you prepare or not, shaving is harsh on your skin, so do not spare the moisturizer!
In addition, if you are really prone to ingrown hair, apply also a razor burn specific cream. This will help you avoid those nasty ingrown hairs from appearing.
Finally a good cleanup of all the tools is also important. Start by cleaning your blade with alcohol. Since one of the main causes of razor burn and skin is bacteria the razor blade, dipping it in alcohol will kill all those nasty bacteria. In addition, by dipping the blade into alcohol, you will also remove some crystals that form on it, making the blade sharp for a longer time. Then, dry everything up. A dried blade will last longer and will be bacteria free. Do not forget to get also an holder for your brush, so that it gets some air and dries properly.
What if I have already screwed all the steps above and have this huge burn?
Well, in that case you should focus on moisturizing. Try to apply a soothing cream as soon as you can. And Aloe Vera is your best friend in these cases! Cut a fresh Aloe Vera leaf or apply an Aloe Vera cream in your face/neck. Aloe Vera will hydrate, moisturize and nourish your skin. It also has antimicrobial properties that will kill bacteria and has anti-inflammatory properties that will help reduce your burn and itch sensation.
Last but not least, you can always consider a different style! For the past years, growing a nice beard has been a manly thing. So, why not go with a full beard? With this option will forget not only the razor burns, but the shaving altogether!