Shave Smarter: 9 Tips for Reducing Burn and Irritation
Many people experience issues including nicks, cuts, razor burn, and skin irritation after shaving. It is interesting that shaving is the most utilized hair removal technique in the U.S., even though it can affect the skin so negatively. Women shave their legs an average of 12 times each month; and 75% of men shave their face every day (source).
One of the main reasons people experience negative issues with shaving is because they are not shaving properly. Follow these 9 simple shaving tips to dramatically reduce nicks and irritation:
1. Start With a Good Razor
Razors (and razor blades) are not one-size-fits-all. Experiment with razors of different kinds until you find the right razor for you. Try razors with pivoting heads, lubricated strips, multiple blades, and razors that incorporate vibration.
2. Avoid Dull Razors
Dull blades lead to cuts and nicks. Change your razor (or cartridge) regularly to make sure you’re always using a sharp blade. This means you’ll be spending more on your shave, but your skin will thank you.
3. Pre-Shave Exfoliation
Exfoliating your skin before shaving will help rid the area of dead skin cells that can both prevent close shaves and clog your razor blades (leading to nicks and cuts). Before lathering up, do some basic exfoliation. This is also a great way to allow the skin time to soften before meeting the razor.
4. Break Out the Baby Oil
Decrease razor burn with this one-two punch: use baby oil on the skin before applying your shaving cream. The oil will form a protective barrier while simultaneously working to sooth the skin. And because oil and water don’t mix, baby oil will work in the shower. No baby oil? Try coconut oil or hair conditioner, both are great substitutes.
5. Always Wet Shave
Never…. NEVER… shave dry skin. Shaving the skin in a dry state clogs the razor with dead skin and other debris; leading to nicks and cuts. Always wet the skin with warm water and allow time for the skin to soften.
6. Shave Correctly
For the best shave always go against the direction that your hair grows. When shaving your legs start at the ankles and shave upward. For your underarms you’ll have to shave in all different direction as hairs grow at different angles. For men this typically means shaving the face in an upward direction.
7. Use Aftershave / Moisturizer
Applying moisturizer, oil, or aftershave post shaving can have a significant positive effect. The act of shaving (which is a natural exfoliate) tends to dry out the skin. Applying a topical post shave lotion will provide moisture back to the skin.
8. Avoid Ingrown Hairs
Nobody likes ingrown hairs! Exfoliate the area daily to avoid developing ingrown hairs. Regular use of a glycolic acid cleaner can also minimize their development.
9. Consider Laser Hair Removal
The best way to prevent nicks, cuts, irritation, and ingrown hairs from shaving is to stop shaving. Laser hair removal eliminates unwanted hair without the unwanted effects of shaving. After a series of treatments you can be hair free. Learn more about laser hair removal by reading these frequently asked questions.