In this guide, we are going to explore all there is to know about razor burn. Before we get into how to avoid razor burn, it's important to know the symptoms and causes of the skin irritant itself.
But, what exactly is razor burn?
What Is Razor Burn?
Razor burn is the irritation of the skin after it's shaved. If you've ever had a red rash after shaving, you've probably encountered this nuisance.
Razor burn occurs in areas where the skin is sensitive. Some may never be affected by razor burn at all, yet some deal with the annoyance of razor burn on a weekly basis.
It all depends on how sensitive your skin is. While more common in men, due to the sensitive skin of the face, razor burn affects women almost as frequently as men. In most cases, razor burn is temporary and will eventually heal over time.
10 Ways on How to Avoid Razor Burn
Prepare the Surface
Preparing the surface you will shave is the first step in how to avoid razor burn. Dry hair is stiff and wiry. Shaving dry hair causes friction which irritates the skin.
Wetting the hair causes the hair follicles to swell because facial hair absorbs the water. Swollen hair follicles are weak and easier to shave.
Taking a short shower with warm water will prepare the surface sufficiently, but make sure not to stay in the shower for too long.
Spending too much time in the shower will actually end up drying the skin.
An alternative to the shower method is what barbers call a "warm towel wrap." The heat causes the blood vessels to swell which allows a smoother surface.
Using a Shave Oil
The second way how to avoid razor burn is using a shave oil. Using a shave oil before you shave softens the facial hair and allows for a smoother shave.
The shave oil keeps the moisture in place throughout the whole shave.
Only three to five drops of shave oil are needed for each shave. To avoid wastage, any extra oil and can be rubbed into your hair or skin. Shaving oil alone is sufficient lubrication for shaving, but it is recommended using shaving oil together with a quality shaving cream.
Upgrade Your Shaving Cream
The next step in how to avoid razor burn is by purchasing a better quality shaving cream.
Shaving creams that contain a high concentration of moisturizers and lubricants keep the hair in the proper state for a smoother and cleaner shave.
High quality shaving creams create a thick lather with keeps skin moisturized throughout the whole shave.
It is important to remember to let the shaving cream soak into the skin for a few minutes. Don't be fooled by thin, foamy creams.
The less foamy the cream gets, the better quality it generally is. Avoid cheap drug store brands of shaving cream to avoid getting razor burn.
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Use a Shave Brush to Apply the Shaving Cream
A badger brush is one of the best, but underrated tools in preventing razor burn.
While a synthetic brush may be good enough to do the job, a badger brush ensures that the shaving cream is spread evenly across the shaving surface.
A brush puts the hair in the right position by lifting up the hair.
When the hair is lifted, more of hair's surface area is exposed making for a smoother and easier cut. Look for a brush with soft bristles that create a rich lather but firm enough to raise the facial hair.
A badger brush also prevents razor burn by removing dead skin cells that can irritate the skin.
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Upgrade Your Razor
One of the most important ways how to avoid razor burn is by shaving with a quality razor.
A cheap razor with a dull blade is one the most common contributors to razor burn. A dull blade creates resistance and drag.
Resistance causes the hair to tear instead of cleanly cutting the hair. Always make sure to use a razor with a sharp blade when shaving.
Cheap cartridge razors with three to six blades may seem to be the way to go, but more consumers are switching to safety razors. Double-edged safety razors force you to improve your technique by using a single blade.
A single blade razor is more economic in the long run because you don't have to keep throwing away and buying razors. The single blade provides a smooth shave eliminating the need for multiple blades. Safety razor blades are also cheaper than the cartridge variety.
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Improve Your Shaving Technique
Don't worry. Most people practice bad shaving habits simply because they didn't have the right teacher.
The first thing to remember when shaving is to shave in the direction your hair is growing in. This causes less resistance and allows for a cleaner, smoother shave.
Remember to apply minimal pressure and use short strokes. Let gravity do the work for you. Rinse the blade with warm water before shaving and every-so-often while shaving to keep the blade clean from hair and shaving cream.
Follow these simple techniques, and you will be shaving like a pro in no-time.
Make Sure to Shave Twice
After completing your shave, rinse, reapply more shaving cream and shave again. Making constant passes over trouble-areas may be a temptation, but this can actually lead to razor burn.
Before shaving for the second time, remember to use your brush to re-lift the hair in hard-to-reach spots. If you don't have access to a brush, however, re-shaving a second time with the grain after applying more shaving cream usually does the trick.
Always Rinse with Cold Water
Rinsing your skin post-shave soothes the skin and helps prevent ingrown hairs.
When you shave, the blade cuts small tears in the skin. Cold water constricts the blood vessels and reduces the swelling from these cuts.
When drying your face, make sure to pat dry in a precise manner. Too much rubbing while drying can irritate the skin as it quite sensitive after shaving.
Irritated skin can lead to razor burn. Remembering to rinse with cold water and pat drying post-shave is how to avoid razor burn.
Don't Forget the After-Shave Balm
Shaving takes quite the toll on the skin. The process can remove up to two layers of skin.
Therefore, it is essential to apply a quality moisturizer after you have completed shaving.
Quality aftershave products not only moisturize and soothe the skin but refresh and cool the skin as well.
An aftershave moisturizer in the form of a balm is one of the best ways to refresh and replenish the skin. Be sure to avoid alcohol-based aftershave products as they can lead to skin irritation.
Proper use of an aftershave balm is a great way to prevent razor burn.
Remember to Clean Your Razor with Alcohol
Unseen to the naked eye, bacteria is free to grow on unclean razor. When these unclean razors are re-used, the bacteria is transferred to the skin. This is an easy way to get razor burn.
Sometimes trying to be money-conscious and re-using old razors can be detrimental to your skin.
Rinsing the blade with hot water is not going to kill the bacteria. In order to kill the bacteria, cleaning the blades in alcohol or boiling the razor blades is necessary.
Rinsing with hot water is only good for rinsing off hair and shaving cream during shaving. After cleaning the blades with alcohol, make sure to rinse them thoroughly with cold water and dry with a towel.
Razor Burn Symptoms & Causes
Common symptoms of razor burn are burning sensations on the skin, tenderness of the area, itchiness and small red bumps on the skin. Razor burn can appear anywhere the skin is in contact with a razor. But, what exactly causes razor burn?
The most common cause of razor burn is poor shaving habits. Shaving without a lubricant such as soapy water or shaving cream, shaving against the direction your hair is growing, using an old razor, using a razor clogged with debris, using an old razor and shaving one specific area too many times are common shaving mistakes.
Good shaving habits are a great way towards avoiding razor burn.
How to Avoid Razor Burn: Conclusion
Preventing razor burn, for the most part, is ultimately up to you. Proper technique, tools, and accessories can go a long way in maintaining healthy and clean skin.
Spending a little more on quality shaving creams and razors end up saving you money in the long run.
Another token to remember is that shaving less is actually good for your skin. The combination of quality shaving tools, techniques and shaving fewer benefits your skin and your wallet.