How to Shave Without Getting Razor Bumps
Razor bumps are irritating in more ways than one. The swollen red bumps on your skin are sensitive and sometimes painful. Everyone can see them, and you’re eager to get them off of your face. All you can do is wait it out. They’re an aggravating nuisance.
Although they aren’t always completely avoidable, you can make a few tweaks to your shaving routine to minimize the chance that you’ll deal with those angry red spots again.
What Causes Razor Bumps?
When you shave, you’re putting a blunt cut through each and every beard hair. The cut end doesn’t always grow straight out through the skin. It can get hung up on the way out, and as the hair grows, the end is pushed further into the skin. This leaves an inflamed sensitive red spot at the surface of the skin beneath where the hair is ingrown. That’s a razor bump.
Razor bumps and razor burn are not the same thing. While razor burn can sometimes have a bumpy texture, it’s caused by irritation to the skin with or without a reaction to irritants in shaving products. Razor bumps are ingrown hairs.
Can I Avoid Razor Bumps?
You can’t avoid razor bumps entirely. Even a perfect shave won’t completely eliminate the potential for an errant bump or two. Men with curly beards will find that they’re always an inevitability. When curly hair is cut mid-growth cycle, there’s always going to be a chance that the blunt end will grow into the skin.
The best thing to do is to make it as easy as possible for the hair to emerge. Changing the way you shave and the way you treat your skin can make the hair’s work a little easier.
Shaving to Minimize Razor Bumps
If your skin is well taken care of, it’s much easier for a hair to emerge instead of forming a razor bump. Removing the dead skin cells from your face, managing dry skin, and shaving properly will knock out many of the factors that frequently contribute to razor bumps.
Preparing Your Face
You need the surface of your skin to be free and clear of surface debris. This is more than just washing your face - it’s exfoliating it. Your face is constantly shedding skin cells.
The dead cells build up on the first layer until they’re removed or they gradually fall off. This dead layer can make it difficult for hair to emerge through the surface of the skin. When the hair can’t come through, it goes back in and causes a bump.
Exfoliating your face at least once a week helps to prevent this layer from building up. Don’t go for the gritty stuff in the tube. Grainy particles in exfoliating products can scratch up your skin, creating small micro wounds. Acid exfoliators encourage the dead skin to effortlessly peel away without damaging the healthy cells underneath.
In addition to exfoliating, you’ll want to keep your skin moisturized and protected from the sun. The sun damages the top layer of your skin and can cause it to die off and peel away. If you’ve ever had sunburn, you know what that’s like.
Using a moisturizer with SPF every morning is a good idea in general. Everyone should be protecting their skin from the sun for the sake of their health. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to razor bumps, you’ll notice the benefits of sun protection more than most people.
Lathering Up The Right Way
Your razor needs to be able to slide smoothly across your skin, avoiding snags and reducing the number of passes you need to achieve a smooth face. If your shaving cream isn’t helping your razor and protecting your skin, it’s not a good shaving cream.
You need a shaving cream free from irritants that’s formulated to provide adequate moisture and slip throughout the shaving process. The foaming stuff you squirt from the can isn’t up to the challenge.
At LTHR, we’re master barbers. We knew exactly what most people needed in a shaving cream, so we made it. Our shaving cream formula doesn’t contain any chemicals or fragrances. It’s made from coconut oil, aloe vera, and glycerin. Aloe soothes the skin while coconut oil and glycerin moisturize and protect your skin. The razor slides right by, the hair gets cut, and your skin is spared from irritating friction.
Our shaving cream is designed to work with our hot lather machine. It’s exactly like the one at your barbershop, but better. Ours is portable, cordless, TSA approved, and compact. It fits in a small suitcase or a small bathroom with ease. It warms and dispenses your lather for you, keeping your face warm and your beard soft throughout the shaving process.
Using a Decent Razor
The most efficient and smoothest shave you’ll ever get is from a single bladed razor. Cartridge razors with five blades are harder to direct and can easily irritate your skin with each pass.
A single bladed razor, like a safety razor, is much easier to control. Hold the razor at a 30 to 45 degree angle and shave against the grain. You’ll be amazed at how smooth your face feels after the first pass.
Taking Care of Your Skin
After you shave, moisturize with a daytime SPF moisturizer or a nighttime moisturizer that will work with your skin. If you typically experience redness after shaving or if you have sensitive skin, use a soothing moisturizer with ingredients like aloe or chamomile. If you’re a night shaver, put it on before bed. Chances are slim that you’ll wake up with redness.
Avoid using aftershave products with alcohol or fragrance in them. These aftershaves can dry out your skin, which defeats the entire purpose of keeping the surface moisturized and free from dead cells. Don’t work against yourself. Put a little bit of fragrance on the collar of your shirt if you like to smell good. Just don’t put it directly on your skin.
There’s no way to drive razor bumps into extinction, but changing the way you shave and taking better care of your skin can significantly reduce your risk of developing bumps.
Take your time shaving and be careful. When you’re in a hurry, you’re probably going to irritate your skin. You need to be patient and give your skin a little extra care, especially if you find it doesn’t react well after most shaves. Shaving should be a relaxing act of self care that you enjoy. Stay slow and steady to protect your skin.
LTHR has everything you need to turn your routine into a ritual. Take your time tending to your skin’s needs while you’re shaving. Your lather will stay warm for a while.
Razor Bumps | University of Michigan
What Is Razor Burn? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention | Everyday Health
How to safely exfoliate at home | American Academy of Dermatology