If you’ve never experienced razor burn, consider yourself lucky. Razor burn is an extremely uncomfortable and irritating rash caused by an unpleasant interaction between the razor blade, skin, and hair. Razor burn can sting, itch, and even burn - what a nightmare.
A guaranteed way to prevent razor burn is to invest in products that are designed to soothe and treat the skin before and after hair removal (see here). That said, I have some tips and tricks to make the interaction between blade and skin as gentle as possible. This blog will do a deep dive into eight shaving techniques to avoid razor burn.
Shave with the grain
Move the razor in the same direction that your hair grows. This will guarantee a more comfortable shave. Shaving with the grain minimizes tugging on the skin and hair. Whereas shaving against the grain increases the risk of irritation, nicks, cuts, and razor burn. Admittedly, shaving with the grain will not give you as close of a shave. So, if you insist on shaving against the grain here's what to do: on the first pass only shave in the direction your hair grows (downwards). After this step, shaving against the direction of growth is much more safe. Reapply your moisturizing agent and shave against the grain.
Note: If you have sensitive skin we recommend only shaving with the grain.
How to shave with the grain
Map out your stubble and determine the direction of growth. Run your fingers over your hair to determine the direction your hair is growing. This may seem obvious but just in case here’s the rule of thumb: if it feels smooth and soft then you’re moving with the grain - if it feels prickly you’re moving against the direction of growth. It is also possible that the hair grows in different directions. To help this you can use a trimmer to comb all the hair in the same direction and get them all down to an equal length.
Click here to learn more about grooming with a trimmer.
Use a sharp razor
Your razor should be fresh and sharp. A worn blade is likely to be much less efficient because it requires more passes over the same area to remove the unwanted hair. This will irritate the skin and cause micro-abrasions (little cuts) on the skin. On the other hand, a sharp blade will remove as much hair as possible with as little strokes as possible. It's best to avoid this by replacing your blade every ten shaves.
Never use an old razor
An old razor tracks bacteria. This debris could seep into the freshly opened hair follicles and leave an angry razor rash in the most delicate areas.
Soak the skin in warm water
Whether you're in the bath or shower, it's important to give your skin 10-15 minutes to soak in warm water before shaving. Warm water helps to open up the pores and make the hair softer. This makes the shaving process much easier and less abrasive on the skin.
Note: don't wait too long - otherwise the skin will wrinkle and make it harder to get a close shave. It's best to stick to the 10-15 minutes window.
Using a moisturizing agent like shaving cream or hair conditioner provides much needed lubrication and makes the shaving process much smoother. Shaving on dry skin will cause major skin irritation including razor burn and ingrown hairs. When the skin lacks moisture, it can become rough. Dragging a razor on an already rough surface can aggravate the skin and increase the risk of razor burn.
Use short, light strokes
Using short and light strokes will ensure that the skin is not overly tugged during the hair removal process. With long strokes, we tend to apply more pressure on the razor. This extra weight is enough to irritate, nic, and scrape the skin causing razor rash.
Stick to trimming
For a final technique, you can groom your body hair and avoid the risk of razor burn altogether by trimming. The blade of a trimmer does not actually reach the surface of the skin. As such, there is no risk of the blade tugging or pulling on the skin while it cuts the hair down.
Click here to learn about how to use the Francesca Trimmer.