Shaving sensitive skin can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right products, techniques, and post-shave care, you can achieve a smooth, irritation-free shave.
Follow these five tips:
1. Introduce Products Slowly
The biggest culprit for irritated skin while shaving is contact dermatitis or an allergic reaction. This can occur due to the ingredients in your shaving cream, aftershave, or even the materials used in the razor itself. For instance, some people are allergic to aluminum, making some safety razors like the Henson AL13 a potential trigger for irritation.
Therefore, it’s ideal to start with minimal products: pre-shave oil, a razor, and a skin-friendly shaving cream. Test these products on a small patch of skin, not on your face, to see if you have any reaction before incorporating them fully into your shaving routine.
Common irritants include artificial fragrances, parabens, and sulfates, so opt for products free from these. Natural or organic shaving products may be a safer option.
However, just because a product is natural doesn’t mean it can’t cause an allergic reaction (i.e. poison ivy is natural yet many people are highly allergic). Thus, it’s essential to test any new products on a smaller patch of skin before applying them to your face or body.
2. Consider the Half-and-Half Method
The half-and-half method involves shaving half of your face with one product and the other half with a different product. For example, use shaving cream on one side and shaving gel on the other. This can help you determine which product works best for your skin without causing full-face irritation.
You may notice a significant difference in the comfort level and irritation caused by both.
Aside from obvious post-shave pain, be mindful of tightness or tingling sensations as these can also indicate mild irritation or reaction.
3. Sharp Blades Mean Fewer Passes
Keep in mind that shaving is a fairly traumatic process for the skin. You’re essentially passing a sharp blade over your skin surface to slice off hair. This inherently causes some level of skin damage, however minor.
Using a dull blade exacerbates this problem, as it requires multiple passes to effectively remove hair while also scraping off more skin layers, leading to higher chances of irritation and micro-cuts.
If you’re budget-minded, that’s okay. There are plenty of affordable options in the market for razors and blades. Consider investing in a safety razor, which averages roughly $.10 to $.20 per blade, making it a cost-effective decision. Even a previous-generation Gillette Mach3 is quite affordable now and still provides a close and comfortable shave.
4. Refine Your Shaving Technique
How you shaved when you first started may differ from how you should be shaving now. Hair growth patterns on your face may have changed, necessitating adjustment in the direction of your strokes.
For example, the facial hair on your lower neck may have initially pointed upwards, whereas now it is sideways. This would require you to change the direction of your shave for that area.
Remember, always shave in the direction of your hair growth (with the grain), not against or across the grain.
5. Use Aftershave Wisely
Moisturizing post-shave balms and aftershave helps restore moisture and soothe the skin. While these can offer instant relief to irritated skin, they may also be masking problems with any of the previous steps in your shaving process.
Excessive irritation after shaving may indicate that your technique or the products you’re using aren’t suitable for your skin type. While an aftershave balm can mitigate some of these symptoms, it’s crucial to address the root cause of the issue.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t use aftershave products; in fact, they are a crucial part of a comprehensive skincare regimen. Aftershave contains antiseptic agents that can prevent infection of cuts and nicks, while balms include hydrating ingredients that replace moisture lost during shaving and soothe the skin.