Last Updated: February 7, 2017 | This Article May Contain Affiliate Links
double edge safety razor with alum block

Shaving Cuts Hurt: Here’s How To Treat Them

Lets face it, shaving cuts can be a bad way to start the day.

We have all been there where it goes something like this: Hit the snooze button, hop in the shower really quick, jump out almost slip on the floor, slop on the shaving cream, and then start shaving away when suddenly…OUCH…a nasty shaving cut on your jaw line.

Sure the go to method for so many guys is to go reach for the toilet paper and dab a bit on and swap it out every 30 seconds.  This is one of the most ineffective ways to treating a bad shaving cut.

Well guess what, today that is going to change.

Below I have outlined all of the best tools you need to know about in order to make that bleeding stop nearly instantaneously.

So the next time your not too lucky when shaving and end up catching yourself on the wrong side of the blade you will be prepared.

Before I hop in to mentioning any products it’s important to know what exactly causes the worse shaving cuts and nicks – this is important so you don’t end up looking like this guy:

Straight Razor Cut on Neck

Shaving Cuts Still Happen With a Cartridge Based Razor –   Dull Blades Be Damned!

Gilette Cartridge Razors

Cartridge razors are expensive.  I mean crazy expensive.

In fact the average cost of ownership (assuming you swap out your blades as suggested by Gillette) is at about $240 a year.

Yeah its crazy.

So if you are like me, you would try and make those blades last as long as possible – cause lets face it, who is made of money?

Where is this leading?

Well the longer you hold off on swapping out on your cartridge razor blade, the higher the chances you are going to be cutting yourself while shaving.

In fact – per the manufacturer, you should be ditching that blade after about 4-5 shaves.

If your within the 5 shave range, cartridge razors are damn near impossible to cut yourself with.  You have to be really careless with it in order to take off any skin.

The reason that you end up cutting yourself with a cartridge razor after prolonged use is that being they have up to 5 blades now, after several shaves the blades begin to ware down and then are no longer a smooth surface (i.e. microscopically chipped at and have been bent) that goes across your skin when you shave.

When you have a rough and brittle blade going across that skin that nasty cut is going to happen.

If you’re completely attached to that cartridge razor and don’t want to give it up no matter what, you might want to check out a cartridge blade sharpener.  However, while reviews for that blade sharpener are generally favorable, the longer you use the blade, the more susceptible you are to getting cut.

Cutting Yourself With a Double Edge Safety Razor

Double Edge Safety Razor with Shaving Cream

If you recently discovered all of the amazing benefits of the double edge safety razor and are starting off with using one, you may realize one of the biggest drawbacks is the frequency of cutting yourself.

There are guys that are a pro with a double edge safety razor from day one, however – let’s be real…

Most are not.

You see when it comes to the double edge safety razor, there is a bit of learning curve when it comes to getting used to the right muscle movements and most importantly the angle of which you have the blade meet the hair (about 30 degrees).

Also with double edge safety razors, you have to be careful about the amount of pressure that you apply to your skin – too much and you will be reaching for your first aid kit.

Another fact to point out about the double edge safety razor is that the blades are incredibly sharp.

Unlike the cartridge counterpart that is very forgiving, if you don’t practice the proper cutting angle or apply to much pressure, YOU will cut yourself in the process.

It is important to note that the blades do adhere pretty close to cartridge razors.  You don’t want to go any longer than a week (or a few shaves more) with a razor blade.

Even if you exercise a very careful and calculated technique, your still opening yourself up to getting cut purely based on the condition of the blade alone.

Other Skin Aliments May Also Be Getting In The Way

Even if have the sharpest cartridge blade or best double edge safety razor shaving technique, if you have skin aliments like pimples, ingrown hairs, or other blemishes that raise your skin slightly in some areas, your still likely going to get cut while shaving.

If you do have any of these concerns, try and shave less frequently.

This is due in large part so you can try to let the skin heal for a few days to repair itself before you bring your razor blade across your skin again.

If you have severe razor bumps after shaving, you may want to check our post on how you can help prevent razor bumps occurring.

Should your skin be that severe or sensitive, you should consider a beard trimmer as it won’t be at all rough on your skin (if your current workplace allows this).

Treating a Shaving Cut Properly

There are several ways to treat shaving cuts.  Below we have them ordered from the quickest and traditional ways to stop yourself from bleeding to the outright bizarre but still doable.

Styptic Pencils Are Used Specifically For Shaving Cuts

styptic pencil

Styptic pencils (or sometimes referred to as styptic pens) have been around for years.  Their primary use was found back when straight edge and double edge safety razors had reigned supreme.

While the cartridge has come over, these aren’t as widely available as they once were, but still remain one of the most effective ways to repair a cut while shaving.

The reasons why styptic pencils work so well is simply that they are infused with the active ingredient anhydrous aluminum sulfate. This ingredient plays a large part in constricting blood flow to the applied area.

In order to use the styptic pencil properly you will want to first wash off the area of the cut with warm soapy water.

Once the cut has been clean, take your styptic pencil, and create a little pool of water in your palm and dip the tip of the styptic pencil into the water.

You don’t need get the styptic pencil completely wet, but let it sit there for about 10 second or so soaking up the water.

After letting the tip of the styptic pencil soak for a few seconds, you will want to rub it about 20 times or so on to the palm of your hand until you start to see it wearing off nicely and the aluminum sulfate is spreading from the pencil to your skin.

Once your styptic pencil is primed you will want to rub it on to the shaving cut.

Beware: When you apply your styptic pencil there will be a little bit of the sting.  But not to worry, after a few passes on the cut, your blood vessels will have constricted and completely stopped the blood flow.

After you sealed up the cut, you can rinse off any blood on the styptic pencil and place it back in the medicine cabinet for future use (but hopefully not!).

Oh and to note, you can pick these up for only a few bucks online.

An Alum Block Can Treat Cuts and Added Benefits

alum block cure shaving cuts

When it comes to an alum block, think of it as a styptic pencil plus more.

An alum block provides many of the benefits that come when using an aftershave, however, it’s not classically considered an aftershave unto itself.

In fact, you can actually use an aftershave in tandem with a alum block.

Alum block’s active ingredient is potassium alum.  When applied the skin and open cuts, it washes your skin of all the bacteria (antiseptic), closes up the pores and constricts blood flow (astringent).  Therefore when applying it to your whole face, you may experience a bit of tightness.

Using an alum block is fairly straightforward.

So if you have a few nicks after shaving, your going to first wet your face then get that alum block wet but just running it under water for a few seconds.

Afterwards you will want to just run the alum block across your entire face (concentrate on the area with the shaving nicks).

As you run over your face with the block, you will notice the tightness, and just like the styptic pencil, quite a bit of stinging to any areas that have been cut.

But don’t worry, the stinging will go away shortly and you will be cut free and your blood vessels will be fully constricted stopping any blood from reappearing!

The last benefit to an alum block will be that it also helps cut down on razor burn.  So if this is something that you experience quiet a bit, you will be happy with the results that an alum block can yield.

Alum blocks are unscented so you don’t have to worry about any odor sticking around!

Just like a styptic pencil, you can also pick these up online for dirt cheap (less than $10 bucks).

Aftershave Can Help Heal Shaving Cuts Too!

aloe vera aftershave

Aftershave is a great product to get in the habit of using, even when your shaves go well!

When it comes to using aftershave, there are different types.  Some with witch hazel and some with alcohol.

Typically you will find that the cheap stuff usually uses alcohol as a base.

This can be a very bad thing.

Here’s why:

While alcohol is an incredible disinfectant, whenever you apply it to a cut, it will sting pretty badly (similar to the styptic pencil or alum block).

In addition to the stinging sensation, alcohol will severely dry out your skin, thus making you flake during the day unless you apply some lotion.

So if you cut yourself while shaving, aftershave (even with alcohol) will help in constricting your blood vessels and clear out all the bacteria thus ultimately curing your shaving cut.

Here’s the deal though:

Aftershave with witch hazel is the next best alternative to a styptic pencil or alum block.

Now, if you aren’t familiar with witch hazel here is just a two second overview:

Witch hazel is an all natural ingredient that does a really good job of cleaning out bacteria in addition to being a natural astringent.

It does all of that while not giving the added sting of alcohol when applied to your face after shaving while also having a couple of nicks as it will help clear up those cuts and mitigate the bleeding.

If you have an aftershave that is also using witch hazel as a base, you can not only smell great, but have a solid solution to help heal any unwanted cuts.

Using Witch Hazel By Itself Is Just Fine

Echoing a bit of what was mentioned in the above aftershave section, witch hazel is a great all natural ingredient to keep on hand.

Should you ever have any cuts, bruises, razor burn, razor bumps, sun burn, spots or blemishes, heck even hemorrhoids, witch hazel is an awesome solution to have in the medicine cabinet.

Best of all you can pick it up at any grocery store, drug store, or hell even on online.

Eye Drops – Not Just For Your Eyes

eye drops to heal shaving cut

This one might sound a little strange but hear me out:

Eye drops that reduce the redness in your eyes have this little ingredient called Naphazoline hydrochloride.

eye drops active ingredient

Just like witch hazel or alcohol, its an astringent that helps close up blood vessels.

Just give a few drops on your open cut and let it do its magic.

This can be used if you are really in a pinch and don’t have any of the above ingredients readily available.

Therefore you can head out the door blood free.

Toilet Paper Is Great Because Its Sanitary

As the title suggest, the best part about using toilet paper is that its sanitary.

When using it on your fresh cut face, you have very little risk of infection simply because the toilet paper itself is pretty clean.

However, as we all know, most toilet paper is super thin and leaves quite a bit of residue when rubbed up against your face.

This is why its so far down the list and should be used as one of the last resorts.

As pain in the neck toilet paper may be it’s not nearly as bad as the last alternative…

Hand Towels Shouldn’t Be Used Unless Extreme Circumstances Permit

Lets just put it out there – hand towels are freaking gross.

In fact experts say that face towels should be washed after every use.

The point here is that when you have cut yourself from using that razor, using a used hand towel opens you up to a lot of infections simply due to how unsanitary they are.

Not only will the bacteria be bad, but there are no astringent qualities that a hand towel can provide therefore, the only way that you will be able to stop the bleeding will be applying firm pressure and waiting for your blood to clot.

Your better off using cold water than your dirty used hand towel.

If you must use a hand towel, make sure to use one that is clean (i.e. previously washed with bleach).

What Other Homemade DIY Ways Have You Cured A Shaving Cut?

I definitely want to hear some unique stories on how you have been able to stop your bleeding while getting ready (especially if it wasn’t listed above).

Let me know in the comments below!

If you have any questions too, feel free to reach out to me at shawn {at} toolsofmen.com or on Twitter and Facebook.

Shawn Burns | @toolsofmen

Hi, I'm Shawn! A beard and shave enthusiast! I am an aspiring writer that wants to give guys great tips on how to pick up better grooming habits!From beard oil to using a double edge safety razor (yes I do get rid of my beard every now and again), I wanted to create this site where readers can get great information about men's grooming.

What Other Men Are Currently Reading