How to Shave Sensitive Skin - Eliminate Razor Burn, Nicks, and Shaving Bumps

Image of razor burn

Shaving can be a difficult task for those with sensitive skin, as it can often lead to irritation, redness, and razor burn. However, by following the right steps it is possible to achieve a smooth, irritation-free shave. In this article, we will be discussing the best way to shave sensitive skin and how to avoid common issues such as irritation and razor burn.

I've always had my own challenges with razor burn and nicks, especially on the sides of my neck where the direction of whisker growth makes a 180 degree turn.  If I'm not mindful of what I'm doing, I can easily shave with, across, and against the grain with a single stroke of the razor.  For my skin, that's a guarantee that I'll walk away with a red neck and cuts.  I've tried countless products and techniques, and it's only in the past year that I've found a combination that has dramatically improved the health and appearance of my skin after a shave.  In fact, it's helped me so much that I couldn't keep it to myself.  If you've struggled to achieve a comfortable shave like I have, keep reading and I hope this routine works for you as well as it has worked for me!Before we get to the details, it's important to understand the rationale behind them.  The purpose of this routine is to:

  • Prep¬†your skin and beard to be soft and pliable
  • Ensure that you shave only with the direction of hair growth (at least on the first pass)
  • Finish off with a soothing follow-up to calm your skin and promote healing

1. Splash with warm water

Close up of whiskers cut with a razor blade vs electric shaver

The first step of the routine will probably come as no surprise, and it is simply to apply warm water to your skin.  My preferred method is simply to shave immediately after showering.  But if your shower and shave aren't in sync, then a quick splash from the sink or application of a warm, damp washcloth for about 15 seconds will work just fine. I want to emphasize that t's important to to use warm, not hot water.  Remember that the point is to eliminate any action that has the potential to upset your skin.  Hot water on sensitive skin will almost certainly cause redness and start you off on the wrong foot.  Warm water, on the other hand, will begin hydrating your skin and softening the facial hair.  I find it to be a relaxing sensation as well, and it's always best to be relaxed when you're holding a sharp blade against your skin!  I usually pat my skin with a towel just enough to remove the excess water, but not enough to dry it completely.

2. Apply a quality moisturizer

Man with moisturizer in hand

If you live in a region with cold winters, you're probably familiar with the dry and chapped hands that go with the territory.  Imagine a stroke of the razor against skin in that condition!  Obviously, if the skin on your face is anywhere near that dry then you should probably forego the shave altogether and see a dermatologist ASAP!  Assuming your skin is generally healthy, though, you want to make sure that it is soft and pliable.  I've found that having pliable skin is absolutely critical in the pursuit of a nick-free shave.  Giving the top layer of skin that little extra bit of "give" is enough to make a huge difference for me.    Conversely, dry skin is more rigid and what I will describe as slightly brittle, of course making it more prone to injury.  


Many guys like to use pre-shave oil.  Personally, I don't care for it.  It's difficult to apply without making a mess, and I generally just don't like the feel of it on my face.  Instead, I prefer to apply a high quality moisturizer to the areas I intend to shave.  This helps to lock in moisture making the skin pliable.  While I don't have any high-tech imaging to prove it, I suspect that it also helps to smooth out the skin on a nearly microscopic level.  This would help to reduce any tiny irregularities in the surface of the skin and make it less likely for the razor to "catch".


A good moisturizer will also condition your whiskers.  Conditioning any type of hair will soften it.  Soft hair is easier for the razor to cut.  Hair that is easily cut will prevent the razor from pulling or skipping as you shave.  Less pulling and skipping means less redness and fewer cuts.  Less redness and fewer cuts equals healthier, better looking skin.  Healthier, better looking skin results in a happier you!


Now that you're all prepped, let's get on with the actual shave, and learn how to shave sensitive skin!

3. Shave with a clear shaving gel

Close up of man shaving his neck with a disposable razor.

If I shaved my neck like the guy in the picture above, I'd probably end up in the hospital ūüėā! ¬†I try to avoid shaving across or against the direction of hair growth, especially on my neck, because doing so causes major issues for me every time. ¬†I end up with "weepers", full-on cuts, and blotchy red areas on each side of my adam's apple. ¬†It's unsightly, uncomfortable, and sometimes even downright painful.

My technique is to work my way inward from the edges, sticking to small enough areas so that I am only shaving hairs that grow in the same direction.  Obviously, this requires special care, attention, and a close eye on your whiskers.  But because you need to be able to see every hair, shaving creams and soaps can present a problem.  If you can't see your whiskers, then you're bound to pass the razor over them in the wrong direction.  For me, the solution to this issue has been to use a clear, non-foaming shaving gel.  If you're used to lathering up with more traditional products it will probably take you some time to get used to gel, but the results are well worth the effort.  Now that I'm accustomed to the feel and performance of gel, I would find it difficult to switch back to shaving soap and trying to see my whiskers through the foamy lather.

4. Follow up with Aftershave Balm

Image of a man pumping aftershave balm into his hand.

Like anything else, getting a clean, smooth shave takes practice.  Along the way, you'll have days when your technique is "off", you're distracted, you've got a dull blade, and so on.  For those days, and even when you've perfected your routine, it's wise to follow up your shave with something to sooth your skin and help the healing process when needed.

Aftershave balm to the rescue!  A good quality balm is an excellent way to moisturize your face and neck, ensuring favorable conditions for your skin to heal.  The ingredients in an aftershave balm play a significant role in achieving these benefits. Let's explore the benefits of each ingredient in our aftershave balm:

  1. Organic Aloe Leaf Juice

Organic Aloe Leaf Juice is one of the primary ingredients in aftershave balm. It's known for its soothing and healing properties, making it an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin. Aloe Vera contains antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

  1. Organic Coconut Oil

Organic Coconut Oil is another popular ingredient in aftershave balm. It contains antibacterial and antifungal properties that help to prevent infections. Coconut oil also hydrates and moisturizes the skin, keeping it soft and supple.

  1. Glycerin

Glycerin is a humectant, which means it draws moisture from the air into the skin. This helps to keep the skin hydrated and prevents dryness. Glycerin also has a cooling effect on the skin, providing relief from razor burn and irritation.

  1. Witch Hazel Water

Witch Hazel Water is a natural astringent that helps to tighten the skin and reduce inflammation. It also helps to soothe razor burn and prevent ingrown hairs.

  1. Stearic Acid

Stearic Acid is a fatty acid that helps to stabilize the texture of the aftershave balm. It also has emollient properties that help to soften and smooth the skin.

  1. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. It also has moisturizing properties that help to keep the skin soft and supple.

  1. Sunflower Seed Oil

Sunflower Seed Oil is a lightweight oil that's easily absorbed by the skin. It's rich in Vitamin E and contains essential fatty acids that help to moisturize and nourish the skin.

  1. Organic Jojoba Seed Oil

Organic Jojoba Seed Oil is a natural emollient that helps to soothe and moisturize the skin. It's also rich in Vitamin E and has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce irritation and redness.

  1. Organic Rosemary Leaf Extract

Organic Rosemary Leaf Extract has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that help to soothe and heal the skin. It also helps to improve circulation, which promotes healing and reduces inflammation.

  1. Organic Sunflower Seed Oil

Organic Sunflower Seed Oil is another great source of Vitamin E and essential fatty acids. It's a lightweight oil that helps to moisturize and nourish the skin without leaving it feeling greasy.

  1. Organic Neem Seed Oil

Organic Neem Seed Oil is a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent that helps to prevent infections. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help to soothe the skin and reduce redness.

  1. Organic White Willow Bark Extract

Organic White Willow Bark Extract contains salicylic acid, which helps to exfoliate the skin and prevent ingrown hairs. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce redness and irritation.

Conclusion - How To Shave Sensitive Skin

Achieving a comfortable shave can be challenging for those with sensitive skin, but with the right steps and products, it is possible. The key is to prepare the skin and beard to be soft and pliable, shave only in the direction of hair growth, and follow up with a soothing, healing product. By taking the time to prep your skin, you'll reduce the likelihood of razor burn, nicks, and cuts. Remember to use warm, not hot water, and apply a high-quality moisturizer to the areas you intend to shave. Following these steps will result in healthier, better-looking skin and a happier you!

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