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How to Prevent Razor Burn

Do you also make that face while shaving with a razor? Well, you’re not alone. Many men experience regularly the pain of razor burn after shaving. Hopefully this ends today.

In this post we’re going to show you how to prevent razor burn when shaving, once and for all.

It’s all about adjusting your shaving routine by incorporating the tips I will share with you below.

This is true for any male grooming practice, be it manscaping, nose hair trimming or shaving with an electric razor, there’s always a correct step by step process that makes the outcome much better. 

So, let’s get right to it

The Shaving Process To Prevent Razor Burn


Step 1: Hydrate and Clean the Skin

This pre-shave step is important in order to get the hairs ready for the shave. Now you might be asking what the hell is he talking about ‘getting the hairs ready’?

Well you need the hairs to be soft and weak so that they easily get caught and removed by the shaving blade. Hydrating the skin with warm water will soften your hairs and the razor will be able to glide more easily over the skin.

man washing beard before applying jojoba oil

The easiest and most cost effective way to do this is to shave after you take your shower. It’s important you don’t take a long shower though because otherwise the skin will dry out and this makes it even harder for the shave.

You need a warm, three to five minute shower.

If you’re in a hurry or can’t get yourself to a shower before you shave, then wrap a warm towel around your face and keep it on for around two minutes.

Once this is done, the next step is to exfoliate the skin. For this you can use a suitable face wash or facial scrub. The purpose of this is to remove oil, and dirt from the skin and allow for a comfortable shave.

There you go, now you have cleaned your skin and you’re all set to start preparing for the actual shaving process.

Step 2: Apply Shaving Oil

Apply Shaving Oil to put a layer between the skin and the blade.

Lather & Wood Pre-Shave Oil is my favorite for this purposes.

pre shave oil to prevent razor burn

Three drops are all you need to do the trick. Apply them onto the palm of your hand and then rub it on your face.

Step 3: Use the Right Shaving Cream.

Not all Shaving Creams are created equally!

Yes boys, there are huge differences between the various brands of shaving foams on the market. If you have sensitive skin it’s important you ensure that you are not using a crappy, cheap brand.

If so, then it’s time to upgrade to a better one.

Many men use the propellant type, which is the shaving foam that you shake and spray directly in foam form. This is very often the lowest quality type shaving cream.

I prefer using gels rather than foam. This is the type that comes out in gel form and then foams up a little once you apply it on the skin. There are plenty of brands on the market, like the Gillette Shaving Gel for sensitive skin.

You’ll immediately notice the difference once you apply this on your face as it feels much fresher and the effect on the skin is immediately noticeable. Furthermore gels will more easily absorb to the skin which means their effect is much stronger.

There is also the added advantage that unlike foams, shaving gels do not create too much of the white foamy layer, which means that you will be able to see what you’re shaving more clearly.

You can also choose to create your own creams and balms!​

Step 4: Apply the Shaving Cream using a Badger Brush

There is a right way and a wrong way of applying shaving cream to the face which can effect the outcome when it comes to razor burns.

So, how do you apply the shaving cream?

I suggest you invest in a badger brush or a synthetic shaving brush, both will do the job.


Now many men think that using a brush is just a fancy way of applying shaving cream and that it does not make any difference. Those men are wrong.

The reason you should apply shaving cream using these brushes is that it gets better placement of the cream.

In other words by using the brush, you’ll manage to get the cream applied to places which you don’t usually reach with your hands, like underneath the hairs.

Step 5: Make sure you have the right Razor

Big brand names come up with new and advanced razors every couple of years and most of us think that this is just a marketing push to sell more expensive models. The truth is somewhere in between.

Using the latest and more expensive razor model does not necessarily mean that you’re using a better product.

Having said this, those cartridge razors with four or more blades aligned and placed at a scientifically tested angle do make a very big difference and are much better than the older disposable type of razors.

Just try it out once and you’ll immediately understand what I mean.

Cartridge razors are the most popular and you’ll find plenty of brands to choose from so I suggest you experiment with a few of these until you find the one which suits your skin type.

I would also recommend going out on a ledge and trying a safety razor.

merkur double sided safety razor

Now this takes getting used to and you’ll need patience but once you master the shave it will change the way you look at shaving forever. Go into one of the many forums on safety razors and you’ll understand what I mean.

Men who are committed to using these types of razors talk about them with a passion. I’ve never heard anyone talking passionately about a Gillette Mach 4, for example, have you?

Safety razors might need a higher capital outlay at first, but in the long run you’ll save money on cartridge blade replacement.

With safety blades you can change the blade more often and they are much cheaper than the cartridge ones.

Another positive aspect of using the safety razor is that you’ll learn the correct shaving technique in order to use it as this type of blade will not forgive for sloppy work.

This leads us to the next point, but before we go there, here’s a short clip that will show you how to choose the right safety razor.

Straight Razor Anyone?

Finally there is the ultimate shave you can get only from a straight razor. This is not for the faint of heart and you will need time to become a proficient user but I assure you that once you achieve a certain level of expertise you will be happy you tried it out.

Best Straight Razor for Beginners

For a detailed explanation of straight razors check out this post.

Phase 2: The Shaving Process

Step 6: Improve Your Shaving Technique.

How’s you shaving technique?

It’s unbelievable how many men shave using the wrong method, but probably it’s because most men just start at a young age on their own without any guidance and we get used to shaving using this habitual, incorrect technique.

The basics of the correct shaving method is very simple; apply less pressure and use shorter strokes.

That’s it basically.

Now, make sure that after every two or three strokes you rinse the razor under warm water.

This ensures that get rid of the cream and hairs that are lodged in the blade so that when you take your next stroke, you’re using a clean blade that does not have any elements that interfere with the clean shave of the blade.

You should also shave over the same area twice. No more, no less.

Passing the blade once will not result in a very clean shave, but passing the blade over the same are more than twice will irritate the skin and lead to a rash.

Phase 3: After Shave Treatment

Step 7: Rinse with Cold Water.

After the shave, once you’ve passed over all the area and you’re ready, then the next step is to rinse your face with cold water.

This will ensure you get rid of the remaining shaving cream still on the face, but using cold water will help close up the pores of your face and consequently prevent ingrown hairs.

Step 8: Use an Aftershave Balm.

Cold water on its own is not enough though. So after rinsing the face and drying it thoroughly, I also suggest applying a small dab of aftershave balm.

I usually go for the Nivea Sensitive Post Shave Balm. It’s reasonably priced and works extremely well on my skin.

Nivea after shave balm

Step 9: Clean and Dry Your Razor After Use.

To avoid razor burn you need those blades to be as sharp as possible so that they cut the hairs smoothly without causing any pulling.

If you use a cartridge razor it’s recommended you change it after 2 shaves.

Now, I understand if you tend to hold on to it a bit more. Maybe you don’t change it often enough (we know these things are expensive and sometimes you try and make them last as much as possible), then the least you could do is make sure you’re taking care of them.

You do this by making sure that the blade is dry before storing it. Pat is down with a towel to eliminate any water residue as this can easily corrode the blade.

Even better, try and clean it with alcohol.

Bonus Tip!

That’s it boys, I know this process may seem too long for some of you but trust me, it’s worth the effort.

You can make up for the lost time by shaving less often. This is actually another tip I give to minimise razor burns.

I usually try and skip a shave every three days or so, not just because I don’t feel like, but in order to give my skin a rest.

If you need to shave every day due to work commitments, then maybe take two days off from shaving during the weekend.

Let’s Recap

To summarize, here are our 9 steps on how to get rid of razor burn when shaving.

Untitled design 5

How to Prevent Razor Burn When Shaving

1. Hydrate and clean the face by washing with warm water (preferably during your shower)

2. Use a shaving oil and massage it in the face.

3. Do not use cheap shaving foams. Try and go for shaving gels instead.

4. Use a badger brush to apply shaving cream on your face.

5. Test out a few razors and find the right one for you. Maybe try a safety razor as an alternative.​

6. Make sure you’re using a correct shaving technique.

7. Rinse your face with cold water after the shave.

8. Spread on some after-shave balm.

9. Clean your razor once you’re ready and make sure it’s dry before storing it.

.. and take a day or two off from shaving every now and then. 


There you go, you don’t have to follow all these suggestions, however I do recommend you try and build a habit of using these steps in your shaving routine. If you find it too long of a process, maybe you can start by incorporating only a few of the pointers above.

They’ll quickly become a routine and then get back to this post and try adding another couple of recommended steps.

Once you see what a difference these steps make in your final result and on your skin, you’ll find yourself going through the whole process as part of your habitual shaving regime.

So, which of the above will you try out first? Let us know in the comment box below, and please if anyone has any further recommendation go ahead and share them with your fellow readers.


Hi I'm Vincent, the editor of this website. I consider male grooming as a lifestyle choice. If you're comfortable with letting mother nature take care of your looks, then that's cool, however for those of you who want to make sure they look their best, I provide guides and tips for your male grooming needs.