The path to a clean shave is fraught with many dangers: razor burns, drawing blood and razor bumps. These last are vexing because they don’t just feel bad; they are more irritating than rubbing pepper into your eyes. So here are 4 ways to avoid shaving bumps and get that nice, clean shave.
1. Soften your beard
It is easier to shave when your beard is nice and soft; there’s not as much resistance. To soften it, just take a hot shower beforehand. This will clean your pores and soften your beard. You can go a step further and rub some hair conditioner into your beard while you shower, and rinse it when you’re done. This will give you a beard so soft you will feel guilty in shaving it.
2. Always shave with the grain
Many men love the smooth feel of shaving against the grain (i.e. the direction your hair is growing). Then they hate the irritation of shaving bumps. When you shave against the grain, you change how your beard grows back, which increases your risk of ingrown hairs. You might not get rid of your beard in one quick stroke—it might take several—but when you’re done, your hair will grow back without any irritation.
3. Use a clean and sharp razor
It’s better not to shave than to shave with a dull razor. Just like a dull knife, it tears into the object it’s cutting; in this case, your skin. Replace your blade as often as you can. But proper razor maintenance is also essential. Clean and dry your blade after every shave. Plus a dirty blade has bacteria, which are among the main causes of shaving bumps. So before every shave, wipe your razor blade with some alcohol.
4. Don’t skimp on the aftershave
It doesn’t matter how meticulously you’ve shaved; a sharp piece of metal has been scratching your face for the past few minutes. You need aftershave to prevent infection. If, however, aftershave just irritates you some more, you can apply a cortisone cream or a soothing balm. You should also consider a razor bump cream if you have stubborn ingrown hairs that don’t care how smoothly you’ve been shaving.