No matter how well-refined your shaving technique might be, it’s likely that you’ve at some point experienced the discomfort brought about by ingrown hairs. For many men, they can seem like an unavoidable part of shaving. And for others, they can come as an unpleasant and unwelcome surprise.
Razor bumps are, of course, an especially common type of ingrown hair, and typically develop when a hair curls back in on itself after being cut below the surface of the skin. They can be itchy, uncomfortable, or even painful. And although ingrown hairs are most often encountered by with men curlier hair, they can happen to anyone.
While there are treatment options available for ingrown hairs, prevention is often better than seeking a cure. By taking a handful of precautions, most men will find that they can dramatically reduce the likelihood of encountering an ingrown hair.
The path toward avoiding ingrown hairs really begins in the shower. Exposing your face to plenty of warm water has the advantage of opening pores and softening skin – two vital preconditions for achieving a smooth and effective shave. Soft, open skin allows the blade to travel with minimal interference, reducing the risk of irritation while ensuring that even the toughest hairs can be extracted.
For men with particularly sensitive skin, moisturising prior to a shave can be a good way to avoid unnecessary irritation. When shaving, each swipe of the blade deprives your skin of necessary moisture, So it’s important to make sure that your skin is properly hydrated before you begin your shave.
Most men can go a long way toward avoiding ingrown hairs by simply switching up their pre-shave routine. Using an exfoliator prior to shaving carries the advantage of softening facial hair while lifting it further above the skin. What’s more, exfoliation is an effective way to remove dead skin that can clog pores and block hair follicles.
It’s important to keep in mind that facial hair is especially sensitive, and requires a delicate exfoliation technique. For best results, simply massage your face in circular motions for around 30 seconds before rinsing clean.
Shave with the grain
Shaving against the grain might result in a closer shave, but it can often lead to unnecessary irritation – and even the formation of ingrown hairs. Always try to follow the direction of the hair growth (if possible). And, use the minimum number of strokes necessary to achieve a clean shave.
Additionally, it’s important to go easy on your skin. Steer clear of applying too much pressure to the face when shaving. You should try to let the razor do all the work.
Use fresh blades
Nothing invites irritation quite like an old, dull blade. Regularly replacing your blades will make sure you continue to get a cleaner shave, while keeping your face clean and healthy.
Moisturise after the shave
Even after you’ve completed your shave, the skin care shouldn’t stop. Skin is often left irritated and dry following a shave. So, it’s important to make sure it receives all the additional moisture it needs. See our men’s wet and dry shaver guide.