Winter, summer, it doesn’t matter — we get razor burn all year. So, lean in, ladies, here are the steps to combat those pesky, itchy red bumps once and for all!
Traditionally, a razor bump occurs when the hair shaft was not properly cut, and instead, “bent” into a neighboring hair follicle. However, improper shaving can also produce ingrown hairs and infected hair follicles, which can also appear red and bumpy on the skin.
The tricky thing is: Razor burn can develop from nearly any stage in the shaving process, from your blade to your skin to the temperature of the water. Here are a few things to consider:
Shaving tips for bump-free zones
- Don’t shave over pre-existing bumps and try your best not to scratch them. Instead, wait a day or two and apply oatmeal-infused body lotion or coconut oil on the area until they clear up.
- Dull razors are bad, bad, bad! You’ll want to throw out razors after three to 10 shaves. Use a razor with four to five blades and a pivoting head, and avoid blades with the large lubricant bar.
- Shave every other day. Most skin types cannot tolerate shaving every day.
- In the shower, use an antibacterial wash and always use a type of shaving cream or lubricant oil. (Try shaving with Burt’s Bees lemon and vitamin E bath and body oil.)
- After shaving sensitive areas (like underarms and bikini lines), apply powder-based deodorant, like Dove’s Invisible Solid. This can help lubricate and moisturize the area.
- Don’t rush. Buy a low flow shower head and take your time shaving. If you graze the skin too quickly, you’ll be red and itchy in no time.
So, jump into your shaving routine with pride! Make it fun. Buy your favorite indulgent products and then get to work by following this fool-proof, expert-recommended shaving routine.
The five-step, end-all, be-all shaving routine
1. Exfoliate just enough
“We get razor burn when we shave over un-exfoliated, bumpy skin,” explains Dr. Ava Shamban, aka the skin care expert to the stars. “Make sure to start by using a scrub to slough off dead skin prior to your shave.” But, be careful with this. Use a soft loofah and don’t exfoliate too vigorously, or you will just cause more irritation before you even begin.
2. Wash with the right ingredients
Shaving in the shower is your best bet. The warm water and steam will open the hair follicles and soften the hair shaft. You can also soak in a warm bath before shaving. Do whatever you can to avoid shaving on cold, dry, un-exfoliated skin. “Use a benzoyl peroxide cleanser to wash away bacteria and minimize future bumps and blemishes on the skin,” Shamban suggests.
3. Shave with the right equipment
When you are ready to shave, make sure the blade is fresh, clean and warm by running it under the water for a few seconds. Do not shave with an oily, clogged (hello, bacteria!) or dull blade. If you are pressing hard on your skin, then your razor is not sharp enough. Shamban advises, “Pull the skin taut, and shave against and with the grain.”
4. Dry you skin this way
Here’s a little tip: Before jumping out of the shower to start your day, run the shaved area through a bout of cold water. This will tighten your pores and prevent bacteria from entering — and it will ensure you are up and awake for the day (yay?). Also, do your best to pat the area dry. Vigorously rubbing can move dead skin cells around and lodge them right into your beautifully clean and shaved follicles.
5. Don’t moisturize this way
Lastly, don’t forget to moisturize. You may want to avoid any moisturizers with alcohol, peppermint or menthol, as they can irritate new and sensitive skin. Try using aloe, coconut oil or even marshmallow extract (huh?) to help your skin retain moisture. Remember: Dry skin and razor bumps are best friends. You may also want to consider using ointments with salicylic acid, glycolic acid or witch hazel — ingredients that aid in natural exfoliation.