5

votes

Shaving facial hair for extremely sensitive skin

Answered on August 19, 2015
Created January 10, 2012 at 5:25 PM

I am a person who has extremely sensitive skin. Every time I shave, my neck breaks out badly from irritation (no exaggeration, redness and bumps cover my neck). I recently bought Burt's Bees shaving cream and aftershave in hopes that it would make a difference. I have shaved with this product twice and while it leaves my skin much more hydrated, I am still getting the same irritation on my neck.

Any advice on shaving? Technique? Against/with the direction of growth? Anything?

Notes to consider: I recently got rid of commercial face wash and acne products. I now do the oil cleansing method (from cave girl eats) at night and wash my face once a day with baking soda. So no harsh chemicals from commercial products are going onto my skin anymore after shaving. I use a Mach3 razor as I was told the more blades you have the more it will irritate your skin. (So my razor has 3 blades) I only shave after I take a hot shower. I shave every 3-5 days, because I can't shave when my neck is completely red and irritated. I rinse my blade off frequently while shaving with warm water. After I shave I splash my face with cold water. Then apply aftershave.

Any suggestions, tips, anything is greatly appreciated! Thanks for your time!

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c

(777)

on July 14, 2013
at 12:00 PM

I do this aswell, wet shaving isn't worth the disgusting razor burn, for all the 5 minutes its smooth before stubble grows back anyway. Im quite fair/blonde so i find its short enough to look clean shaven, but when i touch it its stubbley, best of both worlds. Plus i don't use any products on my skin, no creams, oils, gels etc... so wet shaving just isn't an option even if 'product x' does stop razor burn

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 08, 2013
at 07:19 PM

I'm going to try that. I've given up shaving because of consistent irritation in my underarms. My "paleo beard" isn't that impressive, either. :-)) Anyhow, I've been using a cornstarch/baking soda mix as deodorant without problems but shaving has never worked out well, with or without commercial products.

C53665c3f012fa1ede91033b08a8a6e7

(2269)

on April 08, 2012
at 10:56 PM

Thirded for electric. I like the Philips/Norelco rotary ones. The foil ones like Braun feel like they're gonna rip my face off. I use it after I shower, on dry skin, then follow up with a light Aveda moisturizer for sensitive skin.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on January 11, 2012
at 02:53 PM

Old school is truly the way to go - hot towel on the face, etc. Knowing the ins/outs of the shave was something that I needed to know in my last profession, it's kind of cool the history and such.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 11, 2012
at 02:28 AM

How old are you Rockhurst?

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on January 10, 2012
at 11:18 PM

This is exactly how my husband shaves--love the smell of his shaving soap!

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on January 10, 2012
at 08:41 PM

Here's a link for the shavette: http://is.gd/5Q7QhQ

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on January 10, 2012
at 08:41 PM

Good suggestion. You can also try out a "shavette" made by Dovo - it's a straight razor that uses a disposable blade (snapped in half). This is how I dipped my toe into the straight razor water. I've since bought some Very Nice straight razors that take and keep a really nice edge.

C3edabc6267abec9b5f8178e5d73552c

(725)

on January 10, 2012
at 07:54 PM

are you going with or against the grain?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on January 10, 2012
at 06:22 PM

Google "beard punch" for a laugh.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on January 10, 2012
at 05:54 PM

Electric shaver here too. Less bleeding. :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 10, 2012
at 05:33 PM

Since I'm female I don't have to shave, but if it was that much trouble for me I'd grow a paleo beard. :)

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23 Answers

3
7cab5a1f1fd48c3cc4938ab824fdb52e

on January 10, 2012
at 06:03 PM

I can't use an electric shaver, or a razor. I just use hair clippers at the lowest setting.

Besides it makes me feel more manly, with a Rugged Stubble.

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c

(777)

on July 14, 2013
at 12:00 PM

I do this aswell, wet shaving isn't worth the disgusting razor burn, for all the 5 minutes its smooth before stubble grows back anyway. Im quite fair/blonde so i find its short enough to look clean shaven, but when i touch it its stubbley, best of both worlds. Plus i don't use any products on my skin, no creams, oils, gels etc... so wet shaving just isn't an option even if 'product x' does stop razor burn

2
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on January 10, 2012
at 08:57 PM

A wet shave for sure. Hot water to open pores. Badger bristle brush. Lather shave soap out of a mug or scuttle. Swirl over face with fast circular motions. Short strokes - this allows for less build up and a smoother pass. Shave with the grain first. For an even closer shave, re-lather and shave lightly across or against the grain.

For reals. Old school, master shaver style.

More tips via the Search at the top.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on January 11, 2012
at 02:53 PM

Old school is truly the way to go - hot towel on the face, etc. Knowing the ins/outs of the shave was something that I needed to know in my last profession, it's kind of cool the history and such.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on January 10, 2012
at 11:18 PM

This is exactly how my husband shaves--love the smell of his shaving soap!

2
Medium avatar

(2923)

on January 10, 2012
at 08:31 PM

To reiterate some points in PFW's response:

1) Use warm to hot water (and pre-rinse your face first) -- the warmth helps soften up bristles and makes them easier to cut -- that being said, The Art of Manliness says that cold water shaving will toughen up the skin and result in a cleaner shave (the WWII GI shave)

2) Use a safety razor (or learn to use a straight razor) -- less irritation than disposable cartridge razors or electric razors (and replacement blades are MUCH cheaper)

3) Start shaving with the grain and use short, overlapping strokes -- once your skin toughens up, you can start going against the grain for a closer shave

4) Shaving soap or Proraso shaving cream and a brush for a nice thick lather -- if your skin reacts adversely to soap or cream ingredients, try out shaving oil (you can get Shave Secret Oil cheaply at Walmart or even make your own)

5) Use moisturizer or lotion afterwards, do not use aftershave or anything alcohol based -- if you really want to be traditional, plain old extra virgin olive oil

These and more tips on shaving and grooming off of The Art of Manliness website: http://artofmanliness.com/

2
Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

on January 10, 2012
at 05:51 PM

stop it, you should do what i do, buy a nice electric shaver. make sure your face is a little oily and it wont irriatate at all. i can shave my face every day withoutr issues. i cant use a blade shaver on my sensitive skin al all.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on January 10, 2012
at 05:54 PM

Electric shaver here too. Less bleeding. :)

C53665c3f012fa1ede91033b08a8a6e7

(2269)

on April 08, 2012
at 10:56 PM

Thirded for electric. I like the Philips/Norelco rotary ones. The foil ones like Braun feel like they're gonna rip my face off. I use it after I shower, on dry skin, then follow up with a light Aveda moisturizer for sensitive skin.

1
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on January 10, 2012
at 07:49 PM

I had a similar problem - if I shaved, I would get terrible irritation on my neck. I'm still working on the solution, but I've had some fairly bizarre results in the interim.

After getting frustrated with my results using the standard disposables and electric razors, I decided to give straight razor shaving a shot. I did my research and then mostly disregarded it (mistake). I bought a cheap straight razor from one of the enthusiast sites. The guy claimed he honed it, and maybe he did, but it was a pretty rough shave.

I've stuck with it for a while now (about 1-2 months) and it's still rough. I probably need to get it honed by a professional. I've tried honing it myself with mixed results. I think the spine of the blade is uneven and that prevents me from setting a good edge.

But here's the kicker: after two months of gritting my way through dull straight razor shaving, it seems my face toughened up. One stroke into a recent attempt, I realized the blade was just way too dull to continue. So I grabbed my Mach 5 razor and used that. When I was done I had way less irritation than I used to and compared to a dull straight razor it was like shaving with butter.

So... I guess my advice is to get a straight razor, and then after a few months you'll either have found a better way to shave or have manned your skin up a bit.

Random tips:

1) Make sure your face has soaked in some hot water first. This will soften the hairs a bit. Sounds like you're doing this right after a shower, but even so you might try adding a hot wet towel just before you lather up.

2) Always shave with the grain (ie down your cheek from your sideburn) with the standard razors. You can't control the angle of the blade so if you go against the grain you'll cause irritation.

3) You could try getting a shaving soap/brush. No idea if this helps at all, but it's kind of nice. Also, make sure your face is wet before you apply the lather - the lather will help trap water near your skin to help the razor glide over it.

4) The razor should glide over your skin. If you have to muscle it, you will scrape your skin and cause problems. One way to help alleviate this is to stretch your skin as you shave to keep it taut. Use a finger on your free hand to pull the skin near where you're shaving against or at least on the same plane as the razor's path.

5) Switch to straight razor shaving and actually do it right so I can follow in your footsteps :P

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on January 10, 2012
at 08:41 PM

Here's a link for the shavette: http://is.gd/5Q7QhQ

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on January 10, 2012
at 08:41 PM

Good suggestion. You can also try out a "shavette" made by Dovo - it's a straight razor that uses a disposable blade (snapped in half). This is how I dipped my toe into the straight razor water. I've since bought some Very Nice straight razors that take and keep a really nice edge.

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on January 10, 2012
at 05:43 PM

Not sure if this will help:

I read on another forum that if you get the razor hot (under hot water) and use a loofah or other slightly abrasive cloth to scrub your skin gently before and after shaving, it can decrease ingrown hairs which often contribute to irritation. I tried it and it worked great for my very sensitive underarms.

Baking soda really irritates my skin. I only use water, or occasionally Kiss My Face Olive & Aloe soap.

I'd skip the aftershave--alcohol will irritate sensitive skin.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 08, 2013
at 07:19 PM

I'm going to try that. I've given up shaving because of consistent irritation in my underarms. My "paleo beard" isn't that impressive, either. :-)) Anyhow, I've been using a cornstarch/baking soda mix as deodorant without problems but shaving has never worked out well, with or without commercial products.

0
922517e941bdce395256e5742b7eea3a

on August 19, 2015
at 05:18 PM

Zipp Mist is the most advanced shaving solution on the market.

Designed for men with sensitive skin, Zipp Mist was developed after five years of intensive research, including the work of four chemical engineers, two from the United States and two from China.

So what did they discover after half a decade of research? Most importantly, they found that most shaving cream has a high pH factor, a major cause of unsightly razor burn. Zipp Mist, on the other hand, is not a cream at all. It’s a mist and a mixture of 20 moisturizing oils and soothing skin conditioners.

And, as an added bonus, shaving with Zipp Mist will save you time; you’ll be able to complete the morning ritual of shaving in a minute or less.

With Zipp Mist, you’ll get a clean, smooth and comfortable shave every time. Nothing else comes close.

0
922517e941bdce395256e5742b7eea3a

on July 31, 2015
at 04:14 PM

Zipp Mist is the most advanced shaving solution on the market. Designed for men with sensitive skin, Zipp Mist was developed after five years of intensive research, including the work of four chemical engineers, two from the United States and two from China. So what did they discover after half a decade of research? Most importantly, they found that most shaving cream has a high pH factor, a major cause of unsightly razor burn. Zipp Mist, on the other hand, is not a cream at all. It’s a mist and a mixture of 20 moisturizing oils and soothing skin conditioners. And, as an added bonus, shaving with Zipp Mist will save you time; you’ll be able to complete the morning ritual of shaving in a minute or less. With Zipp Mist, you’ll get a clean, smooth and comfortable shave every time. Nothing else comes close.

0
418def3e1087e5d77429e0d24ad719dd

on October 03, 2014
at 01:12 PM

I know the topic is a bit older but I've had this huge problem as well for many years. I've tried everything and it was driving me nuts!

I've read so much about it and read some many reviews of electric shavers and finally found it! I've bought the Braun 790cc and it's very good! I've heard that there is even a newer model out but the 790cc is great.

Hope this info can still help some others, although the topic is a bit older.

Alex.

0
5a70e71e70670df7ac511d7c434c2e13

on February 24, 2014
at 05:58 PM

I had the same issue, but this is what works for me: Start off with extremely hot water. Keep splashing it on until your skin is really soft. After you've shaved, do the hot water again. And then cold water. Most important, every night before bed splash your cheeks and neck with really hot and then really cold water. And in the morning too, whether you're shaving or not. Hope it works for you too!

0
93106dd313a09b3cd94d40f639ae562f

on February 23, 2014
at 04:39 PM

Yes, I have sensitive skin too. During last four years I did not notice any significant change in the quality of the shave, picking and burning that came from shaving certain facial sections, especially around the neck area. I have tried many shavers, here is the best one n I wrote a review. Hope this helps: .my electric shaver for sensitive skin

0
93106dd313a09b3cd94d40f639ae562f

on February 23, 2014
at 04:38 PM

yes, I have sensitive skin too. During last four years I did not notice any significant change in the quality of the shave, picking and burning that came from shaving certain facial sections, especially around the neck area. I have tried many shavers, here is the best one n I wrote a review. Hope this helps: my electric shaver for sensitive skin

0
958af73f5155d8533c53cd0a726ce2a1

on August 09, 2013
at 06:32 AM

I agree with Erik of Rockford (can't reply). I have to agree about the benefits of ditching close-shaves altogether and opting for beard/hair clippers. When I worked as a waiter they forced me to shave and without fail those red dots under the chin would return when I returned to work from holidays.

I've only shaved close once in the past 2.5 years and that was the only time I had those red dots re-appear.

Negatives: If you grow hair sparsely like myself you're freshly shaved beard may resemble that just woken-up look and some work-places frown upon this (screw 'em...:)).

Positives: I could be wrong but I believe your skin becomes softer and more "youthful" in appearance over time. This is probably due to a reduction in the constant exfoliation and irritation combined with the sun-blocking capabilities of hair. They grey hairs are still there though so you get some nice contrast.

0
5427809c627f068d62aca3eda9bb5599

on July 13, 2013
at 11:31 PM

I tried out several products and techniques to balance my sensitive skin. Check out my article and read my tips on how to shave sensitive skin

0
6e7fd5e6b6bac84f326183c76e96b370

(298)

on May 15, 2013
at 07:10 AM

Very nice razor, and Noxema, cooling soothing and much gentler.

0
048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

on May 15, 2013
at 04:58 AM

It depends a lot on your shaving standards, I had the same problem, but fortunately I like to have short 2-day beard so I found the perfect solution for me: to get it done with the hair trimmer integrated in the electric shaver. It's fast and won't irritate your skin, win-win to me :)

0
5a7039032a8e92655dc372f858366805

on May 15, 2013
at 04:38 AM

I've had some success with non-comedogenic shaving oil, but still had razor burn afterwards. I also have really sensitive skin, get razor burn, then would break out and have several ingrown hairs. viscous cycle. what I've been using lately is a double blade razor, but using sunburn relief gel (with lidocane in it) as the shave gel. it works FANTASTIC. zero razor burn afterwards and my skin is noticeably healthier looking with almost no redness.

0
Medium avatar

(137)

on April 08, 2013
at 07:44 PM

I switched to shaving while taking a bath/shower. I find that my skin needs to be really wet before I even /consider/ putting a blade near it. I used to have frequent breakouts of folliculitis and it was very annoying. I switched to a different type of shaving cream and I made sure to wet my face for at least 5 minutes before shaving.

So far, so good.

0
309e2acb043a8c9710baef3b0218e45c

on April 08, 2013
at 06:29 PM

From my experience you can't go wrong with braun products, especially shaving products. I've got a braun series 5 and I've had it for about a year and it still works like it's brand new. I found this site http://www.squidoo.com/best-men-s-electric-shaver-razor-best-electric-shaver-for-men that gives some reviews and ideas for different brands. I think some people can get away with the cheap $20 or $30 electric razors but my facial hair is thick and my face is sensitive so I needed something that was high quality. Braun all the way.

0
5b0f25610421dc54a8373e7d3e4a0f94

on April 08, 2012
at 07:16 PM

Justin Owings sums it up well here, with a good dose of humor. I have been "cream free" for a year, and seriously never had more success with the old daily "blade on the face" routine!

http://www.justinowings.com/on-shaving-shaving-cream-and-razors/

0
2f931662684a7747be36255c8b486228

(1049)

on January 11, 2012
at 01:23 AM

I don't know anything about shaving techniques, but I understand skin.

I'd dump all those store bought creams asap!! especially if you are sensitive.

Try aloe vera gel. Works for my hubby (when he gets around to shaving). Also works to calm the skin from just about any other irritant.

Odd how many suggest warm, whilst aloe vera cools. Hair is in its weakest state when it is plain old wet. Is warm really necessary? Won't calm the skin.

I've read that warm softens whiskers, which causes the blade to SLIDE OVER them as opposed to CUTTING them.

0
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 10, 2012
at 07:37 PM

I always shave after a hot shower....softens up the hair. I do this daily and don't us anything but a razor. No shaving cream or aftershave. Guess I probably don't have very sensitive skin, but I would recommend the shower first part as I could not shave the way I do without the shower first.

0
1ab7ccb9520dddd0777db88e74ca0bed

on January 10, 2012
at 07:01 PM

This could be anecdotal, but I'll share my experience. I used to wash my face twice a day with salyilic acid-based cleaner. I'd have a small acne breakout every other week or so. Wasn't bad by any means, but still annoying since I thought I was doing the right thing. Anyways before shaving I'd usually take a hot shower, apply some Gillete shaving cream, and start shaving with warm water. After the shave, I'd clean with hot water first and then cold water and then pat dry. A majority of the time, I'd get pretty bad razor burn.

About several weeks ago, I stopped using anything besides water to clean by face. I also started shaving without shaving cream. It's actually more painful than without shaving cream, but I haven't had razor burn since. I recommend trying it out.

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