How to avoid getting razor burn

Learning how to avoid getting razor burn is the key to not having a face and neck full of red bumps

© Andrew Dyerlicence

Shaving is one of the best ways to rejuvenate your skin, and a nice, smooth shave can leave your face feeling soft and supple. If done the right way, you will feel great, but if you use the wrong technique and the wrong products you will risk suffering from a problem that most men run into at some point — the dreaded razor burn.

Razor burn looks like a rash, and can be both unsightly and irritating. It occurs when you exert more force on your skin than it is used to, commonly occurring when you push or pull too much or too quickly with your razor. This can be caused by a few things: a blunt razor, poor-quality shaving product, or incorrect shaving technique, to name a few.

The simple matter is that really you should not be suffering from razor burn at all, as it is so easy to prevent with the right products and shave routine. We’ve decided to help you out with a guide to how you can effectively prevent razor burn when you shave.


The first thing you need to ensure before you shave is that your beard area is sufficiently softened. One of the best ways to do so is to shave straight after you have come out of a hot bath or shower. The warmth from the water coupled with the steam will relax the pores on your face, allowing for maximal blade contact with each hair. This helps you to shave using less strokes, minimising the force you have to use to shave one particular area. Your facial hair will also absorb the water from your bath or shower, making each stand thicker, softer, and easier to cut.

Make sure that you are aren’t using a dull or poor-quality razor, as they are a lot less effective at trimming hairs at the first attempt. The effect that using a blunt razor will have on your face is similar to attempting to peel a vegetable with an unsharpened knife — the blade will not cut the hair and will end up trapping and pulling it, causing your skin more stress than simply slicing through the hair would. If you don’t have a sharp, high-quality razor at hand, you can extend the lifespan of cheaper, disposable razors using the widely-renowned ‘blue jeans method’, which is explained in detail in this instructional guide from Instructables.

During the shave

One of the most important products that you will use when shaving is a cream, gel, foam or oil that will act as a lubricant —keeping your shave as smooth as possible. While many cheaper solutions will perform this task adequately, premium products often have extra additives, such as moisturisers, that can both improve the experience and protect your skin to a higher degree. If you have particularly sensitive skin areas or want to trim your facial hair into a style, you will be better off opting for a clear lubricant like shaving oil. High quality products, like those from King of Shaves, will not only allow you to see exactly where you are shaving, but will also help to minimise your chances of suffering from razor burn.

You also need to make sure that you practice a good shaving technique, as poor technique is one of the leading causes of razor burn. Always shave with the grain of your facial hair — being careful to follow the direction of hair growth. You may be tempted to shave against the grain for a closer shave, but this increases the likelihood of skin irritation. Try and keep the strokes of the blade short and quick, as this will decrease the amount of pressure you exert on your skin. Bluebeards has a helpful video that can give you an insight into developing perfect shaving form.


One of the most important treatments you should undertake after finishing your shave is to moisturise your beard area. As shaving is a great exfoliator and will remove a lot of dead skin, it is important to soothe and cool your skin, paying particular attention to any raw patches that may develop into razor burn. A good moisturiser will do exactly this, as well as replacing the moisture lost in the shave — invest in a premium product and your skin will thank you later. The Gentleman’s Journal has put together a list of their five favourite moisturisers that can keep your skin fresh and healthy.

If you follow our essential advice, you will severely minimise the risk of suffering from razor burn. You only get one face, so make sure that you take the best care of it.