Start with Skincare
As you might expect, healthy skin starts with a good skincare regimen. A daily face wash with pore-purging extracts, like Blind Barber's Facial Cleanser, will help kill bacteria that can cause persistent razor burn. Regular exfoliation will also help, clearing away dead cells and grime that can clog up pores after shaving.
Know the Value of Preshave Preparation
Both razor burn and nicks can be kept at bay by ensuring proper razor glide. (Smoother strokes mean less chance of irritation.) To get the cleanest cut, shave after a hot shower to soften up hairs, and apply a preshave oil to further soften scruff while lubricating your razor blade.
Don't Skimp on the Shave Cream
Not all shave creams are created equal, so you'll want to choose wisely. Any formula with aloe will help reduce irritation, but to pull out all the stops, you'll want to find a shave cream that's designed to cushion: Billy Jealousy's Super Slick Shave Cream features micro-silicone beads that offer an extra layer of protection between your skin and the blade.
Pick the Razor That's Right For You
Depending on your shaving woes, the type of razor you use can either help or hinder. If you suffer from nicks and cuts, you'll want a razor with multiple blades and a soft, flexible neck, like Harry's Truman Razor. However, multiple blades can also cause irritation, so if your skin is more sensitive and subject to razor burn, you'll want fewer blades running across your facewhich means a classic safety razor.
Maintain Your Blade
Once you've found your weapon of choice, you'll want to keep it in form. To kill off any bacteria (a common cause of razor burn), soak the head in alcohol after each shave. You'll also want to keep it sharp: This means swapping out blades on the regular, but you can also sharpen a multi-blade razor with a standard pair of jeans.
Refine Your Shaving Technique
If there's one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: When shaving, limit yourself to short, gentle strokes, letting the weight of the razor do the workthe longer the stroke, the more likely you are to apply excess pressure. Try to shave with the fewest strokes possible, and always reapply shave cream if you take a second pass.
Upgrade Your Aftershave
If you don't do this already, avoid alcohol-based splashes; though they serve as antiseptics, they also dry out skin. Instead, try a hydrating lotion with the right ingredient roster: Aloe, witch hazel, allantoin, and willow bark all help with irritation and redness, while rosemary and tea tree oil are great for fighting bacteria. For best effect, find a formula that features several of the items above, like Baxter of California's After Shave Balm.
Always Be Prepared
No matter how many precautions you take, mishaps still occur. If you suffer from a bad case of razor burn, keep an aftershave handy that's specialized for healing, like Harry's Post-Shave Balm. If you've nicked yourself, don't reach for a tissue: You can seal the wound and stop the bleeding with a small dab of lip balm.
Copywriter, cold brew advocate, purveyor of handcrafted birthday haikus since 2009.