Avoiding Nicks and Burns

Woman looking at a razor

There’s nothing quite so frustrating as going through all the effort of a shave just to end up with razor burn and/or an assortment of little nicks and cuts on your skin. Shaving may be romanticized as a sophisticated ritual, but holding a tissue to your face or leg for an hour to stop bleeding because you accidentally cut yourself (and yes, it does sometimes happen to the best of us, no matter how much experience we have) doesn’t exactly live up to that hype. Not to mention that shaving accidents can wreak havoc on the skin and tend to be difficult to hide. So how can you avoid these nasty accidents? Stay tuned and we’ll give you a few pointers.

Reevaluate Skincare
The first step to managing shaving nicks and burns is good skincare. Regularly exfoliate to remove dead and dying skin cells and other buildup, which might otherwise clog pores after a shave. This also creates a more even surface for the razor to glide cleanly over. Also consider a facial wash containing salicylic acid, which not only helps fight and prevent acne, but might also keep you from getting nasty persistent razor burn (i.e. the kind that lingers for awhile due to bacteria, instead of healing quickly). A good moisturizer, besides just being a good idea regardless, will also help keep your skin healthy, smooth, and hydrated, which again, gives the razor a better surface to glide over cleanly and might also help your skin be more elastic and less prone to damage.

Use the Right Razor for You
Shaving is, to a degree, a fairly personal thing. Not every type of razor or shaving cream (or a non-foam shaving aid like shaving soap or shaving gel) is right for everyone. Cartridges with a lot of blades do actually reduce the risk of cutting yourself, but more blades can also be a bit more irritating. If you feel like nicks are the bigger problem, try a four or five blade razor. If razor burn is the worse issue, try a classic safety razor. If your needs are more middle-of-the-road, a two or three blade razor might be best. Experiment a bit and find what works best for you.

Preparation and Clean Up
Timing and prep are as important as anything else when it comes to ensuring a clean, injury-free shave. Try shaving right after you get out of the shower and towel-dry your face, and then apply a pre-shave oil before you have at it. Post-shave procedure is as important as pre-shave, because the state you leave things in affects your next shave. Always clean your blades properly, preferably with alcohol or something equally antiseptic. Change the blade often, or try running a multi-blade cartridge against your jeans to sharpen it a little and get more use out of it.

Technique
Use short, gentle strokes, and don’t turn the razor mid stroke; that’s a surefire recipe for cutting yourself. If you go for a second pass, re-apply your shaving cream/gel. Don’t press too hard either; let the weight of the razor do most of the work.

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