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  1. #1
    Basenotes Member tcmquincy's Avatar
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    Default razor burn/ingrown hairs

    Hey guys. I have really bad razor burn on most days, with lots of acne and ingrown hairs on my neck (where I shave my neck, below my adams apple).

    Can you guys share your tips for minimizing shaving related redness/acne/ingrown hairs? I've had this issue for a while now and it hasn't gotten any better (some days it looks really bad). I use shave oil, a mach 3, and a good gel aftershave. Thanks
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  2. #2

    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    Not a guy, but glycolic acid gel/lotion (I use Alpha Skincare brand) has been a godsend. It exfoliates chemically so that the clogs break up. I use it at night. If you use it during the day, you should put sunscreen on top. In fact, you should probably wear sunscreen the next day if you used it at night, too. It increases your risk of sunburn.

    You can also try Dr. Carver’s Miracle Repair Serum for a daily aftershave and my SO and I have gone through several bottles of that with good results.

    Also good are Stridex pads in the red box. But that’s salycilic acid, so moisturize after. (And sunscreen.)

    TL;DR:

    Try a gentle acid exfoliant.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    Some ideas how to avoid/minimize razor burn:

    "6 Reasons Why You're Getting Razor Burn (and How to Stop it)

    Do you ever want to go completely shaven but don’t because of razor burn? If so, you’re not alone. Razor burn is something that affects a number of men. Sometimes it’s the texture of your hair that’s causing those unwanted bumps, and in other cases, guys get razor burn from poor shaving techniques. Either way, having irritated, bumpy skin is not only unflattering, it’s also uncomfortable.

    Here are some reasons why your razor is irritating your skin, as well as various ways to prevent it from happening in the future.

    Reason: You’re shaving with a dull razor

    Even if you use the best razor on the market, the act of shaving can still put unwanted stress on your skin. But when you throw a dull razor into the mix, you end up giving your skin the harshest treatment possible. That’s because dull razors don’t shave nearly as effectively as they should. What you would normally achieve in one gentle stroke now requires three or four strokes, and that adds excessive stress on your face. Have you ever shaved with a dull or cheap razor and felt like your face was just a little sore? It’s because taking those extra strokes caused micro-abrasions in your skin. Over time, these tiny abrasions can become irritated or infected, causing your skin to develop razor burn in the form of rashes and bumps.

    Solution: Stop shaving with cheap razors. Ideally, you don’t want to ever shave with one of those dollar store disposable razors. But if you have to, then never use it more than once.

    You should also pay attention to how effective your razor is working while you shave. If you find yourself going over the same area in hopes of getting those stubborn hairs, your razor is probably past its expiration date.

    Reason: Your razor is dirty

    Regardless of where you’re shaving on your body, hygiene should be your topmost priority. And shaving with a dirty razor is about unhygienic as you can get when it comes to grooming. Every time you drag that razor blade across your face, you’re transmitting bacteria from the blade onto your skin. If you happen to nick yourself, those bacteria can get into the cut and cause further irritation or infections.

    Solution: There’s really no way you can stop bacteria from forming on your razor blade, but you can limit how dirty it gets by storing it in dry space with plenty of ventilation. Moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria, and keeping your razor dry helps to prevent bacteria from building up on your blades. So think twice before you leave your razor on that wet sink or toss it into a toiletry bag.

    Once your razor has dried out, you want to put it back in the plastic blade cover it came in. This also helps protect your razor from rust and bacteria. Also, make sure to change blades after seven or eight shaves.

    Reason: You’re shaving dirty skin

    Your skin carries all of the oil, dirt, and grime that you’ve accumulated throughout the day. If you don’t wash your face before you shave, you’re placing your skin at risk of becoming infected. Moreover, all of this buildup can actually cause unnecessary friction, making it harder for the razor to work effectively.

    Solution: Wash your face before you shave and never try to shave on dry skin.

    Reason: Your hair texture is causing it

    Do you have curly, coarse hair? If so, your hair texture could be part of the reason you experience razor burn. Sometimes curly hair doesn’t grow completely outward like straight hair does. Instead, it loops back and grows inside the skin, never fully breaking the surface. This causes ingrown hairs to form, which explains for all the bumps that you may experience after shaving.

    Researchers have found that approximately 50% of African Americans experience this at some level.

    Solution: In clinical trials, topical ointments containing glycolic acid were seen to be effective at removing any bumps and rashes caused by ingrown hair, and there are a number of over-the-counter products designed for treating razor burn that contains this substance. But what about preventing it from happening in the future?

    There are a number of different products on the market that are designed to prevent this from happening. Simply apply a hot washcloth to your face for a few minutes, use the pre-shave solution, and then shave normally. Don’t forget to use shaving cream after you use the solution. But if that doesn’t work, you might want to consider switching to an electric razor.

    Reason: You have dry skin

    Taking a razor to dry skin will only exacerbate the dryness symptoms that you’re already experiencing. This can leave you with an itchy, red-colored patch of skin that’s as uncomfortable as it is unflattering.

    Solution: Buy moisturizer for your face (or body, depending on what you’re shaving) and apply it regularly. Even when you take shaving out of the equation, dry skin is something that you want to avoid.

    Reason: You’re shaving against the grain

    Did you ever finish shaving only to feel like your entire face was on fire? If so, you probably shaved against the grain. In other words, you were pulling your razor in the direction opposite of how the hair grows. Shaving against the grain creates unnecessary friction and stress as each swipe of the razor roughly pulls your hair, leaving you with a sensitive, red patch of irritated skin.

    Solution: Take your time and shave gently, with the direction your hair grows.

    Getting a Comfortable Shave Every Time

    The best way to reduce razor burn is to take your time and not rush through the process. You are dragging an incredibly sharp metal object across your skin, after all. You might also want to look into some of the premium razors sold at men’s stores and specialty shops. While the initial cost of these razors can range anywhere from $50 to $100 dollars, they’re known to give a better shave provided you change the blades frequently."


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  4. #4
    Dependent RichMan'sOldSpice's Avatar
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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    Quote Originally Posted by tcmquincy View Post
    Hey guys. I have really bad razor burn on most days, with lots of acne and ingrown hairs on my neck (where I shave my neck, below my adams apple).

    Can you guys share your tips for minimizing shaving related redness/acne/ingrown hairs? I've had this issue for a while now and it hasn't gotten any better (some days it looks really bad). I use shave oil, a mach 3, and a good gel aftershave. Thanks
    As the previous poster advised it is best to shave "with the grain" to avoid ingrown hairs etc. Most likely the facial hair from the top of your cheek to your neck grows downward (usually does I believe). Below the adams apple your hair may grow in a more upward direction. See if you can let the area below the adams apple go for a couple days and then if you want to shave that area just make sure you are shaving with the grain, in the general direction those hairs grow. Hope this helps.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    I have quite sensitive skin on my neck so I stopped shaving it and I trim it instead.
    If I were you, I'd do the same at least for some time to let your skin heal. Then you can try different advises to see if it works for you.
    P.S. Buy yourself a trimmer with a really small footprint for this purpose.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    For the skincare part, I second Kotori. AHA acids, like glycolic acid or lactic acid, lightly exfoliate and so help to prevent ingrown hair and remove debris that could cause irritation. Salicylic acid instead help clean the pores, so for instance one could use a face wash containing salicylic. There are now several such products, usually found near the acne area of drugstores.

    cacio

  7. #7

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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    I find Mach 3 quite harsh, compared to Fusion (others disagree) - try the cheapest Fusion cartridge.
    Instread of shave oil, try any of Trumpers cream, Art of Shaving Cream, or Crabtree & Evelyn cream - these are among the slickest creams I know.

    Before applying that aftershave gel, first apply alum - either from an alum block, or from the much cheaper crystal alum "natural" deodorant sticks. The alum seals up micro nicks - you'll know you have micro-nicks by the little stings. The alum also helps you gauge how well your razor/shave cream or soap combination is doing. Less stings means a better shave with less chance of razor burn/ingrown hairs.

    Second best thing for sealing up micro-nicks is witch hazel, but it doesn't sting - so you get no feedback on how well you are shaving.
    Regards,
    Renato
    Last edited by Renato; 16th April 2019 at 01:44 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    Shave after a shower, it opens your pores and makes your facial hair softer. I prefer shaving cream to the gel. Straight Barbesol With Aloe. Slather the shaving cream on. You should look like santa claus. Never ever go even 1 millimeter off of the shaving creamed area. If you want the closeness of an against the grain shave, go with the grain first, re-lather, and repeat against. Rinse the excess shaving cream off with water, and then dry your face. Last, all those foofy poofy aftershave lotions leave me with red itchy neckburn. So finish it off and use a traditional alchohol based, fire on the face, aftershave. My favorites right now are Brut and Aqua Velva Musk. If those scents are not to your liking there are others like Old Spice and many Gillette versions. Don't skimp, this stuff is cheap and the smell will dissipate before you leave the house. Anywhere your blade has touched needs to be thoroughly doused in alcohol. Also, it might be time to try a different razor. Like Renato above, I prefer the Fusion. Make sure to shave every day if your beard is thick, every other day if it is not.

    edit* Just want to mention that if I don't use aftershave the spot where my beard meets my neck will get razorburn every single time, and I battled this, so I understand exactly what you are saying. Just use the old fashioned splash aftershave.
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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    For me, it was switching from multi-blade cartridge razors to single-bladed, 'old fashioned' razors which helped me most. With this does come a learning curve, but is worth the time and effort spent. Very little pressure is required, use of a slick cream/soap with a brush to do some of the 'exfoliating' and mapping the beard growth. That is, determining which direction the hair grows and shaving in the same direction, just as you'd sand wood with the grain. Sure, you might not get as close a shave until you start experimenting with 'against the grain' and 'across the grain', but the likelihood of ingrowns for me has significantly reduced.

    Similarly, use an exfoliant on the days off from shaving. This will help stop the hairs from trying to grow under the uppermost layers of skin.

    The old-school razors come with the benefit of cheap(er) blades. You can swap them out more regularly and ensure you're cutting the hair with a clean, sharp surface which also helps reduce the amount of untoward pressure used and thus reduces likelihood of ingrowns.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Benz3ne View Post
    For me, it was switching from multi-blade cartridge razors to single-bladed, 'old fashioned' razors which helped me most. With this does come a learning curve, but is worth the time and effort spent. Very little pressure is required, use of a slick cream/soap with a brush to do some of the 'exfoliating' and mapping the beard growth. That is, determining which direction the hair grows and shaving in the same direction, just as you'd sand wood with the grain. Sure, you might not get as close a shave until you start experimenting with 'against the grain' and 'across the grain', but the likelihood of ingrowns for me has significantly reduced.

    Similarly, use an exfoliant on the days off from shaving. This will help stop the hairs from trying to grow under the uppermost layers of skin.

    The old-school razors come with the benefit of cheap(er) blades. You can swap them out more regularly and ensure you're cutting the hair with a clean, sharp surface which also helps reduce the amount of untoward pressure used and thus reduces likelihood of ingrowns.
    ^^^This. I've been exclusively using double-edge safety razors or straight razors (when I have the time) for years, with the best shaves I've ever had. There's definitely a learning curve (especially with straight razors), but it's worth it IMO. To go with them, a good shave cream or shaving soap applied with a shaving brush works best. You can change out the blades on the safety razors very easily and inexpensively.

    The only time I'll use anything else is when travelling. In this case, I'll bring a disposable, to make getting through airport security faster and easier. Most times I travel only with a carry-on, so whatever I'm bringing has to get through security.

  11. #11

    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    If you have the benefit of not needing to shave for work, the first thing I would suggest is don’t shave. For a while anyway.

    Give your face a good two weeks of not putting a blade to it to allow any redness or irritation to calm down. Also give all the hairs a chance to grow longer which will also mean that when you do shave, the hairs will cut easier and leave you with smoother happier and comfortable skin and an easier task overall.

    Don’t underestimate the benefit of good tools here either. I can’t stress this point enough. I found disposable plastic razors and multiblade cartridges to be the worst as they will tug the hairs too and won’t give a clean comfortable cut resulting in ingrowing hairs. That lack of cut is also why they put that lube strip along the blade.

    The biggest change I found was when I started using a double edged (DE) safety razor. Razor burn reduced to almost nil overnight. One of the key factors was the reduction in sweeps compared to the repeated dragging of a multiblade across my Chavy Chase. Invest in a quality DE safety razor. It doesn’t have to be expensive and companies like Edwin Jagger, Merkur and Muhle make quality low cost razors that fit the bill.

    Also the blades are extremely important and can be picked up for pennies - check out Feather, Derby and Astra. If you are concerned about bacteria on blades replace them after every shave. Next a bowl, a brush and my personal preference is a quality shaving cream. Something like Taylors, Trumpers etc. I’ve personally found my skin responds best to the creams instead of shave soaps because they don’t dry my skin out, but experiment until you find what works for you.

    Make sure your face is extremely wet and quite hot, preferably straight out of a shower before attempting to shave and I would suggest that you don’t shave against the grain. If you clear the shaving cream from your face with a razor, DO NOT go over it again unless you have reapplied more cream.

    I don’t personally bother with pre-shaves but I do use a moisturising post-shave balm.

    I used to get ingrowing hairs and razor burn. Not any more. Stick to these tips and you will drastically reduce, maybe entirely eliminate ingrowing hairs / razor burn and irritation.

    Good luck,

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheik Yerbouti View Post
    ...
    Have to say I never thought we had so many wet shavers on Basenotes. I won't say anything else on top of what has already been said - those who posted before me gave advice that was very much spot on.

    I will say though (as I have done many times before) that I had serious problems with ingrowns - often I couldn't shave owing to the size of these things. Sometimes as big as hazelnuts - I kid you not! I got over the problem by using good quality products and a straight/DE (double edge) razor. I used the straight for a good 12 years before switching to a DE razor (Merkur from Germany) and Feather blades from Japan. The straight razors have a steep learning curve but shave very cleanly. The DEs are generally less fuss. I would recommend either - I haven't looked back at the multi blade cartridges since 2005.
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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    Quote Originally Posted by rum View Post
    ................. before switching to a DE razor (Merkur from Germany) and Feather blades from Japan. .
    Merkur razors are extremely good - providing one avoids the Bakelite and open comb models.
    Feather blades are fantastic - ultra sharp, yes somehow not as vicious as slightly less sharp blades.
    The other razor worth considering is the Feather Popular - very inexpensive, but surprisingly smooth with Feather blades.
    Cheers,
    Renato

  14. #14
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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato View Post
    Merkur razors are extremely good - providing one avoids the Bakelite and open comb models.
    Feather blades are fantastic - ultra sharp, yes somehow not as vicious as slightly less sharp blades.
    The other razor worth considering is the Feather Popular - very inexpensive, but surprisingly smooth with Feather blades.
    Cheers,
    Renato
    +1. The Merkurs, as Renato said, are very good and can be readily had for reasonable prices. If you decide to go down the wet shaving route, make sure you pick up a good quality shaving brush and shaving cream along with your razor and blades. Trumpers, Taylor of Old Bond Street, and Truefit & Hill are all good ones, that come in a variety of scents.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato View Post
    Merkur razors are extremely good - providing one avoids the Bakelite and open comb models.
    Feather blades are fantastic - ultra sharp, yes somehow not as vicious as slightly less sharp blades.
    The other razor worth considering is the Feather Popular - very inexpensive, but surprisingly smooth with Feather blades.
    Cheers,
    Renato
    Quote Originally Posted by swangner View Post
    +1. The Merkurs, as Renato said, are very good and can be readily had for reasonable prices. If you decide to go down the wet shaving route, make sure you pick up a good quality shaving brush and shaving cream along with your razor and blades. Trumpers, Taylor of Old Bond Street, and Truefit & Hill are all good ones, that come in a variety of scents.
    Thanks for your thoughts guys.

    I've had both Gillette vintages (Fat Boy slim) with the butterfly opening top and found it pathetically hard to clean so got rid of it.

    The Merkur is my only razor, it's adjustable (so that'll be the Progress I think???), but is an absolute joy to work with. With just two parts to it (well I'm sure the adjustable bit comes apart too but not tried it) it's very easy and quick to clean. It loads nicely with minimal fuss and shaves like a dream (obviously that depends on the blade). I can't see myself ever being without my set-up.

    My brushes are a Kent BK8 for home and a Simpson Duke 1 for travel. I mainly use Palmolive shave sticks if I can get them and more recently Tabac soap and Nivea for Men shaving cream (in the blue metal tube) followed by Nivea Sensitive after shave balm. Works a treat.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    To echo what some other folks have said here, if you have ingrown hairs the best thing you can do is just stop shaving for a while and give your skin time to recover.

    Alas, I haven't been able to get along with safety or cutthroat razors--I don't know that I have the patience for it, so it resulted in too many nicks and scratches--but I've developed a routine that has worked for me without resulting in much irritation. I only give myself a clean-face shave once every week and a half with a razor. In-between proper shaves I use the Norelco OneBlade to keep the stubble relatively clean and sharp-looking in the meantime.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    I'm a huge fan of exfoliants for the face. I also shave my face because of peach fuzz, although I have one of those spring-like tools to help pulls hairs out too. Shaving also helps my skincare products out and quite a number of women do it to help foundation and makeup go on smoother too. Dermaplanning is a $$$ version of this too.

    All that being said I found the following

    - cheap razors will cause massive amount of problems and damage on both the face and the legs. Buy a good one.
    - I shelled out money for a good shave cream. I like Anthony's and L'Occitane's line for men.
    - In a pinch I use cheap hair conditioner
    - AHA, BHA, and other chemical exfoliants help. I would check out Reddit's SkincareAddiction for people's favorite. https://www.reddit.com/r/wicked_edge...ortable_shave/
    - take a break on the weekend or longer if you can and let the skin heal
    - guys need to take care of the skin on their face too, you don't need to spend a fortune. See the above reddit link for other tips and hints.

    Good luck!
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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Brooks Otterlake View Post
    To echo what some other folks have said here, if you have ingrown hairs the best thing you can do is just stop shaving for a while and give your skin time to recover.
    .
    Alternatively, do something heretical while healing - like shave with a mild electric razor over the affected area for several days - though best to wash the affected area with harsh drying soap like Sapoderm, and let the skin dry well before using the electric razor.
    Regards,
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  19. #19

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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    I'm another fan of the Merkur DE safety razor and also use the Feather blades, changing them after every 3rd shave. A dull blade drags on the skin and creates irritation. I always make sure I'm not bearing down on the blade and pace myself. But sometimes I still get bad shave days - I guess it happens.

    Truefitt & Hill is my favorite right now for shave creams, especially the Almond. I've used many different shave creams from brands like D.R. Harris to Trumpers to Taylor of Old Bond St. and T&H seems to produce the nicest lather - dense and lubricating enough to allow for a close shave without necessarily using the pre-shave oil. The citrus T&H pre-shave oil is fantastic.

    I'm experimenting with Kiehl's after being pleased with some of their other grooming products. Sadly, I'm not able to enjoy the aftershave lotions/balms/splashes that often accompany fragrances in gift sets. Like rum, I've had success with Nivea Men Sensitive aftershave lotion and it's very reasonably priced. The cooling gel soothes the sting, especially if you have some micro-nicks and small cuts.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    I would try old-school methods: a double-edged razor and shaving cream after plenty of hot water. Obviously there are many good after shave treatments on the market and there it's a case of finding the one or few that work for you.

    A bit of a tangent, but I have now swapped over completely to double-edged razor shaving. The Merkur razor will outlive me, and from a pack of 10 Feather blades I get 50 shaves with hardly any plastic waste. The Bic disposables that I was using previously were not bad but I had two shaves from each razor (so 20 from a pack of 10) after which you immediately have a lot of plastic waste. The old style methods seem much more environmentally friendly, if that's important to you. It took me a while to master the double-edged technique, but now I've got it down there is more a sense of occasion to shaving and I feel much better when it's done.

    If you do ever use a double edged razor you'll realise that you don't have to press hard, rather use the weight of the metal. Perhaps forcing the issue is part of your problem. Good luck anyway.

  21. #21

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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyDG View Post
    .......... and also use the Feather blades, changing them after every 3rd shave. A dull blade drags on the skin and creates irritation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Funwithfrags View Post
    ...........and shaving cream after plenty of hot water. .................
    and from a pack of 10 Feather blades I get 50 shaves with hardly any plastic waste. .
    Interesting how we vary so much in everyday usage.
    For the very sharp blades, I find that they only become comfortable to use with less nicks, after using them for four days. I can then get a relatively close shave for the next week or two of using them.
    Some people actually get around that first four days of ultra-sharpness by corking the blade, that is, by running each edge through a piece of cork from a wine bottle.

    I guess it depends on where you are coming from.
    If you want as close a shave as you get from a three or five blade cartridge razor, you'll only get it in the first four days or so from a very sharp DE blade.
    But if you are happy not having the closest shave, but only having something as good as, or better than what one typically gets from an electric razor, one can then use a DE blade for several weeks.

    Beware of using water that is too hot on one's face. Capillaries burst and one can get permanent fine dark lines on one's cheeks.
    Regards,
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    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    I too have very sensitive skin and therefore changed to straight and DE razors many years ago.
    While exfoliating with acids can help, they are a double-edged sword, as VERY sensitive skin can have adverse reactions to those as well. Don't use too soon after a shave, you will basically rub acid onto fresh skin.

    I use these two Mühle DE razors, they are affordable and well crafted:

    Mühle R89 Grande - a good and mild DE razor, closed comb and very forgiving for a beginner trying to figure out the proper technique.

    Mühle R41 Grande - Not for beginners, it has an open comb and is incredibly aggressive, but this can be put to good use, when you have learned the technique. You can get a great shave with fewer passes, which means less irritation for sensitive skin. It is good for mowing down the beard, if you have let it grow for some time, as the open comb lets it take the longer hairs and keeps it from clogging up.

    I primarily use Feather blades, as they are the best I have found so far, though I have dabbled in Yellow Gillettes and Derbys.

    Figuring out how to get a good lather and the right amount to fit your shave can make a difference as well.

    Oh, and keep your tools clean!
    You don't want a dirty, bacteria-infested sharp tool cutting your skin.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: razor burn/ingrown hairs

    If I could summarize and add some of my thoughts :
    1. Take a few days break and let your skin heal.
    2. Invest in a decent wet shaving kit. You may look at Proraso kit to begin with. Includes a Preshave, shave cream, a post shave balm and a boar brush. Lot of beginners into wet shaving take this route.
    3. Invest in a DE razor or SE. If you are on any of the wet shaving forums, you may look for SE razors like ATT, Colonial or Blackland Vector. A DE razor like Razorock Gamechanger, ATT S1 or an adjustable like a REX AMBASSADOR could be a good pick.
    4. Study the grain pattern on your face and shave with the grain. No pressure at all.
    5. A witch Hazel toner will be helpful.

    Beware! It's another bottomless rabbit hole.


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