I hate razor burn. There is nothing worse than pausing in the middle of the day and realising that one can still feel a faint irritation from the morning’s shave. So I have been experimenting with ways to minimise the burn. Here is what works well for me. I note that my skin is very sensitive, but otherwise my face is easy to shave: smooth skin and a moderate beard.
1. Shower with hot water and wash face with a neutral, high-lipid-content soap.
2. Use a fine shaving cream with good moisturising and lubricating properties, and make a big, warm lather. I have read a lot of theorising about creams, soaps and lathers, but a most of it is unconvincing. My bottom line is: water softens hairs and makes them easier to cut, lubrication keeps the blade from scraping too much skin. My favourites are: Trumpers Almond (which I have used for many years), and a recent mixture of Nancy Boy Cucumber (excellent lubrication) and AOS Unscented (for the moisture).
3. Leave the lather on for 30 seconds or so. Close your eyes and concentrate of your face. If you can feel even the faintest tingling or stinging, throw your cream/soap away.
4. Keep the lather warm by using a scuttle.
5. Use a very sharp blade (preferably a Feather) and a mild razor (e.g., a Tech, a President, a #66). Use minimum pressure, hardly any, “gravity plus”. The sharp blade makes it unnecessary to apply pressure, and that is what creates burn. On the final pass, do only those areas that really need it. Forget “blade buffing” – it’s guaranteed burn. And do not Fear the Feather. If you have smooth skin and good technique, you will never bleed.
6. After the final pass, rinse off ALL of the lather with warm water, and IMMEDIATELY apply a liberal amount of fine unscented moisturiser (I use a French high-end product called Toleriane). Only then begin clean up of gear. Don’t put anything more on top of the moisturiser. That’s it.
7. Avoid all essential oils, perfumes, fancy chemicals. They really irritate freshly-shaved skin. That means no elaborately-scented creams, no witch hazel, no eau de Cologne, Aqua Velva or the Great Smell of Brut, no phoney-baloney Eton/Cambridge/Jermyn Street concoctions, none of that girly-smelly stuff, period. A woman should smell like a woman, a dog should smell like a dog, a man shouldn’t smell like anything.