Razor bumps and how to avoid them

Razor bumps (pseudofolliculitis barbae), or razor burn, are small bumps in the skin that can occur after shaving. They look look like pimples. With good shaving technique and products you can avoid razor bumps.

1. Multi-blade razors can shave below skin level.

Multi-blade razors can “lift” up the hair before cutting it off. This causes the hair to be cut under the skin. When the hair then grows back, it can get stuck under the skin, leading to a razor bump. The hair must be cut evenly with the skin to prevent this from happening. A safety razor with only one, but sharp blade cuts the hair level with the skin.

2. Coarse hair growth gets stuck easier between the blades.

Coarse hair are more likely to get stuck between the blades of a multi-blade razor. This causes the razor to eventually pull the hair out of the skin causing irritation and swelling. Using a sharp safety razor with only one blade avoids this.

3. Applying to much pressure.

Multi-blade razors are often made of plastic which makes them very lightweight. Therefore, you must apply unnecessary pressure to the skin during shaving. Multi-blade users experience this as the razor pulling and tugging on hair instead of cleanly cutting it off. The safety razor is made of steel and has a comfortable weight, which means that you only need to apply a minimum pressure and let the razor “do the job”.

4. Using the same razor blade for too long of a time.

We recommend not using the same blade blade for more than 3-5 shaves. After that, they lose their sharpness and instead start to pull and tug instead of cutting the hair whiskers off clean. A multi-blade cartridge can cost as much as £5 per cartridge. Due to the high price, many choose to wait a lot longer before switching to a fresher razor blade.

5. Electric trimmers.

Even electrical trimmers can cause skin irritation and swelling. Plus, it’s almost impossible to get a close shave with trimmers because the skin is not moisturised and softened before shaving. Also, keep in mind that the trimmer must be thoroughly cleaned after each shave so that no bacteria accumulate that can infect the skin.

6. Never shave against the grain.

Admittedly, you get a close shave, but at the same time the risk of razor bumps and irritation increases as the hairline is cut inside the skin. Always shave with the grain. You may also try to shave across the grain (after first shaving with the grain) if you do not have too sensitive skin.

7. Poor preparation.

We recommend that you shower (warm) before shaving. It softens the skin and hair and opens up the pores. Use a shaving brush. The shaving brush exfoliates the skin and cleans out dead skin cells that can cause inward growth hair.

8. Use good products.

Look for shaving creams and aftershaves that contains anti-inflammatory ingredients. The skin and body reacts to a razor bumps the same way it reacts to an inflammation. For example, if you use a shaving cream with anti-inflammatory ingredients, the cream helps to prevent skin inflammation. The razor bumps become less visible than if you would have shaved without using an anti-inflammatory shaving cream and after shave. Completely skip using shaving cream on can. They contain chemical propellants that are dehydrating to the skin.

Read our shaving guide to make sure you are shaving with correct technique.