General Question

noservice's avatar

Ways of making regular shaves less painful?

Asked by noservice (330 points ) February 27th, 2014

My facial hair grows really fast, and thick. My five o’clock shadow is sometimes called my five o’clock stubble. I prefer looking clean cut, but shaving daily or even every other day can be excruciating due to sensitive skin.

So what are some tips to minimize pain for regular shaves? How often should I even be shaving, really? I normally use a three-blade razor, but I also bought an electric one because it came recommended. My parents also gave me a five-blade razor that I’m using right now. I shave about twice a week in the shower with hot running water.

Some things I’m told to do, but neglect anyway:
-Shave with the grain, not against it

It’s really hard not to. If I don’t shave against the grain, I don’t get much of a shave (again, because my hair grows so fast). However, if it means looking smooth consistently rather than twice a week, I’d reconsider it.

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27 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

Do you use shaving cream? I didn’t for the longest time, it makes a fairly considerable difference actually.

Still annoying to have to do though, it takes up time and I don’t feel like it, then i leave it and it gets worse lol, and it takes up even more time.

JLeslie's avatar

Shave immediately after a warm shower. The razor must be sharp. If you tend to use razors for weeks then you probably are waiting too long to open up a new razor. Dull razors pull/drag on the hairs and skin. Use a sensitive shaving cream.

zenvelo's avatar

I have a thick beard also. This is what I have done since I was about twenty:

Shave after a hot shower. Shave daily. Make sure you have your face under the hot water of the shower just before you get out.

Use shaving soap and a shaving brush with the hottest water to come up with a lather. And just before you apply the soap, rinse your face with the hottest water you can stand. Then apply hot lather. Then shave with a sharp blade.

downtide's avatar

I have very dry and sensitive skin and I find shaving gels much less irritating than creams and foams.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Get a shaving cream with menthol, I use HeadBlade Headslick Mentholated Shave Cream.

Works great on the scalp on the top of the head, so it will for your chin.

downtide's avatar

@Tropical_Willie argh the mentholated ones are the ones that irritate me the most. I think I’m allergic to it – makes me feel like I’ve dipped my face in acid.

noservice's avatar

@XOIIO I do use shaving cream. It really does make a difference, but it’s normally the aftershock that sucks the most. My face will turn bright red and itch hideously. Thankfully, I have a good aftershave. However, I am now considering looking for something more effective. Maybe shaving soap or a good gel?

@JLeslie Yes, this is very true. I’m fairly frugal so I try to maximize the use out of my razors. So use it daily and replace it after about a week?

Is it okay that I prefer to shave against the grain of the hair? Is that generally a bad habit?

Lightlyseared's avatar

I’ve been shaving for over 30 years and have had problems since I was a teen, first from very severe acne and then from extremely dry and sensitive skin that was left over from the Accutane. In my 20’s I tried every new razor, shave gel etc going before I settled into a routine that works for me.

You could try looking at a double edge razor OK so they look a little old fashioned and it takes a little getting used to but I find they are much much less irritating than modern multi-blade razors. I personally find that the more blades a razor has the worse it leaves my skin. (As a bonus a pack of 10 double edge blades will cost you less than a single replacement cartridge for your current razor).

When you’re in the shower make sure you wash your face before you shave as this helps to soften up your beard and so you’ll need less force to shave. Less force means less irritation.

High quality shaving cream that you need to work into a lather and apply with a shaving brush also provides much better protection for the skin than the stuff that comes out of a can (even the expensive stuff that comes out of can). I use Geo Trumpers Rose, Violet or coconut oil. You could also try applying some shaving oil before you apply the shaving cream as this can help the blade run smoother.

If you need to shave against the grain then start by shaving with the grain then reapply shaving cream and shave against the grain. Don’t pass the razor over any area of skin that doesn’t have lather on. If you need to make another pass to apply more lather. At the moment I’ve been using a mainly a straight razor or double edge (depending on how much time I’ve got) and I can get a very close shave in 2 passes both going with the grain.

When you finished shaving rinse your face off with cold water and then gently pat dry (be carful not to rub) and then I always apply a moisturiser. I avoid applying aftershave as rubbing alcohol into freshly cut skin will always leave it red and sore.

1TubeGuru's avatar

I grow a tough beard fast. i take a hot shower and use a quadruple blade razor with shaving gel for sensitive skin. i usually shave every day.

Cruiser's avatar

I have super sensitive skin and like @downtide I prefer the shaving gels. I shave usually after I shower and apply a light coat of an after shower bath oil to my face. I have also found like @zenvelo that I use a shaving brush to apply the shave gel and it get a real good lather that way. The biggest difference for me though is the angle of the razor to the face…try adjusting the angle of the blade to your face and you should notice a big difference in the pull or drag of the razor blade and the least amount of pressure you exert the less irritating the shave.

I gave up on baby smooth shaves as the extra effort to get that only guaranteed that I feel a razor burn. I have tried after shaves and they do work I just don’t like the fragrance of them and the oil does a good enough job anyway.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Shaving after a hot shower helps immensely IMO.

BTW if you’re looking for a constant supply of cheap/good razors check out dollar shave club . I go for the $6 ones myself, but ya really can’t beat 4 high quality razors a month for 6 dollars.

Before I heard about this site I tended to use my razors way longer than I should have because they’re just so bloody expensive. Having a nice sharp razor all the time makes a world of difference.

JLeslie's avatar

@noservice I think it varies for people depending on their beard. Get some new razors and try the suggestions of warm/hot shower and change your razor every two weeks for a month and see if things get much better. If they do then you know the formula and then you can see how long you really can use a razor. You can go a little longer and see if you start having problems again and then figure out about how long the razor lasts and also narrow down that it is the razor if it is indeed the razor. Trial and error. If you rty a few different razors you still need to test them with the idealmsituation of not letting them get dull while you give them a test run. Using the dull razor leaves you open to also getting folicultis (minor infection in the hair follicle) because if the drag and tears in the skin that are possible. That can be anything from minor rash to a full blown rash.

noservice's avatar

Thanks, everyone. I’m gonna hit the shower and shave now.

josie's avatar

Wash your face with soap and hot water. Hold a wet wash cloth against your beard with water as hot as you can stand it. Do it some more. Put on shaving cream.
Multiple blade razors are a waste of money. They are a marketing trick to get you to spend a ridiculous amount on the little cartridges.
The best razor on earth is the old fashioned thing with the square top that you screw a thin double sided blade into. I have an old one that was in my dad’s stuff when he died. The blades are cheap. Does a much better job.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Ugh, what a hassle. No wonder my husband had no problem keeping permanent stubble after I told him I didn’t like kissing a guy with a smoother face than mine. I’d just trim it down to that sexy five o’clock shadow look and ditch the razor.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I just grew my beard. When I did shave I used a premium straight razor and Dr. Dittmar shaving soap.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I stopped having problems when I went with an electric shaver. I have not used a razor in over a decade.

Pachy's avatar

Over many years I tried every razor, both electric and non, and every type of shave cream on the market. No luck solving the problems you list. Then, about 7 years ago I found the magic combination: Jack Black Beard Lube Conditioning Shave and a Gillette Fusion Power razor. It’s not the cheapest way to go but it’s the only one I’ve found that works. I’ve used both products for years.

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Incoherency_'s avatar

Have you tried an aftershave that contains aloe vera?

johnpowell's avatar

You could always try a fogless mirror and shave in the shower. I had a friend that was in a similar boat and he said shaving in the shower made a pretty big difference compared to shaving a few minutes out of the shower.

I have heard but never tried putting a bit of shaving cream on the mirror will prevent fogging so you could save a few bucks and use a normal mirror.

WestRiverrat's avatar

You could also try using the pre shave oils that are becoming more readily available than when I still shaved.

cazzie's avatar

I make a kick-ass shaving soap. I’ll post you a bar if you PM me. Invest in a decent brush. Make sure your razors are sharp. When your beard is thick and grows fast, all the more reason to shave every day and not just twice a week. Forget the menthol creams. That stuff is cray-cray.

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arronflem's avatar

How about shaving oil? I mean, oils protect your skin much better than a gel or foam. And also try to use electric shavers, they will irritate your skin much less that the regular ones.

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