Oof! Argh! Ouch!
Cuts, razor burn, razor bumps…Shaving sensitive skin is no fun. And the threat of soreness, itching, dry skin, bleeding or even acne is almost enough to put you off shaving altogether.
But before you resign yourself to a life cocooned in a thick coat of fur, let us tell you how to avoid angering your sensitive skin and what kind of razor you need.
What causes sensitive skin?
Prevention is better than cure, so it’s well worth doing a bit of trial and error to try and eliminate the cause of your sensitive skin problem.
Your mental health is every bit as important as your physical health, and everyday stresses can sometimes be behind physical conditions. You may find de-stressing your mind de-stresses your skin too.
Age is more than a number
Different ages mean different hormonal happenings in your body. And these hormones affect how much natural oil your skin creates, making your shave more or less troublesome.
Well at least you smell nice…
Aftershaves and fragrances sometimes contain chemicals that irritate the skin. While other cosmetic products can block skin pores in your skin or interfere with the production of your skin’s natural oils.
Stop being so clean!
Believe it or not, having too many showers or baths can take crucial moisture away from your skin, by breaking down lipid barriers. It’s OK, you don’t need to know what lipid barriers are – just don’t sit in the bath all day long.
It all goes wrong at the mirror
Perhaps the main thing causing your sensitive skin problems is your razor after all – or what you’re doing with it. It could just be that you need new blades, or a new technique, particularly if you’re shaving against the grain.
But maybe it’s more of a fundamental problem around the tools you’re working with, not simply blunt blades. If you have sensitive skin, the right razor can make all the difference…
The best shaving razors for sensitive skin
One blade, seven blades, electric shavers, traditional safety razors, disposable razors, razors with gel pads – the options available are enough to give you a headache. So let us cut through the noise and pick out the best types of razors for dealing with sensitive skin.
Razors with skin guards
It’s almost like they’re designed just for you: these razors come with an ultra-protective guard to even out pressure and make sure the blades don’t yank your hair out too aggressively. Some hold the blades at an angle, so there’s not quite so much contact with your skin, and others come with their own fancy lubricating strip.
Ideally, you want your razor to glide effortlessly across your face, stripping hair away almost without you noticing, as a rainbow stretches across the sky and a unicorn makes you the perfect cup of tea.
OK, so maybe that’s a little far-fetched, but shaving shouldn’t be a battle. And with a hydro razor, it won’t be. Built-in gel pads lubricate your skin to ease the passage of the razor, and some models – like our fancypants Hydro 5 – even come with soothing aloe vera or vitamin E. Clever, right?
Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. Old-school safety razors, like the ones barbers use, can look a bit daunting, but a sharp blade can actually be much gentler on sensitive skin. With each stroke being ultra-effective, you don’t need to go over the same area twice and there’s less irritation. And because replacement blades are cheaper, you can treat yourself to a new one each shave and dodge the problem of blunt blades aggravating your skin.
Of course, handling a safety razor can take a little practice, but we’ll let you in on a few little secrets.
Aftercare for sensitive skin
Once you’re finished shaving and you’ve stopped admiring the job your lovely new razor has done, it’s time to reward your skin.
Firstly, close your pores with a good splash of cold water and carefully dab it dry. Then you’ll want a creamy, alcohol-free moisturiser to soothe your skin.
The final step is to see how your skin reacts. A new razor isn’t a magic wand: it may take your skin a little time to calm down. If you see those old signs of sensitive skin popping up, try giving your skin a rest for a few days.
And when you pick the razor up again, you’ll be better informed and better equipped to deal with the issue.