Shaving isn't the most exciting thing in the world, and it's made even worse if you've got sensitive skin. If keeping your stubble under control leaves you sore or with an annoying rash, you could be tempted to throw that razor away and grow a beard that would make Brian Blessed jealous. But wait - there's no need to go that far yet. While we admire the dedication of the well-groomed facially hirsute, a good handlebar moustache and goatee combination doesn't suit everyone, and there are still many options for a clean shave that won't leave you feeling red-raw.

With our guide you can keep your face soft, smooth and stubble-free.

The Knowhow

What causes the rash?

Shaving rash is caused by many things, including:

  • Razor blades not sharp enough
  • Shaving against the direction the hair grows
  • Too much pressure applied to the razor
  • Skin and hair not suitably prepared before shaving
  • Irritation caused by shaving products

What can you do to stop the rash?

Before shaving, take a hot shower and wash the beard area thoroughly. This opens the skin's pores, relaxes the skin and softens the hair. If you are using an electric razor you may need to dry your face before you start shaving - check the instruction booklet.

Using an electric razor:

Move the razor slowly in the direction the hair grows. Do not press very hard. Start with the most sensitive areas, such as the neckline and upper lip - the razor will become hotter as you use it, which makes it more likely to cause shaving rash.

Your razor may have settings to let you adjust how closely the razors cut. For more sensitive skin it is better to set them slightly further away.

Using a traditional razor:

Choose a good quality shaving cream over foam or gel and lather it with a shaving brush and bowl. Try to avoid anything that is too scented as this can irritate the skin.

Apply the lather to the beard area and gently massage it in. Don't use too much - just enough to lubricate the blades as you shave. You can always add more lather later if you need to.

Replace the blades on your razor if they're at all blunt. Using gentle strokes, shave in the direction the beard hair grows. Don't apply too much pressure as this can remove a layer of skin which increases the chance of shaving rash.

Some users report that using a traditional double-edged blade based razor produces superior results to disposable razors or multi-blade systems and also reduce the chance of rash.

After shaving:

Wash your face with cold water to close the pores. Wait ten minutes and then apply moisturiser or aftershave.

Other tips:

The angle of the razor to the skin should be between 30-45 degrees.

Shave gently, and don't shave too closely. Shaving rash is most likely to be caused when the razor touches the skin.

If you get shaving rash, moisturise your face and don't shave for a few days until it dies down. Try using different shaving products or a different type of razor.

Updated On:

Aug 20, 2012

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