Men's Life Today: Expert Q+A
How long should I wait to shave after getting razor burn?
Razor burn is caused by four things: lack of preparation, shaving against the grain, using a dull razor and not using antiseptic after you shave. If you have razor burn right now, you can take a day or two off. But if you do the following, you shouldn’t get razor burn to begin with:
This is more important than the blade or the cream. Prep your face by steaming it with a hot towel from the microwave, shaving in the shower or shaving after a steam at the gym. However you do it, if you get your beard soft, you'll get a good shave.
2. The Grain
A lot of guys go against the grain. What you're doing is picking up the skin, which gives a good shave, but you’re also picking up the hair follicles, and that’s razor burn. You have to go with the grain or across the grain.
On most guys, the hair grows down, but sometimes it grows up. You have to look at the direction of the beard. If you have curly hair or black hair, then you have a greater challenge: No matter which way you shave, you’re going against the grain. So it's more about preparation. If you can use shaving oil underneath the shaving cream, it will be smoother.
3. The Blade
In any job, you're better off using a sharp tool than a dull one. When you use a sharp razor, you're not pressing down so hard -- so there's less drag. There are a whole bunch of things you can do to make your blade last longer: rinse it out, store it with the blade facing up, even immerse it in baby oil.
Your face is covered in little cuts after you shave -- even if you can't see them, they're there. You've really exfoliated, and any small cut can become infected. Traditionally, I use witch hazel or bay rum. Fewer infections mean less razor burn.
If you still get razor burn, it’s best to treat it right away. Put a cold towel on your face; it will make the skin contract and quiet down the situation. Otherwise, it'll turn into an irritated rash that could last for a couple of days.