How to Shave Without Getting Razor Bumps




Shaving. As if it wasn't dangerous enough with all the blades? Now there's those little ingrown hairs to deal with known as razor bumps. Here's how not to get them. Long time lurker, first time instructable, so please be a critic. But please, I beg you, be constructive. And hey, if you like it, please gimme a vote!

Update: Now with 50% more rambling about shaving tools! Bullets now included.

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Step 1: Get Your Stuff Ready!

Alrighty, you're about to shave, but wait, you don't know how? Or you do, but you need some pointers. And you definitely don't want any funny little bumps. Here's what you need, but there are more complex things if you wanna go further than these basics.

  • Hair that needs removin
  • A razor (Not electric). Any old bic or cheapo will do, though if you wanna get fancy you can buy one of those ten bladed Gillette's that vaguely resemble an onion slicer.
  • Shaving Cream. Again, you don't need anything expensive, but you can always shell out
  • more cash if you wanna for gels or the like.
  • A sink, or some other water holder. No need for fancy.
  • Washcloth. Not exactly necessary, but it beats using your hands to wipe your face.
  • Scissors. Again, really not needed, but nice for whacking down the major shrubbery before
  • you mow it.
  • Aftershave. Makes you smell nice, and helps kill anything nasty on your face.
  • Mirror. Almost needed. If you're good you can do without it, but I wholly recommend being able to see yourself while you work.

Once you've got what you need, all you really have to do is go ahead and fill your sink up with some nice warm water and plug that drain.

Step 2: Get Yourself Ready!

Almost to the bleedin'. If you can stand to look at my ugly mug, you might notice that my awful awful hairdo is wet. That's because I just got out of the shower, which is a great way to help soften up the hair on your face. An alternative is to take that cloth from before, soak it in hot water, and let it spend some time on your face.

After you've softened up those whiskers, if you have scissors, now is the time to use them. They're useful for trimming your sideburns a little, as well as shaping your stylish mustache. Be careful, think about where you cut.

This is important. Run your hand all over where you intend to shave, in a few directions. You might notice that your hair has a grain, and it's smooth to run your hand one way, rough the other. Remember the grain of various areas, and it'll make your life easier. It's a key to not getting razor bumps.

All done? Dollop some shaving cream into your hand. Go on, don't be shy. Slather it all between your hands and rub it onto your face anywhere you'd like the hair to be gone. Aside from lubricating your skin, it's also helpful in seeing where you've still got to shave.

Step 3: And Now to Shave the First Pass!

Despite what you've ever been told, you're at that point in your life, right now, when applying a very sharp object to your face becomes a good idea. Respect that razor, and it will treat you well. Disrespect it, and it'll cut you like...well...It will cut you. It's sharp enough to be cliche.

Important tip! Always, Always, Always move the razor in a perpendicular direction to the blades. That is, never slide it sideways, always in the direction of that handle. And keep it flat. Do this and you shouldn't cut yourself lest you go over a weird rumple in your face. Or cut the top off a zit. Don't worry, that doesn't hurt, and you'll barely notice.

By now you're probably tired of listening to me yammering, so let's get to it. Carefully apply the razor on the side of your face. Doesn't matter -exactly- where you start, but your cheek is good. I like to start around my side burns and take nice, even paths downwards. Go in the direction of the grain of the hair, that is, the direction your hand went smoothly across your face in the previous step. After you've taken a swipe at it, take a look at your razor. Clogged huh? Go ahead and jiggle it in the water before cutting another path. When you've finished the cheek you're on, go do the other one. Same deal, just in reverse.

The neck isn't hard either, just keep going with the grain, keep your razor clean, and you're golden.

Now there's a little bit of a tricky part. Mind your jawline, and make sure to keep that razor with the grain. It helps to contort your face to smooth the skin. Around your chin and nose aren't hard either as long as you take your time and pay attention to the grain. Carefully shape around any hair you wish to keep.

Step 4: And Now to Smooth It All Out!

You look done, but here's where you get smooth. Really smooth, and bumpless. Remember which direction the grain of your hair went, and how you shaved along with it? Changeup. Now we're going to go across. If you shaved down, shave to the side. If you shaved to the side, shave up or down. Absolutely don't go against the grain. You'll be smooth, but you're dooming yourself to a week of ugly red dots, especially around the chin. Go over it all with the razor across the grain, careful now, it's a bit different than last time. You might notice that the razor gets less clogged, but still keep it rinsed.

Done? Might not be. Run your hand over your face, check for rough spots. Go over those again before moving on to the next step. You oughta be very smooth by now.

Random Note: Yes I know I'm bleeding a little. I didn't cut myself, it's a zit. The aftershave in the next step takes care of cuts, anyway.

Step 5: Finishing Up!

Wipe your face off, and get ready for the pain! Yes, pain. This will most likely hurt. Rub some aftershave onto your hands. Not much, but enough that they feel slick after a vigorous rub together, you don't want to bathe in the stuff. After you do that take a deep breath. Ready? Rub it all over your face where you shaved. If it hurts at all, it'll burn like mad. But only for a second, leaving you with a weird tingly feeling. Presto! You're shaved! Clean! And to boot you smell good, and you won't get bumps over the next few days.

Step 6: And So Begins the Talk of Tools!

Let's chat a little on the topic of tools. Razors, mostly. This might get wordy as well as somewhat opinionated and if you don't care poke around the comments, they have some interesting information on alternatives to shaving cream and aftershave. But hey, you listened to me thus far so why not?

Tool care! This be a little important. When you finish shaving, dry that razor. Ever so gently blot it with a napkin or some toilet paper. Letting the water just set on the blade will make it wear out quicker. And don't forget, disposable razors are called that for a reason. When it just barely starts to not work as well, chuck it. If you buy the same kind I do they come in a bag of like 10 or more anyway. I like to swish the blade in a little rubbing alcohol before I dry it, just to make sure it's nice and clean. Some people even like to soak their razor in baby oil, but I never found it worth it as I use a new razor every couple of shaves. Oil those scissors, just a drop on the hinge ought to keep them smooth. And please, please put the safety cap on the shaving cream if you just toss the can somewhere like a suitcase. You can imagine the mess it makes if that button is accidentally depressed.

So far you've learned how to use a cheap disposable razor that comes in a massive bag, but what if you want to be different? Let's discuss some options.

First, there's the electric razor. If you're terrified of sharp things, these generally are your best bet. Easy to use either dry or with the specially formulated gel, just turn it on and rub it all over your face. I can't cut myself on the face with one even if I try. And trust me, I have. Got curious just how guardy those guards are. Though I will note you can nip your lip if you try. That hurts so don't do it. Most also have a doodad on back known as a mustache and beard trimmer. Think of the clippers they use to cut your hair. This is what I normally use instead of scissors, to trim my sideburns, mustache and beard. I also go once over my whole face with it to get off any high hair if I haven't shaved in quite a while. Electric razors are simple to clean. Brush them off, they usually come with this dinky little brush for the purpose, after use. Your instructions will tell you if there's anything special you have to do.
Alas, for all their ease and convenience, they don't shave near as close as blade. It might be worth noting too that the blades tend to be expensive, but don't need to be replaced as often.

There's also strait razors out there, but to be perfectly honest I don't know how to use them. If anybody would like to add strait razor use and care I'd be happy to collaborate, or even just post your own instructable and tell me. I'd love to read it.

Moving on, there's more expensive disposables. It's an arms race of who has the most blades and or who has a battery operated vibration hickey in them. Pretty much all of these us a proprietary cartridge that you replace once in a while. I had a Gillette Mach 3 once, and personally I didn't notice much of a difference. That said, you might. The powered razors supposedly vibrate the hair and lift it, sounds dubious to me. In my experience vibration makes things fall prey to gravity and settle.

Shaving cream brushes. They really help that stuff penetrate the hair. I don't own one because I'm cheap, but have gotten the chance to use one. It's simple, you just use it to apply the cream. If you can afford it, shoot for a badger hair brush. Those are top shelf in both nice factor, and price.

Thank you for putting up with me! And remember folks, you're a biological organism that is somewhat different from me. Your mileage may vary, as you may be rougher, smoother, or more greasy than I.



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103 Discussions


3 years ago

Well, I'm going through breakup trauma and don't feel like doing anything. But sometimes out of boredom I surf internet and read posts. I've been following your page and I really liked it. After reading this amazing post of yours I feel inclined to shave my beard which has become a bush.

I followed your tips and some home remedies from this pos to get rid of those ugly and painful razor bumps. And now I'm all ready to court a new girl with my new clean shaven look.


4 years ago on Step 6

great tips! what about exfoliating? do men get exfoliation like women do?


5 years ago

Men should see this and learn how to shave and not cut them selves


5 years ago on Step 4

Informative tips above shaving. thanks


6 years ago on Introduction

How to get rid of razor bumps is a big question that I HATE! i have a tool that can get rid of them FAST coming out soon.
Razor bumps occur when a newly shorn hairs grows back to re-enter the skin. As it continues to pierce and embed itself into the skin, a bump will appear as a sign of injury.
To get rid of razor bumps rapidly, save the part free of sweat and germs. Wash the regarded area with antibacterial cleanser. Development of bacterium can exacerbate the precondition and prevents skin’s power to reclaim the bumps.


7 years ago on Introduction

I think that the most important thing to prevent rash and bumps is to disinfect immediately after shaving, and to keep the skin scrupulously clean whilst it is still tender.
I usually use the cheapest aftershave I can find, and lots of it. However, I have recently found Savlon Wound Wash spray which works just as well, doesn't sting, and doesn't make you smell like a big tart.
If you disinfect and then wipe your face with a've just reapplied a layer of germs. Disinfect again. About 10 minutes after you've finished shaving I think the danger has passed.
I used to suffer from awful razor burn, but since doing this it is a distant memory.
By the way - this applies to wet or electric shaves!

2 replies

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

I agree on disinfecting the skin immediately after shaving. I use hand sanitizer and have had good results with it. I also use an antique safety razor that uses the double sided razor blades (I fancy myself a bit of a renaissance man ;) and it also minimizes waste). After using the razor and leaning my face, I swish the razor's head in a small tupperware-ish bowl of 90% isopropyl alcohol. This cleans the blade of any shin oils, dead cells and remaining whiskers after the water rinse. It also helps shed the water and any minerals it may contain to keep the blade sharp longer.


7 years ago on Introduction

I wear a beard, so I only have to shave my cheeks and neck. I used a rotary electric for years, but never really felt that it was that close, especially in the days when we had to wear shirts and ties. A bladed razor is MUCH better and the shave is longer lasting.

For years now I've shaved in the shower with a disposable razor. I shampoo, wash all over with soap, then turn to the suction-cup mirror on the shower wall, lather up with soap, shave, then rinse everything starting with the hair and work my way down.

The benefits of this is that the time I've spent in the shower doing all of the preliminaries allows the warm water and moist air to soften my beard. It's less messy, I don't have to worry about cleaning the sink and I NEVER have to worry about errant stubble that makes its way into a shirt collar.

I buy the Gillette twin-edge disposables in the 52-pack from Costco. They're relatively cheap, I change them once a week or so and Gilette ins't making a mint off me.

Good instructable.


9 years ago on Step 6

 Thanks for this, I'm a female but I still took some advice from this tutorial. 5 years of shaving my legs and not once has anyone ever suggested going WITH the grain. (all Ladies razor directions say to go "against")

1 reply

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

It really depends on how your skin reacts to it.

If you go with the grain, the cut won't be as close to the skin.
However if you go against the grain on the first pass, it will irritate the skin.

Now if you do it a couple times with the grain and do the last shave against the grain, the result will be a much smoother shave. That is what I do and I don't get any ingrown hair from that. It just might not work for you.

There's a lot of little tricks that might work but most of all, it's good to use the proper shaving products, most women I know just use soap or bathing gel and it doesn't work nearly as good.


8 years ago on Step 5

I have no need to shave my face..........not many women do, but i enjoyed your instructable anyway. i feel like you really got into the teaching part. You did good. Thumbs up.

If you really wanna get a close great shave, check out my instructable @


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

see thats where I get my burn, If I shave more than once every 2 or 3 days, I get burn


10 years ago on Step 5

I think electric razors aren't to be discounted.

Sure, an electric razor is a totally different beast, but I've been using one for the last two years to good effect.

When I use(d) a disposable razor, right after hopping out of the shower in the morning I would apply some cream and shave. I find the electric razor works most effectively and painlessly on dry skin, i.e. before I shower. Even though I knew how to shave as you tell everybody here, I'd still get nicked on a regular basis with disposables. There's a rough patch on my throat that would always get scraped raw and bloody from just one or two passes of a disposable razor.

I don't have any such problem with my electric. The drawbacks are lack of precision, and it doesn't shave quite as close. Neither of them is a very big deal to me, since I've grown a circle beard and bought a precision trimmer to groom it, and my growth isn't thick enough to give me a bad 5 o'clock shadow.

aaahhh, barbasol. i remember years ago my dad would use that, and i would sneak into the bathroom when he was done and shave. i hate all this gel crap they have. i miss straight cream.

2 replies