There are plenty of great forums and blogs offering advice about the best ways to stop bleeding from shaving, but we were curious to hear what the experts thought, especially how to prevent the nicks and cuts from happening in the first place. Here are 7 expert tips to help you avoid nicks and cuts from shaving.
7 Expert Tips to Help You Avoid Shaving Nicks
Let your Face Wake Up
Ever notice how different your face looks and feels right when you wake up? The pressure from sleeping on your face is totally normal, but that extra puffiness can make it more difficult to get an even shave.
“Skin tends to be puffy first thing in the morning so if you want less nicks and cuts give it at least ten minutes to settle before you start shaving and you’ll have a better surface to work with.”
Jason Shankey, Male grooming expert.
Everyone has those days where you wake up late and need to shave so your coworkers don’t think you’re homeless. Totally understandable, but try to give yourself a few minutes to wake up before shaving whenever you can. Have a coffee and catch up on the news before you start your shave and you’ll have an easier surface to work with, and you’ll be less likely to cut up your face.
The Shaving Brush Requirement
A lot of men think you have an option between a brush and using your hands, but you really don’t. Applying shaving cream or soap with your hands mats hair and raises it unevenly. It might seem like you’re working a nice lather with your hands, but you simply can’t lift the hairs like you can with a quality shaving brush.
“A shaving brush is a sound investment when it comes to shaving. Not only are they the best way to create a rich, creamy lather, they also help lift hairs in readiness for shaving and exfoliate skin, ridding it of razor-blocking dead skin cells.”
Robert Johnston, Master Barber of The Gentleman’s Shop, Hungerford.
Water is a key element in a good shave. The more a brush can hold, the better the lather and the better the shave will be. Badger hair brushes absorb water to help create a lathering process that whips hot water, soap, and air into a warm foam that cleanses the skin and makes the razor’s job much easier. You’ll minimize nicks and cuts, and get a noticeably closer shave.
“Slow and Short” = Your New Shaving Mantra
Long strokes might seem more efficient, but you can’t expect to have the same accuracy and pressure as you can with shorter, more controlled strokes. If you find yourself having to do more than 2 or 3 passes to get a close shave, try slowing down and taking smaller swipes.
“Men who suffer with razor burn tend to be the ones who shave at 100mph and who use long, sweeping strokes so slow things down and shave using short strokes, ideally around 2cm in length.”
Mark Sproston (aka The Shave Doctor)
Short strokes let you focus on the angle of the razor and better accommodate any changes in hair direction and contours of your face. Also, if you’re taking a sharp metal blade and swiping it across your face, you probably shouldn’t rush it. Everyone wants to get their shave over with, but a hasty shave can set you up for disaster. Nicks and cuts can be dangerous if you go too fast, so don’t.
Down with Dull Blades
A dull razor makes for dull shaves. Most men would agree, but unfortunately replacing blades is a bit of a pain. Instead of compensating with more passes or more pressure to make the blades last longer, bite the bullet and get your blades replaced more often.
“Always remember that the brand of the blade you use is far less important than the state it is in. The moment you feel your blade is not performing properly, replace it. As a rough guide, if you shave every day you should replace the blade once every one to two weeks, depending on the toughness of your stubble.”
Olivier Bonnefoy, the founder of Gentlemen’s Tonic
It’s a hard habit to break, but replacing your tools more frequently will help you minimize slip ups. If cartridge replacements are getting too expensive for your tastes, we recommend learning how to shave with a DE razor. Closer shave, cheaper blades, manlier man.
Leave the Lip for Last
One of the hardest spots on your face to shave is around the lip. It’s got a bunch of weird curves and ridges, and the hair is hard to catch on your blade. Instead of tackling these harder spots first, let them wait until the end of your shave.
“The hair on the top lip should be removed last; it’s thicker than the other parts of the beard and the longer time the shaving soap has to soften the hairs the better.”
Nicholas Clayton, author of A Butler’s Guide to Gentlemen’s Grooming
Make sure your brush’s lather covers your mustache completely. You shouldn’t have to do more than two passes if it’s properly softened. Try using a slight angle for those pesky hairs that don’t want to cut.
Moisturizer doesn’t just brighten up your skin after shaving, it improves the condition of your skin so that shaving becomes easier. There’s a lot more to your skin than meets the eyes, and you need to prepare it correctly if you want a close shave with fewer nicks.
“Skin might look smooth but in reality it’s full of tiny ridges. These become especially pronounced if the skin is dry and can cause problems for the razor, leading to irritation. By moisturising twice daily you help reduce these ridges and improve razor glide.”
Dr Kristina Vanoosthuyze, Principal Scientist at Gillette’s Innovation Centre in Reading
Softer skin raises the hairs and lets the razor just glide over. Fewer ridges mean fewer opportunities for your blade to slip. A well moisturized face is much harder to cut up than a dry one. Once you find a moisturizer that you’re happy with, stick to it. If you want a solid no-nonsense moisturizer to use after your shaves, we recommend checking out Nivea’s Post Shave Balm. It works, simple as that.
Men feel like they’re just supposed to know how to shave. Even with all of the new developments in technology and convenience, sometimes we wonder if we’re really getting the most out of our shave. If you’re ever confused or need some ideas as to what’s happening with your shave, just know that you’re not alone.
“Most men have never been taught how to shave. When electric shavers were introduced in the sixties fathers stopped teaching their sons how to shave and less and less men went to barbers. But men clearly do need to learn to shave as I see so many red and irritated necks!
Deborah Gayle, General Manager of male grooming emporium The Refinery.
Luckily it’s a problem that’s being addressed. There are plenty of resources for anyone that wants to improve their shaving experience like the Badger & Blade forum, where men talk about different techniques, tools, and ideas that have made them better shavers. Whatever your shaving problem is, chances are that other men have already experienced it. Be honest, be helpful, and you’ll find a lot of value from the shaving community.