Itchiness after shaving is extremely common, especially when most people don’t learn how to shave in a way that is easy on the skin. If you want to learn how to stop itching after shaving, The Gentleman’s Playbook is here to help! We have a breakdown of the most common causes of itchiness after shaving, as well as how you can stop itchiness after shaving.
Causes of Itchiness after Shaving
There are some common causes of itchiness after shaving, that can all be prevented or avoided! First, let’s look at the common causes, then we will explore how to alleviate itchiness after shaving as well as how to prevent it in the first place.
Razor burn is one of the leading causes of itch skin post-shave. There are a few reasons razor burn can occur, such as:
- Using a dull razor
- Using too much force/pressure
- Shaving dry
- Shaving against the grain
All of these can cause the razor to scrape or shave off a very thin layer of skin, leaving it irritated and itchy. Make sure to always use a sharp, fresh blade (we suggest using safety razors for a myriad of reasons).
After shaving, sometimes you can develop ingrown hairs. Ingrown hair occurs when a piece of hair gets stuck inside its follicle, unable to escape.
This will cause a swollen, red bump on your skin that is often itchy and painful. It looks similar to a pimple, but there’s a visible loop of hair protruding from the skin. Gently pull the hair loose from the skin to correct.
Ingrown hairs can be avoided, again, by using a sharp razor, such as a single blade safety razor, that cuts the hair at the skin level, rather than tugging the hair and then chopping it. When the razor pulls the hair before chopping, it causes the hair to go back into the follicle, under the skin.
Another cause of itchiness after shaving is dry skin. Skin that is dry may already be easily irritated and shaving over it will just make it worse. You want to make sure your skin is as healthy and hydrated as possible before shaving.
Dry skin causing post-shave itch is very common in the cold season when humidity is low and temperatures even lower.
Another way that dry skin can cause itchiness is if you shave on dry skin. Meaning, don’t dry shave! Shaving on dry skin makes it difficult for the razor to pass over the skin; there’s a greater likelihood that you will get caught on your own skin and scrape a thin layer in the process, leading to itchiness.
Sensitivity to certain ingredients
Some people are simply sensitive to ingredients that can be contained in shaving products. Whether it’s artificial fragrances, alcohol, or chemicals, it’s a good idea to try changing up your shaving routine if you think there are ingredients causing itchiness during or after shaving.
Start by switching to some more natural shaving products, such as natural oils or fragrance free shaving creams and lotions. This can help you rule out any itching or rashes that occur as a result of fragrance allergy.
Consider changing up any of the following common shaving products:
- Shaving Cream
- Shaving Lotion
How to Stop Itching after Shaving
Now – what you came here for – it’s time to learn how to stop itching after shaving! There are a lot of ways you can start making sure your skin doesn’t itch once you finish your shave.
The following are ways you can stop itching after shaving, if you’re already itching. We will go over ways you can prevent itchiness post-shave later on this page.
Rinse with Cold Water
Rinsing the area that is itchy can help reduce inflammation. A lot of times, shave-induced itchiness is caused by razor burn or rash. The cool water will help constrict the blood vessels in the impacted area, cutting down on inflammation.
Cold water will also help with immediate relief, counteracting the burning sensation you are likely to feel from a poor shave.
Use Aloe Vera
Another great way to help immediately alleviate some of the itchiness you may be experiencing is by applying a light layer of aloe vera to the area!
Make sure to use all-natural aloe vera that is fragrance free, to prevent further irritation. The aloe vera will create a cooling and moisturizing layer of protection over the skin. This will help rehydrate the skin and prevent further irritation.
Try an All-Natural Aftershave
Some all-natural aftershaves help cool, moisturize, and reduce inflammation. Look for one that is made specifically for anti-itchiness. Avoid aftershaves with artificial fragrances, citruses, or harsh ingredients.
Calming ingredients such as camomile would make for great anti-itch and anti-inflammatory aftershaves.
Apply Hydrocortisone Cream
In some cases, the ideas listed above just won’t work. Maybe it’s a particularly aggressive round of post-shave itch or an allergic reaction that the other suggestions won’t help with. Either way, trying hydrocortisone cream may do the trick.
Hydrocortisone cream is made to help reduce itchiness and inflammation and often provides immediate relief. Make sure to read your cream’s directions to make sure it’s safe to apply to your itchy spots. We’d also suggest avoiding using this near any genital or genital-adjacent zones.
Prevention for Post-Shave Itchiness
While some of the ideas we went over above should help you with any itchiness you’re currently experiencing after shaving, we also want to send you off with some tips on how to prevent post-shave itchiness.
Here are some ways you can take preventative measures when tackling how to stop itching after shaving:
Exfoliate Before You Shave
The day before you shave, try exfoliating the shave zone with a gentle, natural exfoliator. This will help prep the skin by getting rid of any dead skin cells, softening the skin, and making it more malleable for a clean shave.
Softer skin is easier to shave, as it is less likely to get caught in your razor and cause razor burn. It also helps keep your skin healthy and free of dead or dry skin. Exfoliation can cleanse pores, reducing chances of issues such as ingrown hair as well!
Use Shaving Cream, Gel, or Soap
Some people decide to dry without using shaving creams or gel – if that’s you, STOP! This may be causing you to itch after shaving.
Applying a shaving cream before shaving will help lubricate and moisturize the skin. It will also hydrate and soften the hair in the area you’re shaving, making it easier for your razor to cut the hair at skin level.
Stiff hair can cause tugs, pulls, or nicks when the razor can’t easily pass, increasing chances of post-shave itch. Also, shaving on skin without using a shaving cream or shaving soap as a protective layer/lubricant can cause razor burn and rash.
Our personal preference is using a shaving soap with a boar bristle brush as the applicator, as we can control and use more natural ingredients. However, those on a budget may want to opt for a normal shaving cream or shaving gel!
Always Use a Sharp Razor
One of the leading offenders that causes itching after shaving is not using a sharp enough razor! Our advice is to change your razor head once a week if you shave more than 4 times per week. If you only shave once or twice, you can get away with changing your razor blades out every 2 to 4 weeks.
One affordable and easy way to guarantee you always have a sharp razor on hand that guarantees a smooth shave is by using a safety razor! Safety razors are the same kind of razors you may have seen your grandpa use when you were a kid…they are a single blade, protruding on both sides of a rounded razor head. We go over some of our favorites in this article, if you’d like to see what they look like!
Shave with the Grain
Another mistake we see many people make is shaving against the grain of hair growth – this can cause hair to get stuck and pull, especially if it’s been a while since you shaved last! We suggest shaving in the direction your hair grows; if where you’re shaving has significantly long body hair, it may be best to use a gentle body trimmer first, such as the Norelco OneBlade.
A sharp enough razor will help get a very close shave. If you feel you have to shave against the grain to get the smoothest shave possible, start by doing what is known as a “first pass” where you shave with the grain, then rinse the shave zone. Reapply shaving cream/soap/gel, and shave for a “second pass” against the grain. This method helps reduce the amount of hair that will get caught up in an against the grain shave.
After Shave Care
Lastly, after shaving, you want to rinse with cool water to help close up your skin’s pores/alleviate any potential itchiness immediately. You’ll cap this off by using a moisturizing aftershave product.
There are a few kinds of aftershave, some are liquid/alcohol based, others are made of essential and carrier oils, and others are lotion. We suggest trying a few different ones over time to learn what really works for you. You can even make your own homemade aftershave using products such as witch hazel, aloe vera, and gentle essential oils like lavender and tea tree!
Here’s a homemade aftershave recipe you can try yourself:
- 1/4 cup witch hazel
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
- 1/4 cup sweet almond oil
- 10 drops tea tree essential oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- In a small mixing bowl, combine witch hazel, aloe vera gel, and sweet almond oil.
- Add tea tree essential oil and lavender essential oil to the mixture and stir well.
- Transfer the mixture to a small spray bottle or container with a lid.
- Shake the mixture well before use.
- Apply the aftershave to your skin after shaving with your hands
- Allow the aftershave to absorb into your skin.
- Note: This recipe is for external use only. If you experience any skin irritation or allergic reaction, discontinue use immediately.
How to Stop Itching After Shaving
You should now know all of the best tips and tricks needed to stop itching after shaving! Most of it will fall into having a great shaving routine, which includes pre- and post-shave care.
Our biggest advice would be to focus on making sure your skin is healthy, moisturized, and exfoliated. This gives a great foundation for your skin and allows you to have an optimal shaving experience.
The next steps are to use a shaving cream or shaving soap, shave in the direction of growth, and then finish your shave by rinsing with cool water and applying an all-natural aftershave.
If your skin is currently itchy, you can stop itching after shaving by trying:
- Rinsing with cold water
- Applying aloe vera
- Applying aftershave
- Applying hydrocortisone cream
Check out the rest of The Gentleman’s Playbook – it has a ton of great resources on shaving, facial hair, lifestyle tips, mindset, philosophy, and more!