Know thy enemy, they say. And ingrown hairs – also known as razor bumps – are an enemy most men hold in common. Here’s our definitive guide to ingrown hair preventions so you can stop bumps in their tracks.
How to prevent ingrown hairs on the face: FAQs
What are ingrown hairs?
Those small red bumps that keep turning up after you shave? Those are ingrown hairs. They happen when hair curls back on itself as it grows, re-entering (or sometimes never exiting) the skin.
What causes ingrown hairs?
Everyone gets ingrown hairs. Sometimes it’s a one-off, or just nature’s way of telling you that you’re destined for Gandalf levels of beardedness. More often, razor bumps are caused by – being honest here – bad shaving and neglect. That’s why ingrown hair prevention starts with rethinking your facial maintenance routine.
How to prevent ingrown hairs
10 Tips to prevent ingrown hairs
We’d say ‘kiss goodbye to your ingrown hairs’, but that would be scratchy. Here’s how to prevent ingrown hairs:
1. Grow a beard. Yup, there’s an easy way out here (or not, depending on how you feel about beards). Grow a massive, magnificent full beard, and keep it in check with a decent trimmer (unless you’re going for a full on, got-lost-in-the-wilderness-and-grew-a-beard-for-warmth look, in which case, go crazy). Find out how to grow and care for your newly-acquired face fuzz here.
2. Exfoliate and cleanse before shaving. A serious game changer, exfoliating removes dead skin that can trap hairs and turn them into razor bumps. Lightly scrub your face (and we mean lightly – don’t go to town) with a product that is designed for your face. No steel wool.
3. Turn up the heat. Hold a hot towel over your face before you shave, or shave right after you get out of the shower. Heat opens up your pores, so you can get a close shave without irritating your skin – making it one of the best ways to prevent ingrown hairs.
4. Whatever you’re using to shave, keep it sharp and clean. If you have an electric shaver, wash it regularly and order new components as needed, depending on the tool you’re using and how steely and grizzled your hair is. If you’re using a manual razor, replace it (or its blades) after every five uses – and rinse it after each stroke to prevent ingrown hairs.
Remember: Sharp blades will move over your skin easily; blunt ones will tug.
5. Shave with the grain, if you can. It’s not always easy. Much like estranged siblings, your beard hairs don’t necessarily grow in the same direction. If you’re using a blade, follow the direction of hair growth, and use as few strokes, as possible. If you find it time-consuming, using a shaver with rotary blades means you’re fine regardless.
6. Do a warm water shave with shaving cream or gel. This is Shaving 101, but these products genuinely help prevent ingrown hairs. Avoid foam, as it dries you out. Use a clear gel if you’re sculpting around facial hair – good visuals can make the difference between a Handlebar and a Clark Gable. Decent electric shavers can do a wet or dry shave with no problem, and even work in the shower.
7. Don’t shave too close. Manual razors can do a lot of damage, especially if you press too hard. To get a shave that looks and feels close without massacring your skin, try an electric shaver. They have a cover over the blades that keeps them from going close enough to irritate or cut the skin, shielding you from nicks and helping to prevent ingrown hairs too. The Philips Norelco Shaver series 7000 has comfort rings with additional anti-friction coating to keep things smooth.
8. Hydrate your face. Prevent ingrown hairs on your face by applying a decent aftershave balm or moisturizer.
9. Use the Philips Norelco Shaver series 7000. Co-developed with dermatologists, the series 7000 is designed to provide a fully comfortable, close shave to even sensitive skin. The result of years of research, it’s proven to reduce razor burn, redness, and irritation. So if ingrown hairs are the bane of your life, it’s definitely for you. It can be used for a wet or dry shave, it’s washable, and it’s designed to glide smoothly over your skin – no cuts. U.
10. Take a laid-back approach to ingrown hairs. You can’t always prevent ingrown hairs. Leave an ingrown hair alone for a few days to see if it sorts itself out. Don’t squeeze it or dig into it with your nails or a tool – if some of the hair is poking out of the skin, you can tease the rest out with a clean pair of tweezers.
So, that’s how to prevent ingrown hairs when shaving – simple. But if all else fails, you can always go for the perfect 5 o’clock shadow …