Shaving With Sensitive Skin: A Simple 5 Step Guide

Before shaving your beard, there are certain things you need to do to prepare your face from the mutilation that is about to occur. We say mutilation because that is what it basically feels like when you have sensitive skin and you shave your short beard. You end up with cuts, bumps, and just an overall very unsatisfactory result. It may seem like nothing you can do works, but we are here to tell you that is wrong.

There are certain steps you can take to avoid shredding your face to bits when shaving with sensitive skin, and to lessen the effect hat the sharp blades have on you overall.

Ensure That You Actually Have Sensitive Skin

How do you know you have sensitive skin and not just using bad preparation and technique? Here are three pretty common qualities to determine that suffer from sensitive skin:

  1. If your skin is very dry.
  2. If you suffer from eczema or severe acne.
  3. If you experience several ingrown hairs after each shave.

If you have at least two of these three symptoms, chances are more likely than not that you have sensitive skin. Even if you don’t, you can still benefit from some of the forthcoming steps as long as you read our regular shaving routine guide, so let’s get right to it:

shaving with sensitive skin

That skin is sensitive and requires proper care when shaving.

Step 1: Exfoliate Your Skin 10 Minute Prior To Shaving

You probably have a gauge on skin care already if you suffer from sensitive skin so you should know that you should be avoiding any harmful chemicals in the scrubs and exfoliators that you buy. If you have a good all natural exfoliation scrub, use it 10 minutes before you shave. If you want to make one from your house, we recommend using honey, sugar, and strawberries as a simple and effective scrub. Just mix small amounts of each and scrub gently on your skin.

Exfoliating will prepare your pores for shaving, and hopefully avoid any ingrown hairs from occurring during shaving. You can also use a glycerin soap as an alternative, but we feel that for sensitive skin an all natural exfoliator is better.

You may also use an unscented, naturally made preshave oil like this one to help soften your hairs prior to shaving.

Step 2: Gentle To The Touch/Go With The Grain

Ever heard the song “Tempted to touch”? That is how you should be when you shave sensitive skin. You need to make short, slow strokes and do not press on the razor at all. Let the natural contours of the blade do the job, as that is what they are designed to do. Whether you’re using a cartridge or a DE safety razor, they are both designed to follow the contours of your face without you having to put any pressure.  So don’t do it! Disposable razors are not able to follow those contours on your face well at all, so for that reason we don’t recommend them for shaving with sensitive skin.

Another important note for the process of shaving: Learn the way your hair grows in different places. Your growth could be different under your chin and on top of your lip for example. You need to go with the grain at all times, and we do not recommend that you go against the grain at any time. Instead, if you really want a closer shave, go across from your ear to your lip. Going against the grain directly is going to cut you no matter what you do if you have skin that is sensitive.

Step 3: Replace Your Blades More Often

If you have sensitive skin, the key that we found is to replace your blades 2x faster than normal users do. So if you use a Mach 3 or Gillette for example, you would wait until the color indicator is halfway dull. That means that you should use the same blade for only 2-3 shaves. This may seem like it gets expensive, but there’s nothing you can really do about it. If you can afford it, you should change your blade after each individual shave to be even safer.

This is much less expensive if you use a DE razor because you can buy blades in bulk for much cheaper. Regardless, change your blade much more frequently because as it dulls out your skin will be the one who loses.

razor blades

A cartridge will go fast if you have sensitive skin.

Step 4: Avoid Shaving Creams With These Chemicals

We keep repeating this on all our shaving guides, and even moreso for this one: At all costs, do NOT use the mass produced shaving foams that you buy for cheap in your local supermarket/pharmacy. You need an all natural, chemical and fragrance free ( to be safe ) shaving cream that you will mix with water to prepare it for your face. This can cost you over $10, but you will not need to use a lot of it so it should last you a while.

We wont name them, but those regular shaving foams have the following ingredients that you should avoid at all costs:

  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Parabens
  • Ethoxylated alcohol
  • Acrylamide
  • Mineral oil
  • Propylene glycol
  • Phenol carbolic acid

There are more but they are pretty uncommon nowadays, so these are the ones that you should watch out for. Some of these chemicals are so harmful for you that don’t even know the consequences. For example, Polyethylene glycole and ethoxylated alcohol both contain dioxane which has been linked as a cause for cancer! Spend the extra money, and buy an all natural shaving soap or cream instead.

Step 5: Moisturize Your Skin Afterwards

Immediately after finishing you shave, wash your face with cold water, pat dry, and apply a moisturizer with SPF. If you go outside and the sun is beaming on you, you need the protection from SPF to avoid extreme dryness from occurring. This is an important step that you should never skip, and you will notice the difference if you haven’t been doing it previously.


1. Public Health Statement for 1, 4 Dioxane: By The ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry )