Razor burn, dry skin, and ingrown hairs are all results of shave irritation. You don't need to accept it as part of your shave routine! Preventing shave irritation is easier than you may think.
1. Prepare your face with water and pre-shave oil
The water doesn't need to be steaming hot - just warm enough to open up your pores. Pre-shave oil stimulates your hair follicles to make the whiskers stand straight up. This makes it easier for your razor blade to cut the hair as close to the skin as possible. It also helps the soap lather better on your skin.
2. Use a shave brush
The brush also helps the hair stand up, and gets the soap in between the hairs and directly on your skin. And, of course, it gently exfoliates as the bristles brush against your skin.
3. Make your first pass as efficient as possible
Following steps 1 and 2 are the best way to prepare for an efficient shave. The more times you run the razor over your skin, the more susceptible it becomes to irritation. And you can go with the grain!
Common misconception: you have to go against the grain to get a close shave. If, however, this is causing shave irritation for you, you should stop doing it! Instead, try shaving laterally across the hair.
4. Have a good post-shave routine
After all that effort to remove the hair from your face, your skin is naturally irritated by the shave. Cold water and a pass with the alum block will seal your pores, and using a post-shave serum will add the moisture back into your skin.
The best way to prevent shave irritation is to care for your skin every step of your shave.