If you deal with the removal of facial or body hair, you’ve likely experienced the singular joys of razor burn bumps. These are the unsightly red shaving bumps that appear on your skin after a dry shave, a shave that’s a bit too close, or a shave administered with too dull a blade. If you’re wondering how to get rid of razor bumps on your face or neck, the right razor burn cream or treatment can help keep calm your skin and reveal happy, smooth skin. It also doubles easily as a moisturizer if you’re in a rush.
But first, a note: Razor bumps and razor burn are not synonymous. Razor burn is irritated skin. Razor bumps are caused by ingrown hairs. However, both are eminently manageable.
“Razor burn is often confused with some other conditions associated with shaving. One can get ingrown hairs, including a specific type of ingrown hairs called pseudofolliculitis barbae (PB),” says Dr. Jeremy Fenton of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. “One way to tell if you have razor burn or ingrown hairs is if you notice that little hairs pop out from under the skin of the bumps several days later, it was an ingrown hair. Razor burn, however, appears immediately, meaning the same day, after shaving.”
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, every man should wet his skin and hair prior to a shave, which softens the follicles. For this reason, often the best time to shave is usually after a shower, when your skin is already moist and clean. Next, apply a shaving cream appropriate for your skin type. Shave in the direction of hair growth, which is a key step in preventing razor burn. Finally, rinse after each swipe of the razor, and throw the blade away after using it five to seven times, if you’re into disposable ones. Never, never use soap to shave, cautions Fenton, because it “will dry the skin out, the opposite of what you want.”
Following the blade, it’s time to apply a post-shave balm. And if that’s not enough, “You can apply an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream after you shave to soothe the skin. If this isn’t sufficient, a dermatologist can prescribe something stronger,” says Fenton.
The last thing you want after a close (or too-close) shave is to go patting your skin. It's why we love the mist format of this Harry's product. Without skin-on-skin contact, you can soothe your poor, raw skin for immediate relief.
If you want a skin-soother and moisturizer in one, here's your product. It keeps skin supple for an entire day, so apply it after shaving. Ingredients including shea butter, jojoba oil, Irish moss, and grape seed extract help keep irritation in check. Given its thicker consistency, it's great for dry skin. And the smell is subtle enough to be intriguing without being overwhelming.
The Cool Fix is a soothing, cooling blue gel that immediately calms down your skin post-shave. You apply this gel right after shaving. It helps reduce ingrown hairs, razor bumps, razor burn, and redness and feels like an ice pack for your face. Glycolic acid exfoliates and salicylic acid clears pores; it can be used on all skin types.
Use this balm after shaving to soothe and cool your skin, without any stinging feeling. Tea tree oil and witch hazel tell your face to calm the hell down, and shea butter keeps skin soft and smooth.
The original, tried-and-true ingrown hair buster. When you apply a thin coat of Tend Skin after shaving, you reduce the appearance of ingrown hairs and razor bumps. You can use this product both before and after shaving. Using it pre-shave helps you have bump-free skin after you shave. Using it post-shave will calms down your skin, reducing irritation. It's best for oily or combination skin.
We love Jack Black's formula because it's oil-free and acts as an astringent for oily and acne-prone skin. Jack Black has created what could be the ultimate solution to razor burn. You get a powerful combination of lactic acid and salicylic acid to exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells, plus you dissolve the pore-clogging face oils that cause acne and blackheads.
This is a nourishing post-shave moisturizer with aloe extract and allantoin to help deal with post-shaving skin irritation. The key ingredients in this post-shave moisturizer are tea tree oil, menthol and glycerin. So you get an alcohol-free moisturizer that helps cool the skin, and prevent ingrown hairs. It's usable for all skin types.
This is ideal for guys with sensitive skin that's prone to irritation. Why? This alcohol-free lotion is calming, soothing, and quickly absorbed. The key ingredients here are aloe vera, lavender, and vitamin E, all of which work together to make your skin happy.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.