How to Wet Shave Without Irritation Even with Sensitive Skin

Wet shaving with sensitive skin can be a very unpleasant experience, both during the act and for up to a few days afterwards.  But not any more - use our 15 step check list to rid those annoying irritations once and for all...

When you are shaving on a regular basis you really want to avoid the irritation that comes from razor burn, the unsightly red bumps from ingrown hairs and the annoyance of nicks and cuts on the skin that won’t stop bleeding when you are in a rush.  And when your skin is sensitive it makes shaving even more of a chore. It doesn’t have to be this way, however!

If you perform your wet shave by following the guidelines and tips listed below you can be sure to push those burns and bumps out of your mind forever, even if you are prone to sensitive skin issues and acne.

It’s important to remember a few quick details: never cut the hair under the follicle, always shave in the direction of the hair and always, always use a moisturizing shaving cream and a sharp blade!

1 - Don't Shave Immediately after Waking Up

Wait at least 20 minutes after you wake up to start shaving as this will give your skin time to rid itself of any puffiness or swelling that occurs naturally when you sleep.

​2 - Use Hot Water Prior to Shaving

Either shave in the shower or spend at least 5 minutes in a warm shower or bath before shaving. You can also apply a warm, wet towel to the area for 4 minutes or so before shaving. It is important that your skin has the chance to soften under the water and your pores have a chance to open.

3 - Use a Lubricant

Never shave on just wet skin. Always use a moisturizing shaving cream or gel in the area you want to shave. It is best to avoid foams as they tend to dry the skin out. The best creams to use are glycerin-based.

4 - Use a Shaving Brush

If you are shaving your face a great tool to use is a shaving brush: it will help lather up the area nicely and will help the hairs to “stand up” so that they can be cut more easily. You can purchase the more expensive and traditional badger or boar brushes, but a synthetic one will work just fine too.

Recommended Shaving Brush:

Escali 100% Badger Shaving Brush
The Escali Shaving Brushes generate a rich and warm lather, soften and lift the beard, open pores, bring sufficient water to the skin and gently exfoliate.

​5 - Use a Sharp, Single Blade Razor

Always use a sharp, single blade razor (disposable, cartridge or classic double-edge safety razors are fine). The more blades, the more chance there is for one of them to tug at your skin. Discard blades after every 5 uses or before if you feel it isn’t gliding smoothly anymore.

6 - Shave "With the Grain"​

Always shave “with the grain” (in the direction of the hair growth).

This means you may not get as close a shave as you want, but it will help avoid the appearance of ingrown hairs and therefore reduce those unsightly red bumps.

7 - Don't Tighten your Skin

Don’t pull your skin taut as by doing this you risk cutting the fair under the skin which can cause ingrown hairs to develop. Let the razor glide over your skin and don’t push it down. It should slide easily.

​8 - Apply the First Pass Technique if Shaving Against the Grain

​If you really must shave against the grain, always do a first pass with the grain, lather up again and then do a pass lightly against the grain, without pulling your skin taut.

Note: This isn’t recommended for people with sensitive skin.

​9 - Cleanse First

For facial hair: cleanse your face with a facial soap or facial exfoliating lotion before you begin. Avoid regular soap as this will just dry your skin out and cause irritations.​

​10 - Exfoliate Daily

​Exfoliate your skin on a daily basis. This will make sure there is not a build-up of dry skin on the areas you are planning on shaving, and it will keep your pores unclogged.

Dry skin and clogged pores are other culprits of ingrown hairs!

​11 - Use a Pre-Shave Oil

​Try using a pre-shave oil on your skin after water but before you apply shaving cream. This will lock in more moisture; help you get a closer shave without irritations (Jojoba oil works just as well as any marketed pre-shave oils, just make sure you don’t use oil that can clog pores).

Recommended Shaving Product:

Jack Black Lube Conditioning Shave

Totally different from traditional foams and gels which can dry out skin, this revolutionary formula provides three benefits in a single, easy-to-use product. It's a preshave oil, shave cream, and skin conditioner all in one.

12 - Rinse after Every Pass

Rinse the blade with water after every pass – you want to avoid clogging the blade with hair and shaving cream. Try to not do too many passes over the same area, only one if possible. If you must, always lather again before you do.

13 - Use Cold Water after Shaving​

Once you have finished, rinse the area with cool water and apply a non alcohol-based lotion. Alcohol will just dry out your skin and make it even more irritated.

Use a moisturizing aftershave balm or toner on your face, a moisturizing lotion on your body. If you are prone to ingrown hairs or acne you will want to use a non-comedogenic lotion (one that does not clog your pores, usually oil-free)​

14 - Let your Razor Air Dry

Always let your razor air dry, never towel dry as this will dull the blade

​15 - Do a Post-Shave Wash

​For those with sensitive facial skin, post-shave you can wash your face with a facial soap containing tea tree oil (natural antiseptic) and witch hazel (natural astringent) as this will help combat irritations. Rinse with cold water.

Shave without Irritation!

Whether you have sensitive skin or not, whether you are prone to razor burn or ingrown hairs, you can still have a comfortable wet shave without feeling any irritation afterwards.

Just make sure to follow the tips above and always use a clean, sharp blade!


I'm a computer science graduate, have a passion for self development and created this site as a side project due to the lack of complete, understandable, helpful and truthful information about hair removal available online.