Running out of ideas to prevent razor bumps and ingrowns

Discussion in 'General Shaving Discussion' started by majidfn, Feb 8, 2019.

    hello all,

    I have been a wet shaver for few years and enjoy it tremendously but have alway been suffering from ingrown hairs and bumps. I have done my home work and tried variety of techniques and tools and routines but havent been able able to fully eliminate the problem. So I’m asking you all for advice.

    So here is quick intro on myself and the routine.

    I have a very coarse, thick and curly hair.
    I do have a beard but to keep it neat, I shave the neck and line it up every other day.

    I shave with a straight razor (shavette), I have tried DE with my Mercur 34C, but after improving my techniques I feel more comfortable with straight razor and also it helps significantly with linning the beard.

    I use Astra blades and use new single blade every time.

    So here is my routine: After a shower, I use Proraso pre shave cream to prepare the area and let it sit while I’m preparing the blade and brush.
    I have an Edwin Jager best badger brush and I rotate between the following soaps / creams: Eucris, Tabac, shave cream, Nivea shave cream (while travelling)

    I start with neck first as I found shaving it first while I have my most concentration gives me better experience. So I do one pass of slight reduction from south to north, rinse the area with warm water, lather up and do another pass of the same direction trying to remove what’s remaining. Small strokes.
    My beard in the neck area is growing in all directions therefore south to north is the closest to WTG that I can get.

    Then I shave the rest and line up which honestly is a breeze and never had any issues.

    After finishing I rinse with cold water, Canadian cold water. Let it dry for a minute.
    And finally apply my after shave which I have tried the followings: Proraso balm, Nivea sensitive, Witch Hazel and recently started Tabac which although is alcohol based but it’s not bad. (I only apply one of the mentioned aftershaves).

    If I have caught myself then I will use my alum block.

    After the aftershave dries out in half an hour, especially if I use an alcohol based one like Tabac, I will use a moisturizer.

    That’s pretty much it. I will attach some photos to the post for better perspective.

    Any tips or advice is highly appreciated as I truly enjoy wet shaving and want to get rid of ingrowns and bumps.

    Is there any hope or should I just accept the way my beard and its growth is?

    For the record I live in Montreal, Canada

    Attached Files:

  1. I feel for you - ingrown hairs are not fun at all.

    If you haven't done so, I'd try some different blades to see if this makes a difference; the first that I would recommend is Polsilver Super Iridium, as its sharpness may suit your hair type, and it is still quite a smooth blade.
    Secondly, I would try shaving in the shower (using a fog-free mirror attached to the tiles at face level), or if shaving at the sink, apply a hot towel to your neck for 2 minutes prior to shaving. The effect of hot water/steam can be a game-changer.

    Best of luck with it.
  2. Since you have a beard closeness is not as important, or it wasn’t for me. Leaving the hair longer may prevent then hair curling downward. Just thinking .
  3. man, this is tough.

    i might suggest consulting a dermatologist and see what they say. you never know if it isnt something that is glands based rather than irritation.

    maybe a soft sugar scrub exfoliation. i don’t know too much anout scrubs but dont go cray with strong with harsh materials.

    can you try one of the feather ac blades? or a traditional straight with a soft smooth edge like a coticule edge?

    maybe something OTC with a mild salicylic acid, willow bark extract or even tea tree oil?

    finally, can you try clippers for a bit and see if it clears up? if it does, you know its related to whatever you are using.
  4. Sorry!! Moving back to DE really helped me reduce ingrown hairs.
  5. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    Welcome to the forum!

    I'd suggest shaving WTG only until they clear up.

    Once they have, pay attention to your direction of shave, angle of blade to skin and try different blades. Ingrown hairs are generally caused by the blade tugging the hair above the level of skin as it cuts and the hair fractures instead of being cleanly sliced. Then the hair retracts below the surface again and that fractured end gets caught as it starts growing back above the skin.

    @Somerled and @Clay S have both been taking pictures of hair growth with microscopes and you can clearly see how the hairs are being cut cleanly without fracturing.

    See the page below starting at post #792.

    Cal's "I don't do journals" Journal
  6. Is this a typo, or just a singular "craycray"?

    If the latter, I've never see it used singularly before. Never seen it actually, just have heard it.
  7. Do a search on the forum for ingrown and another for bumps, and you'll find a LOT of great information. My number one piece of advice is pick a routine, and stick to it for a good 10 to 14 days. Change one (and only one) thing at a time, and again, stick to that new routine for another 10 - 14 days before deciding whether or not the one thing you changed was helpful, hurtful, or neither. Repeat the process until you come up with the best routine for you. Some of the things that have helped me the most:
    • NO shaving against the grain. Ever. Try to eliminate across the grain passes if you can as well.
    • Moisturize at least once a day, just don't go too heavy with the product. I do this in the evening before bed.
    • Shave before you shower. I know, it runs counter to the conventional wisdom, but it helped me.
    • Just a couple of drops of preshave oil rubbed in well, or a bit of moisturizer like Nivea Creme. If your skin feels greasy, you're using too much. It's not meant to provide extra slickness, it's just meant to moisturize the skin prior to running a sharp blade across it.
    • Shave with cold water. Hot water swells the skin, which for some people can make ingrowns more likely. I take a hot shower when I'm done, so a warm or hot rinse after the shave is fine.
    • I found much better success with aggressive razors. They allow me to get a DFS shave with a single WTG pass, rather than needing multiple passes in multiple directions with a less aggressive razor.
    • Witch hazel post shave only, applied with a cotton ball. Don't use anything with alcohol or menthol for a while and see if that helps
  8. As gwsmallwood above me suggested, i’d try cold water shaving for a bit and see if that helps. Also i don’t think anyone has mentioned it, but i think it’s worth taking some time off of shaving to let your skin heal. Personally the few times i get ingrown hairs, they stick around if i continue to shave every other day as normal. If i go around 4-5 days without shaving, they tend to clear up. I think by continuing to shave over them without letting them heal it’s probably re-irritating them and making them stick around. This doesn’t solve the problem of getting them, but sometimes it’s just a couple bad shaves that can cause them and keep them around. To remedy getting them, i highly suggest trying different blades. Blades that are too “dull” are what causes them for me. I really think a different blade choice, a cold water shave and letting your skin heal will help reduce or eliminate them. Best of luck!
  9. tbh, with you guys it was a typo.
  10. I agree with the suggestion that switching back to DE (or SE) is the best way to go. Stick with a mild razor and skip the ATG passes. You're shaving the hair too close to the skin. You need to leave a tiny bit of the hair above the surface of the skin; otherwise, it's going to ingrow. Chasing BBS is not necessary, and certainly counterproductive to people who have sensitive skin or are prone to ingrowns.
  11. I can't be much help except that a good hot wet washcloth face soak is my normal prep. I don't get any ingrown hairs, razor burn or bumps. good luck
  12. sarimento1

    sarimento1 Contributor

    Sir Maj!

    First, another welcome to B&B!

    Second, just try this. Instead of your Proraso pre-shave, use a bar of transparent glycerin soap, rub it over the whiskers, lather with your badger, then rinse lightly. Proceed to apply your regular shave soap/cream. The glycerin soap has more emollients than Proraso. Let us know it this helps??

    Third...your problem just might be Canadian water!! Import some USA water!! (JK!)
  13. Greetings from Toronto.

    Oh man, I feel your pain. Actually, yours aren't too bad at all.

    I used to get some horrific clusters but after MUCH trial and error I now find that the following is the best for me....

    1) A 'mild' DE razor. One with good tolerances is preferred. (Clamps the blade nice and tight with no opportunity for blade chatter)
    My current choices are between a Shick Krona, Merkur 33c, Edwin Jagger DE89, Karve with plate B or Rex Ambassador on setting 1.
    I tried a shavette a nutshell....the experience was not good and I couldn't afford to 'give it time' to get used to because it would definitely mean a resurfacing of the clusters during the learning process.
    I also tried more aggressive settings (in my adjustable's) and razors with the hopes of reducing the need for more 'blade-to-skin' contact/passes. However, I found the extra blade gap/exposure to be counter-intuitive as it does not take much at all for a razor sharp blade to create irritation with sensitive skin.

    2) My go-to blade is Perma-Sharp (very smooth and sharp enough to slice efficiently but not harshly)

    3) I shave before I shower so that I can use cool water rather than hot. I feel that this cleans the skin for prep but allows the skin to remain firm rather than soft and supple. Which for me, means that there's more of a defense against the actual skin being affected by the blade. @gwsmallwood made this point about cold water too. It's probably the main gamechanger out of all aspects of the shave, for me.

    4) For the first while, WTG & XTG only for the first while. Maybe even for good. I'm at a point where I can go ATG if I want to (depending on the razor being used) but I don't do it regularly at all. Plus, it also means I get to shave more often. haha.

    5) As for where you are right now, hmmmm. If it's not imperative for you to be clean shaven, I would recommend letting it grow out until the current state has fully cleared up and then start from scratch. Right now, you could probably get by with a mild razor and WTG passes exclusively, but it would just take longer for things to clear up. From what I can tell from the pics, a mere week of shaves with some electric clippers/trimmers will allow time for healing.

    6) Post shave products that are alcohol-free and contain good ingredients such as Aloe, Jojoba Oil, shea butter etc.
    My go to's are Chatillon Lux toners, Ginger's Garden aftershave (minus the menthol), First Canadian Shave splash and Phoenix & Beau post-shave lotion......based on what I personally have and have tried.. I'm sure there are tons of other options.

    You'll get there for sure. Just keep at it. If I can, I'm willing to bet that just about anyone can. lol
  14. RTM


    All valid points above.
    I’d also recommend getting a really great tallow based soap with minimal ingredients. Splurge on artisan, there are good Canadian ones near you. Don’t go overboard with acquisition, one is enough.
  15. I feel your pain. In fact, a particular ingrown hair on my neck prompted my return to DE shaving when an entertainer mistook it for a hickey while on a bachelor party...

    After enduring a fair amount of trial and error, to include blaming the arrow and not the Indian, I discovered the 4th most important item of my routine for reducing the gamut of irritable conditions (after blade angle, blade pressure and lather quality) is preparation. What has worked best for me:
    • Hot towel for a minute or so
    • Massage modest amount of a pre-shave oil blend or simply argan oil, etc.
    • Hot towel for another minute or so
    In my experience, skin is more resilient to the razor's attack when its pliability is improved -- this also requires drinking more than enough water throughout the day. I face lather and use lukewarm rinsing water on cold days/cold water on hot days. I usually shave several hours before showering and switch between day or night depending on my variable weekly schedule.
  16. I think face lathering helps as well, especially after the hot towels. It exfoliates/pulls hairs up/out that might be just starting to dig into skin. I use hot towels in my prep as well.
  17. Hey everyone,

    I'm very impressed by all the feedback. Such an amazing community. I feel proud to be part of it.

    Thank you all for your solutions, I will start trying one at a time and stick to it for some time to see how each affects my situation. I will keep you all posted here.

    Really appreciate your feedback guys:
    @Norman Gunston , @Twelvefret , @global_dev , @BigJ , @Esox , @gwsmallwood ,@Macduff ,@vadim @Tallships ,@sarimento1 ,@Pottertons ,@Pottertons ,@RTM ,@mumB_L_E ,@Clay S

    I will take some time off and only use clippers to clear them up (I can't let them just grow as they will curl back and cause all sorts of other bumps), then will start picking one of the suggestions at a time and try it out.

    Do you guys recommend daily shavings? Currently I shave every other day, but sometimes when I shave daily, it feels (have to be experimented again) that the bumps are getting better as the hair is not let to grow fully out. But then after sometime the skin gets irritated due to too much shaving. So That's something I have to experiment again.

    I will keep you all posted. Appreciate the fantastic community.
  18. I would recommend @mumB_L_E hot towel regiment followed by face lathering daily, you don't have to shave afterward. When your irritation lessens due to technique improving, start shaving daily. If irritation returns, maybe reduce number of passes on one of the days. You might only be able to shave every other day, but try every so often for daily.
  19. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    I shave every 48 hours, but its been as long as 100 hours between shaves. I shave first pass ATG quite often and did at 100 hours growth, but I only use blades that work the best for me. Finding them was trial and error, but you'll get there.

    I also now only face lather and thats with my skin saturated and warm. My skin is very supple when I shave. I use to struggle with ingrown hairs using my Mach 3, but in the last 2 years I've had two ingrown hairs. Both were my own fault, shaving too quickly with a worn blade that tugged a hair up and fractured it.

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