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Still getting ingrown hairs--PLEASE HELP!

Hi All--

Found this forum, and thought maybe somebody could help me.

I've recently switched to a DE razor, and I'm still getting ingrown hairs like crazy, and can't seem to get a decent shave. I've probably spent hundreds of dollars on products that promise to get rid of razor burn, from specialty shaving gels to products like Tend Skin...with nothing helping.

Here's my current shaving process:

1. The night before I shave I do a scrub--not gritty, more bead-like.
2. In the morning, I wash my face and take a long, hot shower--then get out, and apply pre-shave oil, by Origins (it's called Easy Slider).
3. I put a hot hot towel on my face for two minutes.
4. I put some Geo. F. Trumpers violet shaving cream on my face.
5. I wet my Vulfix #2235 super badger shaving brush, and let some of the water drip out.
6. I create a deep later on my face, until the consistency is pretty thick.
7. I use the Merkur Futur razor with genuine Merkur "Double-Edge" SS Platinum Blades...I take strokes of around 1-2 inches before rinsing in hot water in the sink.
8. I only shave in the direction of the hair growth--North to South on the face, and the opposite on the neck.
9. After shaving, I wet my face and splash with cold water to close the pores.
10. I use C.O. Bigelow Herbal Skin Tonic (non-alcohol) formula--it contains witch hazel and its supposed to 'seal' the shave to keep you from getting ingrown hairs.
11. After that, I use C.O. Bigelow Aftershave lotion which has grapeseed extract in it.

Here's a shot of all the products I use:


After going through all that, I still get red bumps on my face every time like this:


Usually I only shave every 2-3 days because if I shave more often, it just inflames the bumps worse, and if I were to ever shave two days in a row, I would have horrible bumps.

Instead of plucking the ingrown hairs, I heard it was better to try to just removed them from the bump, then shave them off the next day, as I read that plucking them out with tweezers actually made them worse.

The razor bumps have a whitish (zit-like) stuff in them, right above the hair. I guess thats the sebum filling the pore and covering the hair up. It's not acne though. I'm not sure what it is.

I've tried everything possible--from electric razors in the past, to mach 3, to schick quattro, to this new double edge razor (which i read decreases ingrown hairs), and i'm just about to give up and grow a beard...but i'd rather get a decent shave. Seems like all the guys I know in college with me just glide a cheap disposable razor over their skin in about 30 seconds, and they're done and they get the perfect, irritation free shave. I wish it was that easy for me. Does anyone have any suggestions to offer up?

I've tried about every combination of products, razors, etc...but I'm more than open at this point to try something else. I might as well get it right now, since I've got a good 60+ years left of shaving.

Thanks in advance!

I feel for you Nick. And I'm sure you'll get 20 different answers from 20 different guys, but this is what I'd suggest.

First, you say that you've tried every combination of products and razors, but that you only recently tried a DE razor. I'm assuming that you've only tried the merkur Futur and merkur platinum blade.

Try something a little less aggressive like an HD razor with a Swedish Gillette or Derby blade. It may cost you another forty dollars, but it may be the solution you're looking for.

Second, skip the scrub, defoliating face wash the night before. I've found that my face always shaves better when it has ALL the layers of skin on it. I too used one of these scrub washes when I shaved with a Sensor, but wetshaving has erased the need entirely.

Three, skip the pre-shave oil. I don't think it is needed if you have a good lather.

Four, try a new shave cream. Although I like the trumpers Violet, I find it harder to build a good lather with. If you're new to wetshaving, lather is of prime importance. I might suggest Taylors Avocado - one of my personal favorites and one of the easiest to lather.

Five, don't put the shaving cream directly on your face. Get a bowl. Put the brush in the cream, and THEN build a lather in the bowl. Then wet your face. THEN apply the lather in the bowl to your face with the brush. There's some great photos on this site of how to build great lather and what exactly your lather should look like. Try to learn from these.

Six, based on the photos, it looks like the problem is more along your jawline than your neck. It also appears that in that particular area your hair grows in a NE-SW direction. And I'm guessing that on the other side it grows in a NW-SE direction. THIS is the direction you should be shaving. Maybe letting the hair grow out and taking more close up photos would help you learn the patterns of your hair and give you a better idea of where on your face you should be shaving in what direction. As a beginner, I definitely suggest staying with the grain.

Seven, Try only two gentle passes at the most for the first month. Make sure you wash off the residual shave cream and rewet the face between passes.

Finally, stick with one aftershave. I'm not familiar with either the Skin Tonic or the Bigelow aftershave lotion you're using, but it seems like overkill to me. The more stuff you have on your face, the greater the likelihood that your pores will clog.

I'm outta ideas, but I sincerely wish you the best of luck. Keep trying. And keep us updated on your progress.

Get back to basics...., Consider the following

Stop using the oil.

Spend $5-$10 on a Gillette Tech razor (see review section) - the Futur is an aggressive razor.

Do as you already do - ignore those who say different - SHAVE WITH THE GRAIN, later maybe try diagonal & horizontal strokes, NEVER SHAVE AGAINST THE GRAIN.

Consider purchasing an Alum block - it acts as a astringent & anticeptic.

Just use the one post shave lotion - & only a very tiny amount.

Remember to stretch your skin when you shave.
For a while shave every other day & just the one pass if you can.
Never do more than two passes in the future, you risk irritating your skin.
Consider using an un-perfumed cream - the violet can give a reaction.

Bartleby posted while I was writing mine - good advice from him, mine overlaps quite a bit.

I've just noticed I've become a senior member:eek:

everyone--thanks for the replies...they sound like they're going to be really useful.

combining everyone's advice--

i'm going to:
1. stop using the scrub or only use it on the forehead and nose (t-zone)
2. stop using the pre-shave oil
3. maybe try a lighter razor rather than the futur
4. try shaving my neck in a NW-SE path--I didn't realize thats how the hair grew until someone pointed it out in my pics.
5. buy some coral skin food.
6. if this doesn't work after a few weeks try the PFB vanish someone suggested...(it has more chemicals) and from the sound of things...the less you put on your face--the better.
7. stop touching my face--i don't do it a lot, but like most people...i occasionally rest my face on my hand, etc.

i'll keep you guys posted on how things go. again--i really appreciate the response...i was just about to give up on shaving all together!
It might have a little to do with your technique. Try this next time; hold the razor very lightly with your fingers (thumb, index, and middle finger). By light, I mean just light enough to where you don't drop it, sort of a lifeless grip. DON'T SQUEEZE THE HANDLE. Let the weight of the razor head do the work. DON'T USE PRESSURE. Your hold should be so light that the razor head will move and adjust itself with the contours of your face. Also make sure your wrist is loose too so it won’t hinder the free movement of the razor head. You should try to just make light contact with the skin, NOT FORCEFULLY move the razor head across your skin. With the light touch, it'll almost feel like the blade is making contact with the hair and not your skin.
I too have suffered from a similiar problem although not quite as bad. I wouldn't give up on the facial scrub entirely. I shave every other day but use the scrub in place of shaving on my "off day." I would not use it the night before you shave or the day of the shave, just on your "off days". No more than 3 times a week. I would probably keep it to twice a week. I also highly recommend keeping your hands off your face. Best of luck.
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