How to Get Rid of Razor Bumps (Especially With a Beach Honeymoon on the Way)
Ah, yes, razor bumps. An inevitable side effect of shaving—or are they? It may seem like every time you shave—especially your bikini line—those oh-so-uncomfortable little red razor bumps pop up and refuse to go away. And to deal with them right before a beach honeymoon? No, thank you.
So what causes razor bumps, and how do you get rid of them? Read on to get all of your razor burn questions answered by the pros, including a dermatologist and a celebrity makeup artist (the latter of which works with a slew of male stars, too, so she knows the hazards or razor burn all too well!).
In this Article:
- What Causes Razor Bumps?
- How to Get Rid of Razor Bumps – Fast
- How to Get Rid of Razor Bumps – Bikini
- How to Prevent Razor Bumps
When you shave any part of your body, you remove the top layer of your skin, which can create what NYC-based dermatologist, Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, calls "micro-injuries." They cause the irritation, burning, redness and dryness—a.k.a. the razor bumps (officially pseudofolliculitis barbae in the medical world).
A few things that can make razor burn even worse? Shaving dry skin, using a dull blade and not moisturizing as soon as you're done shaving. And this sad truth: "Unfortunately, many of us were taught to shave against the grain, but that's actually what causes razor burn!" makeup artist Jessi Butterfield, who works with Kurt Russell and Francesca Eastwood, tells The Knot. But don’t worry—she has more than one solution for you.
So now that you know what causes razor burn, you're probably already wondering something else: How do I reduce the razor bumps? And quickly? After all, you don’t want razor burn to have you hiding behind a sarong in [insert dream tropical locale here].
Here's what our pros suggest when it comes to how to get rid of razor bumps on the fly:
- Go cold. Splash cold water on razor bumps as soon as you see them to shrink pores and soothe the skin.
- Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. You should always moisturize as soon as you’re done shaving, but especially as soon as you see razor bumps. Those micro-injuries require a hydrating balm to heal.
- Apply an over-the-counter cortisone cream. "It'll reduce the irritation, and you don't need a prescription," says Kanchanapoomi Levin. Start with your moisturizer, then add the cortisone right on top.
- Apply an aftershave product. They’re quite literally made to minimize razor burn. Don't have one? Butterfield condones stealing from your S.O. (Hers uses Baxter of California Aftershave Balm, and she's obsessed.) The makeup artist also recommends Leonor Greyl Huile de Magnolia ("super luxurious and smells amazing") and Boiron Calendula Gel ("instantly cooling and absorbs really fast").
- Aloe up. Looking for something natural? If you're already at the drugstore, head to the sun-care aisle and pick up a bottle of aloe vera, which can heal a whole host of issues, including razor burn. "It's good for more than just recovering from falling asleep by the pool!" Butterfield notes.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that when it comes to razor bumps, bikini razor bumps are the most uncomfortable—and the most common. And as it turns out, there's a specific reason for that.
"The hair in the bikini area is coarse and thick," notes Kanchanapoomi Levin. "Therefore, people are more likely to shave with multiple passes, which exacerbates razor burn."
Because the skin in that area is especially sensitive, it also requires the most care. "For the bikini area, I still recommend following a shave with cold water and an aftershave,” Butterfield tells The Knot. "That said, you want to stay as natural as possible, because let's be real: This is one area in which you don't want to risk it!"
Instead of the full lineup listed in the section above, stick to just the Boiron's Calendula Gel and the aloe vera—two natural products that can help you avoid razor burn without leaving you with a UTI.
You now know what causes razor bumps and how to get rid of them—hopefully, as quickly as they came. Still, according to both Kanchanapoomi Levin and Butterfield, the real trick is treating your skin before you start shaving, which will help you minimize the chance of getting razor burn in the first place.
So next time you get ready to lather up, keep this in mind to prevent razor bumps:
- Wet the skin and hair with warm water. Then add a gentle soap. This will both soften and clean the skin before you get down to business.
- Use a sharp blade. And make sure it's clean! As soon as it becomes difficult to shave or your hair is getting caught, that means it's time to change your blade.
- Don't forget the shaving gel. When you use a sharp blade in combination with shaving gel, you can catch all the hair with just one pass, lessening the likelihood of both razor bumps and ingrown hairs.
- Shave in the direction that the hair is growing! As Butterfield notes, “Shaving with the grain may take an extra pass or two, but your hair follicles won’t get inflamed that way.”
- Moisturize the skin after shaving. This ensures that the skin barrier is moist and healthy after the micro-trauma that shaving can cause.
- Play it extra safe with your bikini line. It is an extremely sensitive place, after all! Instead of typical shaving gel, stick to over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, both of which are appropriate for prepping sensitive skin against razor burn.