7 Shaving Tips for Black Men
Razor bumps often top the list of black men shaving problems. If you want to achieve a smooth, pain-free shave, check out these seven shave tips for black men.
The perfect shave can be an elusive beast for a lot of guys, regardless of their skin color. But it’s no secret that black guys in particular struggle to achieve a smooth, pain-free shave.
Razor bumps and shave irritation affect black men more than any other skin color. Why is that?
We’ll answer that below and provide a few black men shaving tips.
First, here are three things you need to know about shaving for black men:
- Black men are more prone to razor bumps due to their tightly-curled hair.
- Severe ingrown hairs can manifest themselves as pseudofolliculitis barbae, a condition which commonly affects black males.
- Using a double-edge safety razor and using the right shave products can help reduce razor bumps and razor burn.
Black Men and Razor Bumps: Why It Happens
Razor bumps—which are simply ingrown hairs caused by shaving—frequently top the list of black men shaving woes.
When a single ingrown hair turns into a cluster of them, dermatologists call it pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB).
Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a skin condition which occurs when an individual’s shaving technique causes the hair to grow backwards or sideways into the skin.
According to a 2010 study, pseudofolliculitis predominantly affects black men due to their curly hair type (see claim: “…it affects up to 1 of every 5 caucasian individuals and that it is much more common in black persons.”)
Guys with curly hair are more likely to suffer from PFB because the hair tends to curl backwards into the skin after it’s shaved.
At best, PFB causes pimple-like bumps all over the recently-shaved area.
At worst, it can lead to the development of keloids and unsightly scars (see claim: “Keloids have also been known to develop after the onset of PFB, giving rise to extensive unsightly scars.”)
As a black guy, what does this mean for you?
It means you’ll probably need to take a few extra precautions when shaving to avoid pesky razor bumps.
7 Shave Tips for Black Men
How do you stop nasty razor bumps and shave irritation from ruining your handsome mug?
Sure, you could always grow a beard and avoid your razor altogether.
But if you need to shave for work, growing out your facial hair is probably not an option.
In that case, just follow these black men shaving tips and you can enjoy a smooth, pain-free shave every time:
Tip #1: Switch to a Double-Edge Safety Razor
If you’re shaving with a multi-blade razor, do yourself and your skin a favor by switching to a double-edge safety razor.
This old-school razor is the superior choice for black guys (and guys with sensitive skin in general) due to its double-edge design, which provides the ideal angle for a smooth and comfortable shave.
Tip #2: Stick to Wet Shaving
We’ve touched upon the merits of wet shaving vs. dry shaving before on our blog.
Spoiler alert: Wet shaving comes out the clear winner in almost every way.
Wet shaving is particularly important for black guys because the warm water causes the hair follicle swell.
When the hair follicle is swollen with water, you’re less likely to create a sharp, uneven tip with your razor.TRY MEN’S SKIN CARE
Tip #3: Exfoliate Beforehand
If you’re not already exfoliating your skin, now is a great time to start.
Regular exfoliation comes with tons of skin benefits, such as improving skin tone, reducing acne breakouts and greatly improving the quality of your shave.
Exfoliating your skin with a gentle face scrub will help remove the dead skin cells that can clog your razor and contribute to an uneven shave.
Use your scrub a minimum of twice per week and you’ll be amazed at how much better your skin looks.
Tip #4: Use Pre-Shave Oil
Pre-shave oil is a must-have for black guys because it further helps soften those curly beard hairs.
Applying a quality pre-shave oil before you shave will also help your razor glide over your skin like butter for a smooth, pain-free shave.
Tip #5: Be Picky with Your Shave Cream
Ditch your foamy shave cream—it’s not doing your skin any favors.
Instead, look for a shave gel for sensitive skin that is formulated to calm inflammation and redness.
Shave gels for sensitive skin typically contain skin-soothing ingredients such as Aloe Vera and Calendula Extract while providing skin with hydrating lubrication.
Once you make the switch, you won’t ever look back.
Tip #6: Shave with the Grain
Let’s talk shaving technique: Do you shave with or against the grain?
Meaning, do you shave in the direction your hair grows or against it?
Although shaving against the grain can help you achieve a buttery-smooth shave, it often comes at a steep cost—namely, razor bumps and shave irritation.
Switching up your technique by shaving with the grain may help improve your skin.
Just be sure to avoid taking multiple passes at the same area, which can lead to shave irritation.TAKE THE SKIN CARE QUIZ
Tip #7: Keep Skin Moisturized
After you finish shaving, take the time to apply a soothing face lotion.
This will help nourish the skin and prevent further irritation.
Since black guys typically have an oily skin type, be sure to choose a facial moisturizer that won’t clog pores.
If you’re black and have struggled with shaving all your life, give these shaving tips a shot.
But if nothing seems to work for you, it may be time to see your dermatologist.
Life is too short to put up with stubborn ingrown hairs all your life.
Ribera, M et al. “Pseudofoliculitis de la barba” [Pseudofolliculitis barbae]. Actas dermo-sifiliograficas vol. 101,9 (2010): 749-57.
Ogunbiyi, Adebola. “Pseudofolliculitis barbae; current treatment options.” Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology vol. 12 241-247. 16 Apr. 2019.