Beauty

Shaving: how to prevent ingrown hairs for sensitive skin

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Lucy Partington
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There’s nothing worse than ingrown hairs or a raw shaving rash – especially if you’ve got sensitive skin – but there is a razor that can solve that.

While the choice of whether you shave your legs, underarms, face – anywhere, really, is totally yours – there’s no denying that the actual act of doing it can sometimes cause more problems than it’s worth.

That’s especially true for the people who have sensitive skin. Not only is it more prone to flare-ups and has a tendency to be more red and irritable, but sensitivity can also be a real problem when you’re shaving. Most razors are designed with a one-size-fits-all approach, but with a massive 60% of people claiming to suffer with sensitive skin, that’s not always good enough.

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But Venus has come along and are helping to bridge that gap in order to make the whole shaving experience a whole lot more enjoyable. Its just-launched Extra Smooth Sensitive with Skin Elixir razor, £10.99, has a ‘unique skin elixir’ that’s three times more moisturising than the original Extra Smooth razor, and as dermatologist Dr Anita Sturnham explains, it also provides powerful lubrication.

“The skin elixir provides a cushion of aloe vera – a great antioxidant that has great soothing properties – so when you shave it not only provides a smooth contour as it glides across skin, but it also helps remove irritation,” she says. “The razor has a moisture ribbon, too, which helps reduce the risk of nicks and cuts.”

It has five-blade technology and extra-thin blades which also helps reduce the risk of irritation. Clever, no?

Aside from sensitivity, the other common complaint when it comes to shaving is the risk of ingrown hairs, and despite what it may seem, they’re actually fairly preventable. Here are Dr Sturnham’s top tips:

How to stop ingrown hairs when shaving

Look after your razor properly

“Storing it in a damp bathroom and using blunt blades isn’t going to set you off on the right foot.” That means it’s worth seeking out a clean, dry place, away from moisture that you can keep your razor when it’s not in use, and always replace your blades regularly – ideally between every five and 10 shaves.

Don’t dry shave

Especially if you’re prone to sensitivity. “Soaking skin for a few minutes helps to hydrate the epidermal barrier – that means the top layer is plumped and will provide a nice even surface for the razor to glide along. Always shave in the direction of hair growth, too. 

Don’t make shaving the last thing you do

While dry shaving is a complete no-no, it’s also not a good idea for it to be the last part of your routine. “Sitting in a bath for half an hour before shaving can actually make hairs swell, and they’ll be coarser which can make them harder to shave and can result in sharp edges or will make them more likely to be ingrown.” 

Exfoliation is key

“Exfoliation can help ingrown hairs. Don’t do it on the day you shave – a day or two before is best – and I like to use fruit acids and fruit enzyme exfoliators. They’re effective without being too harsh.”

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Lucy Partington

Lucy Partington is Stylist’s beauty editor. She’s obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she’ll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.