10 Tips for a Better Shave on Your Neck

by A Manly Guest Contributor on August 9, 2012 · 79 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Shaving

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Mark “Mantic59″ Herro.

The neck can be a particularly troublesome area to shave.  Some just can’t seem to get a close enough shave.  Others are troubled by razor burn with redness and pain, nicks, cuts, and ingrown hairs.  Here are 10 strategies that can help tame the neck:

1. Detailed Grain Mapping

The “grain” of the beard–the direction(s) the hairs grow in–can be completely counter-intuitive when it comes to the neck.  They can even sometimes grow in a circular pattern.  Understanding how the hair grows on your neck is the first step in overcoming shaving problems there. To accomplish this, create a map of your beard with a mapping aid like this one. Using a mirror and gentle circular motions of the fingers, determine the direction(s) your beard is growing in and sketch that onto the face map.  Writing arrows in the direction of growth in each box will help you understand how to best shave those areas.

Shaving with the grain initially is one of the basic concepts in shaving, particularly important if you are using a multi-blade cartridge razor.  It’s a bit less important with a double-edged razor (you can “cheat” a little and follow the predominant direction without worrying about every twist and turn), but still necessary to keep in mind.  Reducing the beard in stages is the key take-away here.

2. Careful Preparation

Properly preparing the skin of the neck is often overlooked: copious amounts of hot water or gently cleaning the skin on the face doesn’t get to the neck.  Pay attention and be sure that warm towel or “barbershop prep” lather covers the neck!  Some shavers troubled by ingrown hairs on the neck should try a good, thorough scrubbing of the area before putting razor to skin.

3. Pre-shave Oil

I’m not a big fan of pre-shave oils, but some have found that applying some on the neck helps reduce irritation. Wet your face, apply the oil, and then apply your shaving cream.

4. Use Cold Water to Shave

Consider, after a normal prep, using cold water to shave with.  Some shavers have reported a significant reduction in irritation with cold water shaving.  Here is the Art of Manliness guide to cold water shaving.

5. Use a “Gentle” Razor With a High-Performance Blade

First, what do I mean by a “gentle” razor? In the world of DE shaving, some razors have a reputation for being “gentle” because they’re engineered to expose less of the blade edge when shaving. While you won’t get as close of a shave with a gentle DE razor, it’s definitely much more comfortable and causes less irritation. Some popular gentle razors include the Merkur Classic, Weishi, and many of the vintage Gillette safety razors. On adjustable DE razors you can adjust the razor for a gentler or more aggressive shave. Dial down for a milder shave on the neck, then dial up for other parts of your face.

One of the things you can do to further reduce irritation when shaving on sensitive areas like the neck is to combine a gentle razor with a high performance razor blade like the blades from Feather. A gentle razor that doesn’t expose much blade to the skin, coupled with a high performance blade, provides a much more efficient cut, reducing the chance for irritation.

Adjusting a cartridge razor (like a Gillette Fusion) in this fashion is tougher as the variety of available blade sources is limited.  If you’re using a cartridge razor, your best bet to reduce irritation is to go with a cartridge with fewer blades.  However that is not “etched in stone,” so some experimentation may be necessary.

6. Flattening–Not Over-Stretching–The Skin

Let’s face it — the neck is not a flat area; it’s a terrain of curves and odd angles.  Many shavers will tilt their head upwards to pull the skin of the neck taut.  This may help, but it doesn’t really flatten the area.  Instead, try leaning forward and tilting the head back SLIGHTLY.  Shorter strokes on the razor may also help cover flatter areas more consistently.

7. Use No Pressure on the Razor

No pressure means NO PRESSURE!

8. Try Some “Advanced” Shaving Tricks on Small Areas

This is not for everyone, but if you have small areas of stubble or rough patches, you can try some techniques like “J-Hooking” or “Blade Buffing” to cover those areas without re-shaving–and possibly getting irritation–over a wider area.  However, over-doing these advanced techniques can be a prescription for trouble if not done carefully and judiciously.

9. Thoroughly Clean the Neck After the Shave

A very thorough rinsing of the neck with warm water after the shave (before applying aftershave) will help remove any remaining lather residue, particularly important for those prone to ingrown hairs.  I personally go one step further: after the warm water rinse, I soak a cotton pad in witch hazel and wipe down the area.  You may be surprised what the pad picks up. Follow with a brief cool water rinse and aftershave product.

10. Settle for Less

Do you really need that “baby’s butt smooth” neck?  Maybe it’s time to skip that third pass and go for looking “presentable.”

What have you found that improved your shave on the neck?

__________________

Mark Herro (AKA “Mantic59″) has been showing the world “what your father didn’t teach you about shaving” for the past six years with videos that have become the seminal “how to shave” tutorials.  He also shares expertise about shaving and grooming at www.sharpologist.com

{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alan August 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Don’t shave anything! Works for me.

2 james jay August 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Vintage Gillette safety razors for the win!! Been using them for years now and I get less face irritation.

3 Kyle Kristopher Phillips August 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I have found that showering before I shave helps. Especiallly when in the shower I exfoliate my skin using just plain old white sugar. To do this properly you simply place about a half cup of white sugar in a bowl, wet iit a little, take a small scoop and rub it into your face and neck in a circular motion, repeat until the bowl is empty then wash your face.

4 D.H. Sell August 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm

http://www.dollarshaveclub.com/

Reading this article made me think of Dollar Shave Club….their video isn’t good….it’s F’ing Great.

5 Mac August 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

I’ll have to try these tips. I found long ago that I needed to use really hot water and keep the blade really hot and clean too. I use a fancy multi blade Schick because I just assumed they were better, and also the only times I have tried to go back to the old 2 blades it seemed like a much worse shave. I start at the bottom of the neck and pull down towards my buddy in little sections at a time so that the razor doesnt get too clogged up and irritate my face. I also dont use any shaving cream. I find the lotion strip on the razor is enough. When Im done I inspect with my fingers and come against the grain on any remaining hair. Then I take a cold shower and make sure I get plenty on my neck to close the pores back up. This whole process by trial and error works great for me. BUT…I only shave every three days or so. If I shave every day I have trouble with bleeding. So I’ll check out some of these methods.

6 Jared August 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Cartridges with fewer blades? I agree that maybe more than 3 is overkill, but anything less than 2? The only ones I found like that were like using a jagged soup can lid. At least with the lid you get soup.

7 Matt August 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm

These are some great tips. I’m a curly haired guy with sensitive skin, so I’ve always been prone to razor rash and ingrown hairs. I started using a safety razor and shaving soap instead of the cartridge razor and water (I’m allergic to shaving cream) I used before. Presto, no razor rash!

I’ve used a bunch o the tricks on this list to get my neck shaved closer without irritating it.

8 Matt August 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I have found increasing the blade angle when going against the grain can help when using a safety razor or straight razor. If the ideal blade angle is 30 degrees try bringing the blade to a more perpendicular angle. Also, focus on keeping the blade angle constant as you move up the contour of the neck. I find extending my elbow out so the whole arm moves prevents the wrist from pivoting and moving in an arc.

9 James August 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Gonna give the oil a whirl, and wow-cold shaving? That sounds interesting. I do everything else already, limiting myself to two passes WITH the grain, anything else just tears up my neck.

10 Bill August 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I only shave my neck and keep the rest of my beard to a short stubble to cover some scars from an accident a few years ago. Being a man that’s very prone to ingrown hairs I just wanted to thank the author. Hopefully these tips will help. Thanks Again!

11 Josh August 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Careful (though not obsessive) has helped me the most. I haven’t tried any of the high end products for this – just Dove soap. Scrubbing gently in circular motions for a minute or so usually results in a better shave with less tugging and less blood.

Also, just being willing to accept a presentable shave has been key. I don’t shave against the grain on the sides of my neck any more. Across is sufficient for a good quality shave. I’d rather have a good shave with comfort than pursue that baby’s butt smooth and feel the burn all day long.

Just my two cents.

Oh, that, and following Mantic’s and AOM’s advice, I quit using multi-blade cartridges and went to DE. That’s been very helpful.

12 H B Pritchard August 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I learned to shave with a vintage Gillette DE razor. When I joined the Army we weren’t allowed to have anything other than a safety or cartridge razor. I had to shave every day and my face and neck would become very irritated. I’ve switched back to the Gillette adjustable DE for a few years now and haven’t looked back. When done correctly it gives a much better shave and has the added benefit of my wife being scared to use it for her legs.

13 Kenan August 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I have some damn coarse facial hair and every time I use a cartridge razor I get tons of bumps and ingrown hairs. I shower preshave, use Somersets Tough Stubble shave oil, Merkur HD Classic and Feather blades. Usually once with and then once across the grain will get the bulk then just touch up….. when it’s not beardface time.

14 KG Wiley August 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Tried cold water shaving and WILL NOT go back to warm / hot water. Using a DE Merkur, badger hair shave brush and good old Proraso or TOBS, I might get an ingrown hair every month or so, at the most. This is coming from a face and neck that are very prone to ingrown hairs and clogged pores.
If you really want to clean it up well, the witch hazel works great.

15 J. Allen August 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Mantic taught me how to shave. I owe him a great deal of gratitude.

16 Shelton August 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Thanks for this. Catch-22. I hate shaving my neck, but I also hate having an unshaven neck. It feels untidy. Even when I’m growing out a beard I shave the neck. I’ll try some of these tips. I find soaping up, washing it off, then soaping up again to shave a good way to reduce irritation. It never would have occurred to me try cold water. I’ll see if it works for me.

17 Josh August 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm

I used to get wicked razor burn on my neck. I’ve been shaving in the shower, other than the holiday month of No-Shave November, for about 3 years now and it is great. I make sure my face is super warm an clean, let the shaving cream sit on my face for a minute or two to soften the hair, and that works great for me!

18 Raul P August 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Thank god for this post. The grain of the beard on my neck goes from left to right and I’ve ALWAYS had irritation under my chin for hours after I shave. I’ve tried with the grain, against the grain, perpendicular. The only thing that helped was going electric (and we all know that doesn’t get a shave nearly as close as a razor.) I am definitely going to be trying these tips.

19 Joshua August 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Get yourself a small mirror with suction cups at Target and shave in the shower before washing. I shave every other day and I no longer have problems with bleeding. I also use nivea for sensitive skin and shick hydro cartridges. I change my blades about once a week.

20 L.T. August 9, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Always used to have trouble with the neck area in the form of ingrown hairs. What works for me is a hot shower prep, Shave Secret pre shave oil, a Gillette Fatboy or Slim set on 7, a Feather blade and with the grain passes. I follow that up with a cold water rinse and a final pass…again with the grain. Then a thorough rinse followed with Thayer’s WH and a good aftershave. After years of ingrowns my neck has never looked better.

21 GDCarrington August 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Mark,

Excellent article. Concerning shaving oils, sometimes they work better by applying to the face a minute before you take a shower. Warm water and steam can help the oils lubricate the face before leaving the shower and preparing to shave.

It can also help before the application of a hot towel in preparation for the shave as well. Apply the oil then use the hot towel as you normally would.

22 Modest Man August 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Great to see Sharpologist writing for AoM! I almost wish my facial hair grew in thicker just so I could apply some “advanced shaving techniques”. Then again, not having to shave everyday at 27 is pretty awesome, so…

-B

23 ScreamingBadger August 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm

I shave in the shower and after letting hot water run on my face and neck, I shave my neck three times – once with the grain, once against the grain, and once across the grain letting hot water run on my neck then lathering up again between each run. My neck is baby-butt smooth every day and I haven’t had an ingrown hair or razor burn for months.

24 Billy August 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm

I find the most important part is ABSOLUTELY no pressure. It is true with both a Safety DE and a Straight Edge. Remember: the metal in your hand is VERY sharp, it can cut the hair on it’s own, all you need to do is get a good lather (Wet lather preferably) and slowly move the blade across it. It may take multiple passes, but it will be worth it when your neck is smooth, and not sliced to heck, or razor burned to sin.

25 William August 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I have to second the idea of using cold water during a shave to reduce irritation. After my first attempt at a cold water shave, I felt an immediate difference.

26 Morgen August 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm

I’d say a hot shower before hand is the best (or at least the easiest) thing you can do to make things easier.

It was a great article, but for me that’s the easiest part of my face to shave. If you happen to have any suggestions for shaving the mustache/upper lip area I’d love to hear them, at least for me, shaving the upper lip is like rubbing my face with steel wool.

27 Eb Steward August 10, 2012 at 12:31 am

I am a 30 yo hairdresser by trade and have been shaving since middle school. I get to educate many young(typically fatherless)men on the arts of proper shaving and beard grooming.
I always prep by washing w/ warm water, beard hair usually has an extra layer called medulla beneath the cuticle and cortex so it takes longer to really soak up moisture and soften. I use a shaving gel w/ real essential oils that moisturize (to the point I don’t use aftershave or lotion). I let that set for a couple of minutes.

28 Eb Steward August 10, 2012 at 12:31 am

I am a 30 yo hairdresser by trade and have been shaving since middle school. I get to educate many young(typically fatherless)men on the arts of proper shaving and beard grooming.
I use a shaving gel w/ real essential oils that moisturize (to the point I don’t use aftershave or lotion). I let that set for a couple of minutes.

29 Eb Steward August 10, 2012 at 12:32 am

I have noticed that my face is very tender and sensitive after I shave off a well aged beard & when I shaved regularly I have Marlboro man skin that can handle a good shave. Which leads me to my theory that most guys who complain because they don’t shave enough to get familiar w/ their own face to be able to ever enjoy a good shave.

30 Eb Steward August 10, 2012 at 12:34 am

My face is very tender and sensitive after I shave off a well aged beard & when I shaved regularly I have Marlboro man skin that can handle a good shave. Which leads me to my theory that most guys who complain because they don’t shave enough to get familiar w/ their own face to be able to ever enjoy a good shave.

31 Eb Steward August 10, 2012 at 12:35 am

My face is very tender and sensitive after I shave off a well aged beard & when I shaved regularly I have leathery skin that can handle a good shave. Which leads me to my theory that most guys who complain because they don’t shave enough to get familiar w/ their own face to be able to ever enjoy a good shave.

32 Digital Native August 10, 2012 at 12:37 am

I just started laser hair removal on my neck thanks to Groupon. I’m getting amazing results!

33 Andrew August 10, 2012 at 2:11 am

Some of us have to shave for our jobs. I am a firefighter and have to shave everyday. I have been following all shaving articles on Art of Manliness and enacted many of the tips described here. Looking forwards to trying these out because this is my biggest problem!

34 Peter August 10, 2012 at 2:21 am

I *love* Feather razor blades. Been DE shaving for a long time now, but always with cheap blades I found in my local supermarket.

Stumbled on to Feathers through an online store, and wow. Going from cartridge to double-edge was amazing, but stepping up to a good blade was another leap forward.

35 spacemonkeyjon August 10, 2012 at 5:39 am

Started using a straight razor two months ago and haven’t had razor burn since.

36 Derek August 10, 2012 at 7:22 am

I had terrible razor burn on my neck my entire shaving life, until I started watching Mantic59′s videos. Great stuff.

I’d add to this list that after the shave you should use Nivea aftershave, let that dry, and 10 minutes later slap on some Gold Bond powder. No more redness or bumps.

37 Antaine August 10, 2012 at 8:58 am

I have sensitive skin prone to ingrown hairs combined with very heavy whiskers all over my face (not just my neck). I’ve found that the best method for me incorporates the following elements:

1) straight razor – for several reasons. First, I know I can keep it at its sharpest. Any razor you’re not stropping will have developed a thin film on it after the first use (this goes for old safety razors as well). The film is a little bit of soap (no matter how well it’s rinsed) and some minerals from the water once it is allowed to air dry. Second, multiple blades (like in the cartridges) tend to get clogged on me. Third, I can sharpen it at any time, I don’t have to extend a cartridge several days past its prime because I forgot to buy more and won’t be able to get to the store until the weekend.

2) I shower first and allow the hot water to work like the hot towel. I don’t really have a place that works for comfortably keeping my head back with a wet towel on it, and since I’m showering anyway…

3) I mix my lather with cold water. I find the coolness rather pleasant, actually. The hot shower softens the whiskers a little, and the cool kiss of the foam causes the skin to contract a little and the whiskers to stand up (making them easier to cut without ingrown hairs).

38 Stephen August 10, 2012 at 9:36 am

I haven’t had issues. My razor is a DE Merkur classic and I’m using Astra platinum razor blades (cheapest for the quality on Amazon). All this combined with Italian Omega (eucalyptus) solid soap does and a good lotion does the trick for me.

39 Mohan August 10, 2012 at 10:53 am

I use a DE Merkur classic with Crystal Double Edge blades.

After reading this article, I tried the cold water shave and it worked great. I don’t think I’ve had this close a shave in years.

Thanks for the tip!

40 Mat August 10, 2012 at 11:20 am

I find good preparation the night before most helpful. If I’m going through a difficult spell, I vigorously scrub the night before (almost to the point of worsening the irritation ), apply after shave balm, hydrate well prior to bed and invariably see significant improvement the next morning .

I’ve been very surprised how much better my shave is if I’m well hydrated.

41 M August 13, 2012 at 2:45 am

Mantic, your videos helped me jump into the traditional shaving world 3 and a half years ago, and shortly after, i started going to this site as well. It’s great to see these two elements in one place!

42 Jarick August 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

I started shaving with a DE last week after reading about it quite a bit on this site. That alone has eliminated all of the redness and irritation. After about 10 shaves, I’m far smoother than before.

The neck is still tricky but I found shaving two passes almost against the grain works very well. I also found using light pressure is better than none.

I also found my 1960′s Slim Adjustable is a little out of alignment, which caused a lot of irritation and burn on the neck. My new Lord L6 isn’t as aggressive but is pain free and consistent. I plan on trying a newer Merkur adjustable someday and maybe even a straight razor.

Thanks for all the tips and videos, and I’m trying to turn as many people on to the old school shaving as possible! We need to get good old razors, blades, and soaps back in the stores.

43 Adam August 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I grew my beard out and shave my neck every 2-3 days. Feels great and no more irritation.

44 Shane W. August 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm

One thing that works for me, when shaving with a multiple blade razor, is to wash my face with hot water, then heat the blades up with hot water and shave with that, but once done to immediately splash cold water onto my face. For me it really seems to keep the irritation down and gives me a good smooth shave. Running the blades under hot water makes them cut through the hair with more ease, like warm butter, which allows my strokes to be more fluid and not choppy.

45 Aaron T. August 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I must say great tips. This is the one area I still have trouble with. Mantic59 your you-tube videos on shaving technique have been a lot of help. You guys should check them out.

46 Corey August 16, 2012 at 9:15 am

I used to use a Mach3 but a few months ago switched to a DE “safety” razor. and as far as I am concerned there is no going back! My shaves are much closer and actually last longer! I can almost go 2 days between shaves…… Now let me tell you, I have thick heavy growth, If I let my beard grow for a week, Ill need an elec. trimmer to shave it. I use a Merker HD or the Merker thin handle one (Cant remember the name) with Gillete blades, These blades are super sharp and glide perfectly. I thought that going to less blades, I would not get as good a shave, I have found the opposite to be true. it took my skin, especially my neck. a while to get used to it, but it is worth it. My routine is as follows:
Hot shower
Pre shave oil (Eshaves Almond oil or the unscented one from Art of Shaving)
Lather (Proraso or unscented Art of Shaving) with a hot water soaked FINE badger hair brush
3 Passes on my shave, 1st with grain, 2nd against, 3rd side ways….. As I said I have thick growth……
I dont put pressure on the razor I let the razor do the work, thats another good thing about the heavy DE razors……
I then rinse with warm water checking for trouble spots (usually on my neck or my jaw line) Take excess cream from brush and apply by hand, and touch up…. sometimes using the buffing or J hooking method.
Rinse with cold water, Apply Allum Stone if needed and then
Unscented after shave balm.

I have found this to work best for me, and again I get a much cleaner, closer longer lasting shave then I did with a multi blade. The biggest thing I learned is that you dont try to take all the hair off with one pass, go for beard reduction.

47 Dan B. August 16, 2012 at 9:57 am

I was a Mach 3 shaver for years, but I have a Brillo-pad-stiff beard and shave about every other day (I just rock the five-o’clock shadow for a day). I was burning through a cartridge a week, even when the wife wasn’t stealing it for I-don’t-want-to-know what.

At about 3 bucks a pop, I decided that Gillette has a lovely product that I can’t just fathom keeping in a post-recession world.

I recently switched to non-adjustable DE razor for the economy; the blades last longer and are substantially cheaper, but really had to relearn how to shave.

Now I use a Merkur model 180. I get a closer and less irritating shave now than ever, but the neck is still a challenge. I find plenty of pre-shave oil (don’t buy fancy crap, plain ol’ vegetable skin oil is just fine) works best and seems to have a cumulative affect. Doing a with-the-grain first pass will at least make me look presentable without so much as a patch of redness, but if I want smoother, I find a cold rinse followed by a well-oiled second pass of blade buffing seems to do the trick.

But I’m not going for baby-butt smooth on my neck, since it’s just too much work for something that’s going to get rough again half-way through the day.

48 fred August 16, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Trader Joe’s has a great shaving cream. Lots of lotion in it, which tends to stay on after shaving and conditions your skin. It makes going back over an area uneventful, unlike when using foam or a gel.

49 Dean V. August 16, 2012 at 10:01 pm

This old-school barber shop prep (from the 1911 “Barbers’ Manual” by A.B. Moler) that I learned about on Badger and Blade has made ALL the difference for me.
1. I no longer wash my face before I shave. It washes away your skin’s naturally lubricating oils. Instead, I splash with warm water.
1A. (optional) Apply a preshave, such as Geo Trumper Skin Food or Proraso. I don’t like preshave oil.
2. Apply lather (a pre-lather) with badger brush in circular motions.
3. Gently massage it in with fingertips in circular motion for 2-3 minutes, getting into the root of the hairs.
4. Apply hot, steamed towels for 3 min. (I lie on couch and use 2 barber towels or a thick turkish cotton hand towel.) The steam pulls sweat and natural oil out of your skin. I have found this to be the best lube of all! Better than any preshave cream or oil. Quick wipe with the warm towel.
4. Easy rinse with warm water (leave some lather on). Relather your face with your brush.
5. Shave. Enjoy the best, smoothest shave of your life!!
6. Cool water rinse. Alum Block. Cool water rinse. Em’s Place Aloe gel or Geo Trumper Skin Food aftershave.
Best shave of my life!!!! Check out:
http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/9745-How-to-Pre-Shave-Prep

50 Dre August 18, 2012 at 8:14 am

Interesting, never had too much trouble with the neck myself other than the little tip of my adam’s apple I seem to nick it 30% of the time.

If in doubt just leave it to the professionals http://youtu.be/NLwBZGmi8X8

51 Steven August 19, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I have started leaving the razor in a small glass of alcohol inbetween uses, the alcohol keeps the residual water from the blade which stops rusting and increases the life spann of the blade by quite a bit.

52 bert macklin August 21, 2012 at 12:01 am

Shave in the shower

53 Kamil August 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Buy shavers from http://www.dollarshaveclub.com/ They are really really inexpensive. Work amazing for me (I have a really thick beard). And they cost next to nothing. Even if they don’t work for you (which I know they will), you spent $4 to test them. They are a great way for someone living on their own to always stay well shaved without spending $40 on shavers constantly.

54 Adrian August 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Use a good quality shave cream and brush instead of cheap can foam.

55 Jim Rob August 31, 2012 at 6:53 am

A couple things:

1) If using a multi-blade cartridge razor, make sure the blades are not clogged with shaved-off whiskers. Remove the old whiskers gently with an old toothbrush.

2) When you cut your food, you don’t press your knife straight down as if to chop or hack the food. You press down while pulling the knife toward you or pushing the knife away from you. So don’t shave by hacking: try not to move the razor strictly at a 90-degree angle to the blade. Shave with a slight “slashing” action: Move the blade at a 60 to 75 degree angle with the edge of the blade.

56 Brian September 21, 2012 at 8:41 am

Replace aftershave with Neosporin Cream (Not the Ointment). This eliminates 100% of the burn within 60 seconds, softens your skin and will stop any bleeding from nicks. I made this discovery about 5 years ago and my life has been better since.

57 Adam September 28, 2012 at 6:58 am

The answer to getting a baby smooth irritation free shave is TIME….
Have a hot shower and wash your face/stubble with shampoo then conditioner (leaving the conditioner in for approximately 2 minutes or so), wash your face off thoroughly with hot water (not scalding but hot) and apply shaving foam (i find gillette works well) and leave the shaving foam on your face for a few minutes (3-5 minutes) until you feel its working when the skin starts to tingle. Providing the foam is still thick on your face (if it isn’t apply more foam), start to shave, ensuring that you rinse the razor completely clear of foam and hair after each stroke of the razor. Shave slowly, dont apply more than a feather touch of pressure and let the razor do the work, if you try to shave to quick you pull the hairs as opposed to cutting them. Shave in the direction of the grain and only tilt your head slightly to tighten the skin a little, over tightening of the skins makes the undulations beneath it protrude more and therefore the razor catches the high points. Once completely shaved, wash the face completely clean with warm water and body wash, dry the face completely and then apply aftershave balm such as nivea for men. I would not recommend applying aftershave to the freshly shaved area as it hurts unnecessarily and seems to inflame the skin, if you want to apply aftershave, apply it to the back of your neck in the middle, a little behind each ear, a spray on each wrist just behind where your watch would sit and on the middle of your chest (where your sternum is approximately). The reason I recommend this is that generally we wear aftershave for the women either in our life or that we are currently pursuing, by applying aftershave in the locations I have advised, it means the following, when a lady kisses you either on the mouth or cheeks she does not taste aftershave but gets the desired scent from the aftershave behind your ear. likewise if she hugs you, the scent comes from the back of your neck, if shes falling asleep on you (or better) then the scent emanates from the middle of your chest. If you pass her something, or caress her face then the scent comes from your wrists. This I find is a very good system of shaving and applying aftershave for maximum effect.
I hope it helps.

AR

58 Bryan September 28, 2012 at 9:59 am

My dad gave me a Germania Cutlery Oxford straight razor. It was his dads before that. I honed it real good and stropped it. bought a badger hair shaving brush and Williams mug shaving soap and a styptic pencil. Now I wont ever buy Gillette razors again.Oh, and the shaving soap lasts way longer than a can of shaving cream.I save a ton of money. I love straight razor shaving.

59 karrjin October 24, 2012 at 8:47 am

I don’t understand why you would want to use COLD water while shaving? I use warm and hot water to soften the beard and then use HOT water to warm the blades and clean them between strokes – feels so much nicer.

Also, definitely COLD water when rinsing off because that will close the pores and just makes you feel fresh, doesn’t it?

60 Thierry November 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Do you really need that “baby’s butt smooth” neck? Maybe it’s time to skip that third pass and go for looking “presentable.”

AGREED!!

61 Dan November 28, 2012 at 12:35 am

In general, I have sensitive skin. I always take a shower first, wash my face and neck thoroughly, and then shave with a traditional disposable Gillette razor (without the lubricant strip). I have tried just about all razors and these are the only ones I can use. Rinse with cold water and apply aftershave lotion. Perfecto !!

62 Chris January 28, 2013 at 8:57 am

I use a DE razor. I’ve found using a gentle moisturizer immediately after shaving has helped with neckline irritation both immediately and long-term. I use Cetaphil, a moisturizer that is odorless, non-mentholated, very very unabrasive. Over time a routine of moisturizing my neckline and my whole shave area has cut down on irritation significantly.

63 ryan February 19, 2013 at 7:45 am

Ok, I get it—however, I’m 4 weeks into shaving with a straight razor. Everything is fine UNTIL I get to the neck.Then, it looks like a mine field when I’m done. Not lots of cuts, but the razor burn-rash is bright red and doesn’t go away for about 8 hours. So everyone at work thinks I’m a walking disease. Help. I believe I follow all/most of these steps.should I just stop.

64 Brad March 15, 2013 at 11:40 am

I have issues with ingrown hairs on my neck. I was using tripple blade razors, tried electric razors, and still had the problems. The only thing that works for me now is to use a beard trimmer and gently use it on my neck. Takes forever and sometimes it pulls a random hair, resulting in a cut. However, my neck looks fantastic. No ingrown hairs since switching over. I would love to get a closer shave or find a better alternative. I just wont accept ingrown hairs in my life again.

65 Jared April 26, 2013 at 11:58 am

I have an extremely sensitive neck and have tried everything from shave oils to layering my neck with shampoo nothing seemed to work. I have been using a safety razor for years and still got irritation.What I have found to work is do a single pass with the safety razor at the end of your shave apply some aftershave and go over the neck with a disposable razor. Works for me give it a shot.

66 Neeley April 27, 2013 at 7:17 am

My beard is so thick that I have to shave against the grain to be presentable. That irritates my skin though. So I found that a hot towel & lather work to shave with the grain, then lather again and shave against. Now it’s smooth and looking good. Also, a good quality razor helps a lot.

67 Matt April 28, 2013 at 11:39 pm

It is so simple now I used to get red bumps and burns and all the above .1st Hot water I know it is said the opposite 4 me Hot Water some regular Shampoo conditioner not shampoo I suppose that would work but most likely u will have irritation from shampoo so Hot water a little conditioner slow easy strokes or get some straight Aloe plant as a conditioner that is great stuff especially from the source no irritation then if u want add cold water thats it. I use cheap disposable razors over and over I get all the Ladies LOL.

68 Paul June 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm

My Italian heritage leaves me with a thick beard and even thicker neck hair to go along with it. I’ve found a combo shaving technique works best for avoiding razor burn on the neck. Quite simply, I use a disposable razor for my face and chin and an electric shaver for my neck. Now, I know you’re thinking – dude, that must look weird. In all honesty, if your beard is thick enough to cause problems you will have a shadow no matter what. Here’s my strategy: pre-shower shave your neck with the electric shaver, thoroughly cleanse and rinse in the shower with an exfoliating cream (Neutrogena blackhead remover is a great one). Then, post-shower, shave regularly the rest of your beard on your face and chin. Honestly, it works great. Apply some balm afterwords and maybe even a little razor burn- specialty cream on the troubled areas of your neck. I’ve been using this strategy since I was sixteen – 9 years later and it’s still golden.

69 William June 22, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I’d rather not shave but profession calls for it.
I found The BumpBan to be perfect for my needs. I shave and use it after and in between to keep hairs from ingrowing. It costs less than a movie ticket I highly recommend it.
http://www.BumpBan.com

70 Dave Fitzpatrick August 9, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Any tips for reducing ingrown hairs that happen after the fact? I can achieve a nice clean shave on my neck, but with in 24 hours, I am plagued by ingrown hairs as my beard comes back in…

71 Jason August 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I prefer to shave while I shower. Small anti-fog mirror is all you need. No more irritation or issues with shaving, and I had always had sensitive skin on my neck

72 M.S. August 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I just use a beard-trimmer to buzz it off.

Hey, the Indiana Jones look never goes out of style with the ladies.

73 Ben August 9, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I always had a hard time with sensitive neck skin and shaving. It’s MUCH better if I wash with an exfoliating shower scrubber.

74 Mark September 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Use an alum block after shaving and don’t rinse it off. I find it helps greatly. To use alum, just leave your skin damp (not dripping wet) after shaving then rub the alum block around on your skin for 10-20 seconds.

75 Steve December 27, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Warm flannel. Shave oil for glide with nivea sensitive foam not gel. And an edwin jagger de89 amazing razor will never use multi blade cartridge ever again also i only use oil for 3rd against grain pass. I used to be red raw before with cartridge so glad i went D.E

76 lwm January 2, 2014 at 2:54 am

Pluck each wisker out with my needle nose fine tip pliers , while pounding down a bottle of jack ! What a refreshing start to my day . When done plucking , by then your not feelin a thing simply splash on a little of the jack, or which ever your bottle of choice is and head to the office . If any bleedin starts simply coterize by slashin on some pure alcohol an light it . Crisp fresh start to your day .

77 Dean February 5, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Previously Mark wrote:

Mark September 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm
Use an alum block after shaving and don’t rinse it off. I find it helps greatly. To use alum, just leave your skin damp (not dripping wet) after shaving then rub the alum block around on your skin for 10-20 seconds.

Now, Dean asks: Mark, I do not know what an alum block is. Do you have a few name brand products that fit your description so that I can learn more about ‘alum block’? Thank you!

78 Ray February 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm

You know what the difference is between a really close shave and a not so close shave?

A couple of hours.

79 dan February 27, 2014 at 12:21 pm

I don’t know… I learned to shave with a DE blade, then switched to cartridges for the next 20 years. Never been happy with the price, but the shave was OK. I just tried now a DE again and my face is, of course, on fire… but a few weeks ago, unpacking the supermarket stuff, I found a 5 blade gilette cartridge that I don’t remember buying, probably it came with the 3-blade I bought as a promotion. That 5 blade thing gave the BEST shave I ever had in my life. But only once, when I used it again after a couple of days it wasn’t the same…

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