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The Best Pre-Shave Oils to Prevent Skin Irritation and Razor Burn

Do you dread shaving? Is it because every time you do, your face ends up tortured by razor burn, shaving bumps, ingrown hairs, nicks, and cuts? If so, it’s time to up your pre-shave game, where preparation comes to the fore. Either that or just grow that beard out.

Comfortably taking down your facial fur isn’t as easy as slapping on some foam and dragging a razor across your face. You need to prep your skin. Just a few drops of one of these bests pre-shave oils and a fresh razor blade can transform your experience and smooth up your handsome mug.

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Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Pre-Shave Oil

If you tend to deal with sensitive skin and haven’t found a pre-shave treatment that works for you, Taylor of Old Bond Street has a sensational solution that prepares your skin for not only a closer shave, but one that is more comfortable. This England-based company has been helping men shave since 1894 and they’ve been doing so in a robust yet simple way. The firm’s sandalwood-scented formula gives off a soothing smell and prepares your skin for the daily fight.

Lather and Wood Shaving Co. Pre-Shave Oil

Lather & Wood Shaving Co. Pre-Shave Oil

Lather and Wood Shaving Co. offers a fantastic pre-shave oil that has one mission: ultimate comfort. Blended with seven powerful botanical oils made to refresh and defend sensitive skin, this all-natural sandalwood pre-shave oil is perfect for men with tough, coarse beard hairs and sensitive skin who continue to struggle with fending off ingrown hairs and razor burn. Throw on a couple of drops of Lather and Wood’s prep oil and let the formula play its part. You’ll want to use this in tandem with your favorite shave cream, but if you’re in a hurry, this pre-shave oil just about doubles as a shaving cream.

Anthony Pre-Shave and Conditioning Beard Oil

This dual facial hair fix can be used as a pre-shave oil when mixed with shaving cream or as a beard conditioner all on its own. It’s perfect for guys shaving around a goatee or cleaning up the lines of a mustache. It has rosemary and basil oils to nourish and soften beard hair. And calendula and olive oils stop beard itch and flaking by hydrating the skin underneath.

Tactonic Shave Unscented Pre-Shave Oil

Tactonic Shave Unscented Pre-Shave Oil

If you’re looking for a highly effective, unscented pre-shave oil, Tactonic Shave offers a prep oil that is brimming with powerful botanicals to protect your skin before you take a razor to it. Packed with historic healing oils such as organic safflower, which was used by the Egyptians to heal wounds and decrease the risk of skin irritations, this unscented pre-shave oil softens stubble and builds a firm barrier between your blade and your face to help fight against nicks, razor burn, and skin rashes.

Vikings Blade Pre-Shave Oil

Instead of trying to provide a modern experience that may or may not be successful, Vikings Blade takes the art of shaving back to the basics with the traditional shaving techniques of our forefathers. The Black Forest pre-shave oil boasts a subtle manly sandalwood-western cedar scent that lingers after use. It’s a great pick, especially for something in the $25 and under range.

The Barba Corp Corte Pre-Shave Oil

New York City-based grooming gurus The Barba Corp takes pride in more than just the shaving process. For this company, preparation is key and it starts with the Corte pre-shave oil. A great base to use either before your favorite shaving cream for a full shave or as a lone igniter when shaping up lines and cleaning up hairy stragglers, the Barba features ingredients such as castor oil, aloe vera, safflower oil, and vitamin E. The Corte pre-shave oil lays the foundation for a smooth shave that will leave your face feeling as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Billy Jealousy Hot Towel Pre-Shave Treatment

Billy Jealousy Hot Towel Pre-Shave Treatment

You have to admit, a hot towel shave is an amazing experience. It’s undoubtedly one of the closest shaves you will ever receive. Billy Jealousy’s hot towel pre-shave treatment aims to replicate this experience with an innovative zeolite-infused formula that warms and hydrates your skin on contact, conditions skin with soothing oils like bergamot, peppermint, and grapefruit, and ultimately sets your facial surface up for a direct, easy shave. All you need to do is apply and remoisten the formula with warm water while shaving.

American Crew Ultra-Gliding Shave Oil

American Crew’s Ultra-Gliding Shave Oil is a great non-greasy pre-shave oil option. While the product moisturizes and plumps the skin, making for a cushioning skin, eucalyptus and clove oils (among other beneficial botanicals) get to work toning the skin beneath the beard. Use in combination with shaving cream for the ultimate close shave or simply use on its own for detail work along with sideburns, goatees, mustaches, and any other fancy facial hair you can come up with.

The B.I.G. Company Pre-Shave Oil

The B.I.G. Company — or “Big Incredible Gentlemen” — doesn’t take shaving lightly. In fact, it’s so focused on giving you the best shave that the brand’s pre-shave oil helps your skin days after shaving, too. This formula locks in moisture and softens beard hair to allow your razor to work with your skin rather than against it, which in turn gives you irritation and redness relief for days after shaving. Shaving should be an experience you enjoy and take pride in. The B.I.G. Company will bring back this delight and fulfillment you’ve been missing. If not, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The Art of Shaving Olibanum Pepper Pre-Shave Oil

The Art of Shaving Olibanum Pepper Pre-Shave Oil

This prep oil from The Art of Shaving is one of our absolute favorites. Not only is its olibanum pepper scent a unique fragrance of smokey manliness, but it also utilizes olive and castor oils to help condition your whiskers, prepare your skin for a close and comfortable shave, and ultimately allow for your razor to glide across your face without any hiccups. Olibanum Oil, more commonly dubbed Frankincense, comes from Africa’s Northeastern “Incense Valley” in Somalia.

Murdock London Pre-Shave Oil

The skincare masters at Murdock London have a robust concoction that works for everyone, from those with super sensitive skin to men with thick and coarse hair. Ensuring a smooth shave by softening facial hair and providing supple skin that’s razor ripe, the pre-shave oil also offers a fantastic scent, which is no surprise coming from some of the best cologne suppliers east of the Atlantic. It’s free of all parabens, sulfates, and all that B.S., making for an effective yet healthy solution for achieving a sharp and secure shave.

Bevel Priming Oil

We first heard of Bevel through iconic rapper and “Man of New York'” himself, Nas, who mentioned the company’s finesse and efficacy in his lyrics on “Album Done” by DJ Khaled. Nas has been clean-cut and dapper for as long as I can remember and now we know why. Bevel uses a special blend of castor, olive, and sunflower oils to help soften stubble and hair, which in turn, prevent nicks and snags. This formula works great for men of color because it moisturizes your skin and softens your facial hair better than many of its counterparts, which is essential for obtaining a close yet comfortable shaving experience.

What Is Pre-Shave Oil?

Not to be confused with beard oil, pre-shave oil softens stubble, lubricates, and lifts beard hairs away from the skin, all in preparation to be shorn. Pre-shave oils also allow the razor to glide more easily across your face, ultimately resulting in a smoother and closer shave. Less razor drag means fewer skin tears, nicks, and cuts. And less bleeding means goodbye to toilet paper face. In short, pre-shave oil is the first step to the perfect wet shave.

Benefits of Using Pre-Shave Oil

  • Reduces the risk of ingrown hairs
  • Prevents razor burn and shaving bumps
  • Lessens the chance of nicks and cuts
  • Softens stubble
  • Lubricates skin
  • Lifts beard hair from the skin for a closer shave

You can use pre-shave oil all on its own (which allows you to see exactly what you’re doing with the razor) or you can cocktail it with shaving cream for maximum comfort. The best pre-shave oils are formulated with healthy botanicals, vitamins, and nourishing carrier oils, like avocado oil, coconut oil, and jojoba.

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