Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

How To Get Rid of Razor Bumps and Pesky Post-Shave Irritation

African man shaving face.
Visual Ideas/Nora Pelaez/Blend Images/Adobe Stock

For many men, razor bumps (also known as pseudofolliculitis barbae) can be a painful, irritating fact of modern grooming life. When curly hairs are shaved too close, they can start to curl back down into the skin, causing bumps to form. Razor bumps can also come from waxing or from clogged pores. They may even turn into ingrown hairs. In some cases, unsightly keloids — an excessive growth of scar tissue — may also grow over the scar if further irritated. We asked Michael James, founder of the grooming collection Frederick Benjamin, for a little guidance on how to avoid the problem in the first place.

“I always tell guys with textured hair to pick a day to shave, preferably on a weekend when you can really take your time,” says James. “Avoid shaving every day if you can, understanding that for some men who work in a corporate environment, a high, buttoned collar and necktie rubbing against beard stubble may cause irritation.”

James advocates a classic shaving regime with a few adjustments:

  • Wash and exfoliate your face during a hot shower so your face is clean and pores are open.
  • Apply pre-shave oil to allow a nice, clean glide.
  • Use a clear shave gel (not a foamy cream) so you can avoid any trouble spots and more easily detail facial hair.
  • Use a safety razor or a sensitive skin cartridge razor. Avoid blades with five, six, or more blades that will cut hairs too short, forcing them back into the skin. For some men, it’s best to put down the razor and use an electric trimmer, maintaining a light layer of stubble.
  • After shaving, rinse with a cold water splash, then follow up with a product (like those below) designed specifically to moisturize, exfoliate, and reduce swelling, redness, and razor bumps. Use this product daily, not just on the days you shave.

“Avoid any post-shaving products with alcohol. They suck out moisture,” councils James. “It’s like when you go out drinking for a night and are dehydrated the next day. Your skin reacts the same way.”

Many of these products incorporate salicylic or glycolic acid to exfoliate dead surface cells and free ingrown hairs. They can also heal and calm your skin with soothing ingredients like chamomile and aloe. To further help you, we’ve rounded up our picks of the best of the best.

Frederick Benjamin Bump Clear

Frederick Benjamin Bump Clear is a fragrance-free post-shave +bump treatment, suitable for normal to sensitive skin.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Frederick Benjamin’s treatment incorporates sunflower seed oil to help hydrate and moisturize the skin. Apply to freshly shaven skin and then as a moisturizer as part of your daily cleansing regimen.

SteelMclean Parallel

SteelMclean Parallel is a bump relief and exfoliant.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

SteelMclean’s Parallel Rapid Smooth bump relief and exfoliant uses vitamins and medicinal extracts to exfoliate dead skin rapidly, leaving smooth, hydrated, and clear skin behind. The brand also notes it works on fine lines and dark spots (we also found it to be an effective acne spot treatment).

Grooming Lounge The Shavior

Grooming Lounge The Shavior is a razor burn, bump, and ingrown hair remedy.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Shavior uses ingredients that both uproot and dissolve ingrown hairs while calming down tender skin. This award-winning treatment is a botanical-loaded lotion that goes to work on razor irritation, bumps, and ingrown hairs. Dab it on to spot-treat a problem area or slather it on after shaving. This barber-tested formulation will moisturize your skin while infusing it with antioxidants and a tad of sun protection.

Jack Black Bump Fix Razor Bump & Ingrown Hair Solution

Jack Black Bump Fix Razor Bump & Ingrown Hair Solution is a bump fix solution.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This lotion frees skin-trapped ingrown hairs by exfoliating the top layer of dead cells with a combination of 2% salicylic and lactic acids. It reduces razor bumps while dissolving pore-clogging dirt and oils that often lead to acne and blackheads. Aloe Leaf and organic chamomile hydrate and soothe irritation.

Anthony For Men Ingrown Hair Treatment

Anthony For Men Ingrown Hair Treatment can ease razor burns and redness.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Anthony For Men also takes a two-step approach to easing razor burn and redness. First, glycolic, salicylic, and phytic acids exfoliate the dead skin. The ingrown hairs are set free, and the acids go to work, killing the bacteria that cause bumps and inflammation. The second step soothes with willowherb and lavender, calming the trauma.

Kiehl’s Ultimate Razor Burn & Bump Relief

Kiehl’s Ultimate Razor Burn & Bump Relief reduces shaving irritation.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This easy-to-apply cream is an update to Kiehl’s former Razor Bump Relief product. The cream is mildly exfoliating and has soothing aloe vera, lipo hydroxy acid, willow herb extract, and vitamin E. It’s hydrating and cooling while also reducing irritation.

Editors' Recommendations

John Jones
John Jones is a Jersey City, New Jersey-based writer who enjoys covering design in all its forms, from fashion to…
How to shave your beard — and why you may want to
Everything you need to know to shave your beard
Man Shaving Beard


Beards are a great sense of personal style, especially ones that are properly maintained with exceptional grooming products to help in doing so. They can be a wonderful style combo, particularly for those not so inclined to have Brad (Pitt) and Leo (DiCaprio) hair-like status and opt for a beard and bald head look, which works great by the way. Regardless of the hair situation on top of your head, beards can be a great addition that can really elevate your own personal look.

Read more
The best beard brushes: Our top picks for achieving the perfect look
The 6 best beard brushes for taming your whiskers in 2023
beard brush

Beards are a great sense of personal style so long as you keep up with the regular maintenance of it. If you have had one for a while you’re probably well-acquainted with the tools of the trade, from nourishing beard conditioners to beard balms and beard oils. If you sport longer facial hair, or if your whiskers are growing longer than you anticipated, there’s another essential tool you need in your grooming arsenal: a high-quality beard brush.

The best beard brushes can help you in multiple ways from taming lengthy beards, reducing irritation and beard itch, and adding a bit more style and polish to unruly facial hair. While high-quality beard combs are helpful in their own right, longer beards require a brush. The ideal beard brush features a wooden base or handle with bristles crafted from the finest materials like boar hair, as you need dense bristle materials to work through disheveled facial hair, all the better to slowly but surely soften your beard as you brush.

Read more
6 Best Razor and Shave Kit Sets for the Gift of a Good Shave
Shaving kit displayed separately on a red background.

Shaving facial hair, for most men, can be compared to a woman cutting her hair short. It alters one's appearance and gives a new sense of self, which is why it's one of the few things men take into serious consideration before acting on it. So, to make sure your everyday razor shave is as great as it should be, we put together some of the coolest razor and brush sets (okay, sometimes they’re just extra cool razors) on the market,

Related Guides

Read more