What if the best remedy for razor burn was in your kitchen cabinet right now?
With that amount of time, you’d think we’d be skilled in the shaving arts. But the truth is we aren’t. Razor burn and razor bumps are one of the most common irritations we come up against in our daily routines.
There are countless products out there that claim they can reduce or end your razor burn. I’ve tried many, and you know what? They don’t work.
Restless and itchy, I tested alternatives to the drugstore shaving aisle. What I found was that among the dozens of claimed remedies for razor burn, one of them worked. Coconut oil.
But before I explain why, let’s take a closer look at razor burns and bumps.
The Difference Between Razor Burn and Razor Bumps
Despite what numerous websites claim, razor burn and razor bumps are not the same thing. While they are both problems related to shaving, they are separate symptoms. Here’s the difference:
A condition that occurs while shaving. You can get it anywhere you use a razor, including your face, armpits, legs, or pubic area. High amounts of friction between the razor blade and your skin cause the condition. Symptoms include redness, irritation, and itching.
Also called pseudofolliculitis barbae. Much worse than razor burn, razor bumps is another name for the ingrown hairs caused by a bad shave. A rough shave pushes your hair underneath your skin. When the hair grows back, it turns downwards, inflaming the infected area. Symptoms include pimple-like sores, swelling, and infection.
Why You Have Razor Burn and Bumps
The key reason you have razor burn and bumps is because of a bad shave, simple as that. However, a bad shave isn’t just the products you use. It’s important to remember that a good shave starts with a solid shaving technique.
Plenty of issues you aren’t addressing in your shaving routine are leading you to a bad experience. They include:
- Dry Skin
- Not exfoliating Enough
- Lack of Lubrication While Shaving
- Dull Razor Blade
- Poor Shaving Technique
Obviously, you need to make sure your razor blade is clean of debris and sharp before shaving. If you have a clean blade and a good shaving technique though, coconut oil can help with the rest.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil originates in tropical countries like the Philippines and Malaysia. People have consumed the coconut and its oil since pre-history. The revered tree has special names, like “The Tree of Heaven” and “Tree of Life.”
The coconut tree is a member of the palm family. Interestingly, the coconut fruit is not a nut, but a drupe. It’s like a cousin of the peach pit. Before processing, workers shave off the coconut’s outer fruit.
The name “coco” means skull in Spanish, because of the iconic indentations in the coconut look like a human face.
Humans use every part of the coconut fruit. Young coconuts contain water that’s drinkable. Factories make charcoal from the hard shell, and a fiber, known as coir, from the husk.
The white flesh or pulp inside the coconut is edible. But mainly it’s harvested for coconut milk and oil.
In the last decade coconut oil’s popularity in America has skyrocketed. Although its use as an edible cooking oil is obvious, the health and beauty industry swear by its skin healing properties.
That’s because coconut oil’s lauric acid content makes it anti-microbial. In a nutshell, it can fight off skin diseases like acne or it’s close relative, your nasty razor bumps.
There’s also evidence that coconut oil eases the inflammation caused by minor burns, like your razor burn.
Glands in your skin secrete a layer of fatty oils, called sebum. Coconut oil helps replenish sebum on your skin when its dry.
However, if you have oily skin, check with a dermatologist, or test a small patch of skin with the oil before committing to coconut oil for razor burn relief. By over-oiling your face, you may end up with more problems, like adult acne.
Don’t Buy the Wrong Coconut Oil!
There are two ways to manufacture coconut oil, dry processing and wet processing. And it matters which one you choose for your razor burn.
Coconut oil is an umbrella term for several refined coconut-based oils. Some are better for cooking because of their high heat point. Dermatologists recommend virgin coconut oil for skin care, created through wet processing.
In dry processing, laborers shave the white coconut meat out of the shell and dry it, either in sunlight or a kiln. The resulting product is called copra. It looks like a big hunk of charcoal.
Then machines and chemical aids press the copra into oil. The most common dry process is known as RBD, or Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized. By using RBD, the oil can withstand a high cooking point. But the process also robs the oil of its nutrients.
You can distinguish dry processed coconut oil because it has no smell. Stay away from oils processed using this method.
Instead of drying the coconut meat, wet processing uses raw coconut. On labels, look for products that say “virgin” coconut oil. No bleaches or chemicals cut the nutrients in wet processed oils.
Generally, you can’t use virgin coconut oil for high-heat cooking. But it’s great for you skin.
I recommend purchasing a 100% virgin coconut oil to use for your razor burn, like this one. No matter what you use, make sure it’s not bleached, as the lack of vital nutrients will do more harm to your skin than it’s worth.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Razor Burn and Bumps
The secret to a great shave isn’t your fancy razor or expensive shaving cream. It’s what happens before and after the shave. Remember:
- Before you shave, your skin must be soft and clean.
- After you shave, you need to moisturize.
I recommend you integrate coconut oil into the before and after stages. If you do both, you won’t ever have a razor burn problem again.
Using Coconut Oil Before You Shave
When it’s time to shave, soften your skin. Either hop in the shower, or use a towel soaked in warm water. Keep the moisture close to your skin for a good five minutes. This allows your pores to open and your skin to relax.
Then take a dollop of coconut oil and rub it into your skin gently. You’ll notice your skin shine as you apply the oil, and that’s what you want. The oil creates a natural protective layer, complimenting the sebum oils your skin produces on their own.
Next, lather on your favorite shaving cream and shave as you normally would. As you shave, keep these points in mind:
- Shave with the grain because it causes less irritation.
- Don’t press down hard on your razor blade, as it can force the hairs to recede into your skin, causing razor bumps.
- Wash your razor under warm water every few strokes to avoid dead skin and hair build up.
Using Coconut Oil After You Shave
Once you’re finished, pat down your face with a clean towel. Then rub another dollop of coconut oil into your face, just enough to create a thin barrier.
The coconut oil hydrates your face whereas aftershaves often do the opposite and dry it out. Razor burn is like rug burn or any other surface burn, cause by friction. By using virgin coconut oil, you ease that friction.
Like I mentioned before, those painful razor bumps are from your razor blade tugging at your hairs. The coconut oil softens your hair, so less tugging occurs.
It’s that simple! Because your skin is better moisturized, you’ll notice less irritation right away. But give the coconut oil a few days to work on your razor burn and bumps.
Keep in mind, any ingrown hairs you have won’t go away overnight. Be patient, allow up to two weeks for the full effects to take place.
No Two Faces Are Alike
Having tested multiple at-home remedies, I found that coconut oil for razor burn is the most effective. But skin-types differ. What works for my complexion may not work for yours. Especially if you have oily skin.
For those of us that can use coconut oil, the benefits are outstanding. My skin is more vibrant and looks younger. Plus, it no longer itches or dries out. This is especially noticeable in the winter months when the cold weather ruined my skin.
But most of all, I don’t dread my morning shave anymore. I can spend the rest of my shaving life free of burns and sores. And want to know the best part? Virgin coconut oil smells great, too, like a day at the beach.