When it comes to shaving, it is fairly well known that you need to put something on your face first to help the razor do its job. At last, this goes for pretty much any type of manual shaving method, be it a straight razor, safety razors or disposables. Unfortunately what a lot of people don’t think about is that what you do with your face before your shave is really just as important and the razor you are using to remove the stubble from your face as well.
When it comes to sensitive skin, there is a lot to think about. The tools you need to try and keep your irritation as minimal as possible are important, and when it comes to razors, you can’t go wrong with the saying, the sharper, the better. A good sharp blade will ensure fewer strokes are needed to shave that beard and that means less of your skin is removed with each stroke. While that does sound a little off, sharper means less skin removed, believe us when we say, that is indeed the case.
So you know you need the sharpest blade possible but what does that have to do with pre-shaving or even shaving cream in general. Well, the preshave helps to get your face ready for the blade. Helping to get hairs to stand up straighter means they are easier to cut and if your skin is moist and elastic it means you are less likely to remove any of the upper layers of the epidermis.
Types of shave cream
There are several types of shave cream that is available from aerosol cans, to brush lathering, to gels, and to oils. Let’s take a look at each type and what may be good and what may be not so good for each.
These are the ones that are mass marketed to just about anyone and everyone out there. You can find them in big cans, small travel cans and just about any size in between. They are very easy to use, for the most part, you just open the lid, press down on the top and out shoots either a fully lathered cream or a gel that lathers up as you rub it into your face.
Most of these come from name brands we will always associate with shaving or at least face products like Gillette, Neutrogena, Edge, or Nivea which can be found at any supermarket and most convenience stores just about anywhere in the world.
Much of the time with aerosols you will find that they are full of a lot of chemical and other things needed to make them work such as propellants. While these are all fine for most people who are not overly sensitive, they can have very adverse effects on those who have allergies or who have skin susceptible to influences of chemicals.
There are plenty of creams that come in jars or similar type of storage, and normally these require some way of actually lathering them up. The use of a decent shave brush is what is needed here. Just remove a little from the jar and put into a bowl and then with a little water, use your shave brush to lather it up.
These do tend to take a little more work to use than an aerosol, but much of the time they have better ingredients than aerosols, and for sure they don’t have any need for propellant in the can keeping them a little closer to natural ingredients.
To use this type, you don’t really need the shave brush as you can just remove from the jar and lather with your hands and on your face, but for the most part, it is not quite as effective as when you use the shave brush to get a nice good lather going on.
Gels tend to work similar to an aerosol in that they are in a can and you press the button and some gel is released into your hands. Remove a dab of gel from your hand and then rub it into your face to create a lather. There are also more traditional gels that come in a tube or tin and don’t use the pressure can to dispense.
Caned gels do tend to be slightly better than the canned shaving foam in that much of the foam tends to be air and while they feel great and seem to lather nicely they actually have a lot of air pockets in them that don’t quite get your hair to stand on end, as a good gel or cream is supposed to do so it is easier for your shave. With a gel, when you rub it into your skin, it does help lubricate and has a more consistent coverage than just a shave foam does.
Traditional gels that come from a tube or a tin may not even lather much at all but are primarily used to really lubricate the skin allowing the razor to glide smoothly and thereby cutting hairs as the razor is supposed to instead of scraping off layers of skin.
Shave oils are really more to work with shave cream or a gel in that it adds an additional level of lubrication to the skin and as mentioned above, lubrication does help a lot in the shaving process when it comes to keeping the razor gliding on the skin. Propellants from shave foams and gels do tend to dry out skin, even if they have additional chemicals included to help combat that and a lot of times these foams or gels also contain a certain amount of alcohol which also has a tendency to dry out skin. A pre-shave oil can help keep lubrication in place and combat any drying effects of your shave cream.
The Shave Brush
It is very important to have a mention of the Shave Brush. This tool is pretty essential for anyone who wants a good shave that is free of irritation. Why would a brush make any difference you may be asking? Well, the basics of it are quite simple. If you are using your hands to lather up your face either with a cream or a gell then essentially what you are doing is patting and rubbing the hairs on your face downward towards the skin and even if your stubble is not long at all, it can cause all kind of issues with shaving including shave bumps and ingrown hairs.
When you use a shave brush, you are essentially whisking your whiskers to attention and allowing them to remain in a more upright state making it easier for the very sharp razor you are using to cut the hair for a very close shave.
When you use a shave brush, you are essentially whisking your whiskers to attention and allowing them to remain in a more upright state making it easier for the very sharp razor you are using to cut the hair for a very close shave.
Taylor of Old Shaving Cream for Sensitive Skin
The Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving creams come up on a lot of product lists, and there is a reason why this is. Having been in business since 1854, they have had a long time to refine their products.
TOBS is a British brand yet is readily available on Amazon and other physical stores as well. From the Jermyn Street collection, this shaving cream is specially formulated for sensitive skin types.
There is a fragrance to this cream, but it is all natural containing lemon, lime and lavender with some bergamot and supported by geranium heart, neroli and amer. All of this is resting on a base of vanilla, patchouli and musk.
This cream is labeled as allergen-free and so is designed to help with sensitive skin and formulated to not react harshly when shaving.
While you can apply this cream without a brush, it is not recommended. The brush does bring out the best in the cream and allows it to do its job as well as possible. No need for a lot of product, just put a small amount into a bowl and then lather well with the brush. One tub should last 2 to 3 months of daily shaves.
- The lather:TOBS does require a little work to lather up, but when you use a brush and bowl you will get a great lather out of it.
- The cut: When applied with the brush this shave cream will make all the difference when using a good fresh blade. Many natural products help to lubricate to help the razor and moisturize to keep skin in good condition.
- The fragrance: There is a slight citrus scent to this product, and while it can smell strong upon opening and lathering, the smell does dissipate after a shave and you are left with a subtle citrus musk smell when finished.
- The cost: : Average amazon price puts this at around the $2.90 per ounce but the product will last for 12 months after opening, and if you are a daily shaver it should last you 2 to three months with daily shaves. .
- A traditional shave cream that can be used with any type of razor
- Good for sensitive skin
- Many natural ingredients.
- Scent can be strong for some
- Works best when using a brush and bowl
This is a great product that is perfect for any traditional shavers out there. A good lather and a fine smell make this a product you can use each and every day provided you set aside the time for proper wet shaving.
Proraso Shaving Cream for sensitive skin
Proraso is an Italian company who have been making shaving creams since 1908. The brand is synonymous with words like quality and impeccable, and their products are used by professionals and home users alike.
Their sensitive skin shaving cream uses both Oatmeal Extract and Green Tea for a great soothing effect on the skin. It contains over 95% natural ingredients making it great for those who are more prone to sensitivity when it comes to items being put on the face. No parabens, no silicones, no mineral oil, no artificial colors and no ingredients on animal origin make this a very friendly product.
This product does come in a tube but is fairly easy to use. Again, a brush is recommended for the best results. With a warm brush and 2cm portion of the cream placed right onto the brush, you can work a lather right on your face by using a circular motion to work it into your stubble. The lather will work itself into a super thick and creamy soft lather that will give you a close and comfortable shave but will also leave your skin feeling hydrated and soft.
- The lather: easy to use and can be done with or without a bowl. Lather is thick and feels great on the face.
- The cut: Once the lather is done and massaged into your beard growth properly it will lubricate your skin in preparation for the razor and help to soften stubble for a good close shave.
- The fragrance: there is a natural smell from all the natural ingredients, but the smell doesn’t linger and washes right off after your shave and rinse.
- The cost:: a decent cost at about $10 a tube and can last over a month without any difficulty using it daily.
Natural ingredients, no animal products
Used by professionals
Easy to store tube
Lather brush needed for best results
Slightly medicinal smell but goes away after your shave
This is a great product to use and is decent on sensitive skin as well so it will help to prevent irritation and razor bumps. A decent cost means you can get this product every few months and not break the bank.
Gillette Series Shaving Gel Sensitive
The words Gillette and Shaving pretty much go hand in hand with anyone you talk to about razors. With the Mach3 being one of the most well known disposable razors on the planet, it is pretty sure that Gillette will have a shaving foam or gel to go along with it that can be found just about anywhere.
Gillette does a sensitive gel shaving cream that comes out of the can in a gel-like state. You then apply small portions of the gel to your face and using circular motions lather it up. It will lather to a decent state but maybe not as creamy as some of the more cream and brush type of mixtures.
That does not mean it does not work. Infused with aloe, it is delicate on sensitive skin and designed to be light and not irritate. The gel nature goes on and provides a nice slick layer on the skin to help razors glide naturally without pulling a lot of skin off with it.
Gillette promotes this gell as a 3X formula, it will hydrate your skin, keeping it soft, it will protect your skin as you shave and finally it will leave you feeling refreshed after your shave and does not require an aftershave to finish off.
This is a mass-market product, and so you get a mass market price tag to go with it. You can find these for quite cheap and are even available on Amazon in packs of 6 cans which can last upwards to a year with daily shaving and conservative use of the gel.
- The lather: comes out of the can but can be rubbed into a foam with little effort. This product is designed to be used without a brush, so there is no prep other than pressing a button on the can.
- Cleaning: a single blade means easy cleaning, and since the head comes apart it is easy to clean out every time you change the blade or after each shave. Keeping your razor clean and drying it properly after each use means you will be able to use it for many years to come.
- Ease of use: a safety razor does take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it does not take any longer than using disposables. Making this part of your daily routine will be easy to do.
- Sensitivity: single blade razors are good for sensitive skin as it less passes over the skin which means less skin to be removed with each pass. While learning, you may experience some nicks and cuts which is all part of the learning process, but once you have everything down, you should not experience any discomfort.
- Cost: : The Merkur does have a higher initial cost to it, especially when comparing to disposables but once you have made your purchase then all you need to buy are razor blades which are inexpensive and plentiful.
Replaceable blades mean a decent cut each time
One razor for life
Excellent razor for a gentleman with larger hands
Easy to clean
Some find it lightweight so it may require some pressure for cutting
A more aggressive shaver may be needed if you have coarse beard hairs
The safe bet…
If you are going to be using a safety razor, then Merkur is a brand to consider. There are many different products under this brand name, but the standard long handle is a solid choice when it comes to safety razors, perfect for beginners and comfortable enough for seasoned pros. A solid choice for anyone concerned about how a razor will irritate their skin.
Vikings Blade Chieftain Safety Razor
Safety razors really are a good bet if you have sensitive skin and the Chieftain is a great starter razor for those who have never used safety razors in the past. This razor is so easy to use, and blade changes are easy using the butterfly opening that it is even recommended for ladies who are looking for something suitable for their soft, sensitive skin.
The Chieftain is made from high-quality Swedish materials and undergoes a rigorous quality control process to ensure that all Chieftain Razors are of the highest standards. Beautifully designed grip ensures the razor does not slip from your fingers during wet shaving and still looks elegant on a bathroom shelf or razor holder.
The head uses an opening butterfly method meaning you just give the head a twist and the top of the razor will open up for your exposing the blade. Pull out the old dual blade and slip in a new one and twist closed again to get right to work. The entire process is quick and absolutely painless.
Blades are also protected by a micro-comb feature that will help to prevent accidental nicks and cuts to your face. When you purchase the Chieftain, it comes with five super blades that are platinum coated that are super fine and will provide you with a mild shaving experience with this razor meaning that if you are not used to shaving with a safety razor, this won’t go all aggressive on your face.
- The cut:as with any safety razor, there is a single super thin and sharp blade that is used to make the cuts. This means you get a super close cut without the issues of skin irritation.
- Cleaning: Single blade cleaning during shaving is easy with running water or even just a bowl of water or a sink full of water. The butterfly mechanism should be kept clean as much as possible to prevent it from wearing out, but the razor is rust proof so it won’t rust shut on you.
- Ease of use: The Chieftain is designed to be an easy razor to use. A mild setting means it won’t cut and nick your face and the butterfly head is meant to make blade changes quick and easy. Since this is a mild cut the learning curve on this razor can be easier than some more aggressive heads.
- Sensitivity:: Any single blade razor that requires fewer strokes is going to be easier on your skin. There are no additional sensitivity features such as lubrication strips, but they should not be necessary if you are doing the task at hand as it is meant to be done.
- Cost: While the razor itself can be about double the cost of an expensive disposable starter set, you will be saving a ton in the long run. Dual blades are a lot less expensive than cartridge heads, and a single blade can last a week with daily shaving meaning that over time you will be saving a lot more money going this route than by using disposables.
Easy blade changes
Not overly expensive
Easier learning curve than other safety razors
Easy on sensitive skin
Does require the pre-shave prep and aftershave care that you can get away with not doing when using a disposable
The right cut..
This is a great razor to start with if you want to upgrade your shaving style from cartridge to safety. While it does not have the pivoting head and many other gadgets of disposable razors, you are presented with a no-nonsense super close shaving razor that will last you years and years to come.
Schick Hydro 5 Sense Sensitive
Everything about the Schick Hydro 5 Sense says sensitive, including the name itself. Schick has taken the need for sensitivity a step above and made sure that there is a brand out there that is very easy to use and does not require a lot of training and yet is also easy on the face.
Disposable razors have evolved into a highly complex bit of equipment with pivoting heats, hidden extra blades for getting the hard to get under the nose areas and even more bells and whistles than you can think of on a device used to remove hair from your face. It makes sense then that just as much thought goes into what is considered as sensitive skin as well.
What makes the Schick Hydro 5 Sense line of razors unique is their 7 hydrating pools that are included with each disposable razor head. These pools come in 3 different flavors that can be chosen from, Energize, Hydrate and Sensitive. Energize comes with pools of menthol that can help wake up tired looking skin. Hydrate has coconut oils that help keeps skin healthy looking and hydrated for those with drier skin. Sensitive comes with a herbal extract that helps soothe and comfort irritated skin.
Couple the 7 pools of soothing herbal extract with a series of 5 Ultra Glide blades and you have a combination that your face will thank you for when you are finished. As delicate skin becomes irritated with each pull of the razor across the face, when you pull a Hydro 5 Sense, its 5 blades make an amazing cut keeping the need for additional strokes to a minimum. Pools of soothing extract added with 5 close cutting blades equal a pleasant shaving experience for all.
- The cut:Schick’s 5 blades give you a nice close shave when the blades are new. You can get a few good shaves out of a new head, but it is always best to use a new head as often as possible especially when you are concerned about irritation.
- Cleaning: It is best to be sure you don’t leave the growth for too long or if it is long don’t try and cut with the blade first but go over everything with a trimmer first. The blades are pretty close together on the head and so flow through can be difficult with water if you have too long stubble clogging everything up. While this can be said for any multi-blade type of razor, these ones are quite tight together leaving not a lot of room for cleaning.
- Easeof use: : The Hydro 5 is a well-crafted razor with an attractive handle that is also very easy to use and comfortable to grip. Weight is well balanced, and so it is easy to get the right amount of pressure onto your face when you are shaving without too much effort.
- Sensitivity:: The sensitivity heads take sensitivity into account with their 7 pools of herbal extract. While this alone won’t stop irritation if you are using dull blades, it sure does help keep minor irritation at bay.
- Cost: The Hydro 5 is at the higher end of the spectrum in cost when it comes to disposables but if you are concerned about how close your shave is each and every time you shave then the 5 blade system is worth the extra bux. Over time it may end up being more expensive than investing in a good safety razor, but the ease of use of the Hydro 5 Sense can make up for that cost pretty easily.
Pools of herbal extract for the sensitive
Flip out trimmer for the under the nose area
5 blades make for a very close shave.
Can get quite costly for the refill cartridges
Could have a better cleaning system in place
Gillette Mach3 Sensitive Disposable
The Gillette Mach3 seems to be on absolutely every top ‘X’ list of razors that you can find on the internet, be the article about sensitivity, about quality, about best razor for….well you name it, and you will find the Mach3 on that list. There must be a reason for this, and the reason is that the Mach3 is about the best of the best for the best price out there.
Gillette takes their sensitivity seriously and even on their less expensive models you will find their indicator lubrication strip that releases anti-irritation lubrication each and every stroke. As you continue to use the blades, the lubrication strip turns from blue to white, letting you know that it is time to change that head to a new set of blades.
The Mach3 uses a 3 blade system that has more technology put into it than you can imagine when it comes to a razor. They use their own design of PowerGlide blades and use a spring mounted control system that reacts to the pressure you exert with each stroke. This is beneficial when you need to traverse contours and work your way through troublesome areas.
The blade gimmicks and the lubrication strip make this a very effective razor if you are prone to irritation. The comfort guard before the blades makes sure the skin is ready for blades to lift and cut your stubble not tug and pull out hairs.
- The cut:Gillette’s 3 blade system is great when everything is new and sharp. You get a good close shave, and you can do a second pass that is across the grain for a very good and close shave. Just be sure to change the head when it tells you to as the blades can become quite dull after too many shaves.
- Cleaning: Gillette uses great space when it comes to the distance between blades, and this makes for very good flow through of water when you are trying to clean it. The rear of the head is open, and there is nothing in the way of the flow through of water making it easy to prevent clogging up.
- Easeof use: : The Mach3 has to be one of the absolute easiest shavers out there. The heads pop on and off with ease at the click of a button. The pivoting head means it flows over the face effortlessly and the handle is comfortable and just make sense.
- Sensitivity:: The lubrication strip is decent for the first few uses but can get dry quickly when not in use. Provided you are using new blades as often as you can, you will always get a close shave without having to worry about losing too many layers of skin at the same time.
- Cost: The Mach3 is the perfect blend of cost and tech. You get a great shaver at a cost that is similar to a lot of other 3 blade systems out there. There is a lot of great tech that went into this design, and it does not come with an over the top price tag on top.
Comfortable designed shaving handle
Quick and easy to change pivoting head
Superior blades with protective micro fins to prevent nicks and cuts
Available everywhere. One of the top-selling razors of all time
Lubrication strip can wear our quickly especially on dry skin
A quick recap…
The Mach3 is a razor that just about anyone who has done any shaving in the last 10 years has used at least once. It is a great blade for a good price that will not let you know. Keeping sensitivity at the forefront of their design plan means you have a razor that will treat your face well as long as you treat the razor well.
Gillette Sensor3 Simple Disposable razor
If you are in a rush or you travel a lot and don’t want to bring you expensive safety razor with you, which would have to be in checked in luggage anyway, then the Sensor3 won’t steer you wrong at all. This razor has many of the benefits of higher priced disposables but does not have the price attached and is completely disposable when you are finished with it meaning you don’t need to worry about clean up time or what may be needed to prolong the life of your razor.
The Sensor3, as its name implies, comes with 3 blades per razor for that close shave in a disposable. Three blades mean needing fewer stokes are needed to remove the stubble and so you are less likely to succumb to irritation. Their blades are spring loaded, so they adjust to the contours of your face with ease meaning you don’t need to provide a lot of pressure when using them.
The Sensor3 does not have a pivoting head like a disposable cartridge style of razor, but this actually puts the shaving experience a lot closer to how you would be using a safety razor. Angle is everything when the head does not do the work for you, and so you can learn pretty quickly what works in your shaving experience and what does not and then afterward apply that experience to a mild safety razor.
The handle of the razor is made of plastic and nothing too special, but it does have good grip and feels comfortable in hand. This will help keep everything moving along nicely as you use the razor on your face or wherever needed.
An additional bonus to the Sensor3 is Gillette’s lubrication strip. Not as robust as the Mach3 version but still provides you with some lubricant as you shave and will tell you if you can use the razor an additional time or now by how white the strip is. It is best to test this out each time you use a used razor though as many times the blades will wear out before all the lubrication is gone. If there is still some strip but you feel pulls and tugs when trying to shave, ditch that right away and use a new one.
- The cut:A very good cut for a disposable using a 3 blade system. Doing 2 shaves, a with the grain and an across the grain shave will give you a very close shave.
- Cleaning: rough or long stubble may be an issue with this as there is no real cleaning system in place, but the back of the head is fairly open and receptive to running water. Be sure to trim any long beard like hair first as this really is meant for close stubble shaving.
- Easeof use: : Open, lather, shave, throw out. Super easy to use and super easy to take care of. No need for extended cleaning time and no need for a home in your bathroom that looks good.
- Sensitivity:: it does have 3 blades, so it is additional blades across the skin, but if you are using a new razor each time and the lubrication strip is a bonus then you should not experience a lot of irritation.
- Cost: In our cast everything aside society, these are right up there with costs like bottled water or plastic eating utensils. They are not expensive, and they come in packages with multiples inside. Not recommended for everyday use but if you are traveling or you are in a total bind, and you need to shave like yesterday then these will do the trick and keep sensitivity at bay.
Low cost and multiples per package
Quick and easy to use
3 blades for a close shave
Lubrication is included for worry-free shaving
Not a long-term solution
Wear quick and using a dull blade can wreak havoc on your face
The simple truth…
These are not a razor you want to consider using all the time, but in a pinch, these are great for those on the go. If you just don’t have the time or you are traveling then a 3 blade system will get a good close shave without a lot of effort put into shaving and then a quick toss in the trash means you don’t need to worry at all about clean-up.
Schick Intuition Sensitive Care Razor
Women also shave. Maybe not daily like many men have to but still legs and other areas are shaved on a fairly regular basis, and this means that sensitivity can be an issue there as well. As with men’s razors, the more you have to stroke a blade across the skin, the more likely you will be prone to irritation. The same principle goes for legs as it does for faces, even more so as women try to make legs as smooth and silky as possible while men tend to go for the rugged leathery look more.
It was stated earlier that the Chieftain as a single blade was also convenient for women to use as needed, but the Intuition Sensitive Care Razor is a 4 blade system that is designed specifically for women and has something a little extra for the sensitive side. Each blade refill comes with not only a 4 blade cartridge but also a full shave creme delivery system as well.
Each head has the shave cream right into the head, so when you do your shaving, there is no need for additional cream and the cream will moisturize as you shave. This means you get a very quick and simple experience for your legs with little to no effort involved. No need for any soap, shave gels, or any body washes when using this razor.
- The cut:Schick’s 4 blade system delivers a very nice cut without doing a lot of damage to the skin. Keeping blades sharp by changing the head as often as needed is important.
- Cleaning: the head can be cleaned and rinsed in water, but this razor is really meant to be used by very light hairs. Anything too coarse will clog up the blades quickly, and then you have to remove the head from the razor to get a really good clean out of it.
- Easeof use: : It is hard to get easier than this razor. As there is no need for any pre-shaving prep, you just use the razor, wipe when done and dispose of the old blades as needed. Perfect for when in a rush.
- Sensitivity:: The shave cream is right on the razor, so it lathers while you use it. Vitamin E and 100% natural aloe are also included to be sure your skin stays smooth and silky.
- Cost: the razor itself is not expensive and right about where you would expect it for a 4 blade disposable razor, but the cartridges can be a little costly. As there is the added cost of shave cream built right into the refills, it can add to the cost of each head but if you offset that with the fact that you don’t need to use shave cream first, it does work out nicely.
Wet and shave, no need for shave creams or a lot of pre-shave prep
Shave lotion is made of natural ingredients and is hypoallergenic
Good for those in a rush or, let’s face it, who are just kinda lazy
Comfortable grip that is designed for legs
Pivoting head to reach those hard to get areas.
Good initial purchase cost but refills can get expensive over time
One type of head can be used, not compatible with any other head types
Sensitive is in the name…
This product is a great razor and a great idea for those in a rush. Putting everything into one tool is a great idea, and this razor is ideal for beginners who are just beginning their shaving experience.
And in Conclusion
Shaving is an experience that all men go through at some time, be it a daily shaver or a once a week shaver and like any task, having the right tools for the job is the best way to be sure the job gets done right. When you have sensitive skin, it is imperative to understand exactly how razors work and why and then move forward with your choice from there to be sure you get a good shave that does not leave you with nicks and cuts and huge patches of irritated skin. Blades are sharp, and a tool that does demand some respect and so using your tools correctly is essential.
The razors on this list are not the only ones out there but with thousands of reviews, most of them with praise, these are some of the top razors on the market today no matter what technique you use for your shaving habits and no matter how sensitive your skin is.