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Wet Shaving with Oil for Reduced Razor Burn

Updated on December 22, 2015

Ever on the look out for tips that make my shaving routine easier with less abrasion and razor burn and taking less of my precious morning time, while still getting a good result, I jumped on the suggestion of one kind hubber to use a shaving oil and this really made a difference. Razor burn gone and a big improvement to my skin tone too!

In a sense, I'm writing on this subject and all my other shaving hubs from a terribly lazy point of view. I don't want to have to spend vast quantities of time and effort on this routine and the shaving kit, nor do I want a huge initial outlay of cash.

I want something that does the job, ideally that I can pick up from the supermarket anywhere in the country, that’s not too expensive and most importantly, that won't shred my face the instant I don't apply 100% of my concentration to the task.

For these reasons I'm ignoring the people who tout expensive shaving kits with safety razor (or worse) type blades, custom-made brushes and exclusive shaving soaps.

  • I'm not an aficionado of the process, in fact, as I’m sure it comes across, it irritates me - in every sense.
  • They claim that a Merkur razor and brush and soap will get a much better shave – they’re probably right.
  • They claim it’s cheaper – again, and in the long run, probably right.
  • Shave in the shower, 3 minutes without a mirror? No chance.

Happily shaving oil doesn't cost a whole lot more, takes about 30 seconds longer and I find improves the results considerably both for a closer shave and in reduced razor burn.

The base oils
The base oils

There are two ways to use oil:

  • As a replacement for foam or soap
  • In addition to these as a first layer.

I've tried both methods and the oil and foam works the best by a long shot. The trouble was invariably the viscosity of the oil, neither bought nor made had sufficient thickness by itself hold the hair like foam.

I tried three types of commercially available shave oils before I gave my own a go. I have to confess it was purely because I ran out of King of Shaves Azor oil that I tried it in the first place but its been one long round of experimentation since then. You might not think your face is the best place to experiment and normally I’d agree with you. I'm not however suggesting you use a raw chilli, merely suitable oil, added extras are optional. This works especially well if you have sensitive skin, plain almond or olive oil is less likely to react than some mineral oil derived chemical.

Viscosifiers - they thicken the oil, but also are good for skin conditioning.
Viscosifiers - they thicken the oil, but also are good for skin conditioning.

The Ingredients

There are a whole host of different base/carrier oils you can use, most of them readily available if not from the supermarket then a normal health food shop, mostly for a few pounds. I used almond oil initially as I had it already. It worked well if a little on the thin side and if you don't like it you can always give your other half a nice massage. From there I added a more viscous liquid. Not possessing at that point any glycerine (liquid sugar near enough and well known for soothing chapped or irritated skin) I used a small amount of clear honey. Bizarrely, it worked better for me than the glycerine although it didn't homogenise very well. After the honey I added some essential oils, teatree for its antiseptic properties and lemon, geranium and chamomile for their soothing properties. I’m sure there are more, rose for pH balancing and the likes but I’m keeping it fairly simple for now.

I’m currently using a coconut oil, however the waxing point is fairly low, around room temperature so its currently sticking solid needed to be heated to make it liquid. I’d avoid oils that aren’t a liquid, far too much effort. Having said that, it does give a good viscosity when mixed with olive oil. They do separate but can be remixed easily.

my favourite essential oils for the shaving oil
my favourite essential oils for the shaving oil

My currently recipe is:

35ml olive oil/almond oil/other oil

10ml honey

10ml glycerine

5 drops lemon oil

5 drops teatree oil

3 drops geranium

3 drops chamomile

1 finely powdered aspirin

(note, be very careful with essential oils, they can burn your skin in neat enough concentrations. You may want to test your concoctions on the inside of your arm before applying to face!)

Azor Hybrid, the best of the bough preshave oils and a good dispenser too!
Azor Hybrid, the best of the bough preshave oils and a good dispenser too!

All of this goes into a KoS Azor hybrid bottle I saved, mainly because it has a little pump type dispenser. It only holds 60ml tops, so this keeps it fresh. I also shake it every time as none of the ingredients homogenise very well. It wouldn't do to get too much essential oil and not enough base oil. 

When you've made it, simply apply in the same way you would foam, just prior to the foam. It should make a thin semi waterproof layer on your skin. I use enough to liberally coat my face but not so much it runs. I usually have to wash my face after as it leaves an oil residue.

I haven't found any untoward effects on the razor although you may want to pay particular attention to thoroughly rinsing it. Product currently on trial with women's legs - I'll let you know how it goes ;-)

Final note, make sure you use it fairly quickly. There are problems associated with wet items, especially sugar ones (like honey) suspended in an oil. If left for long enough you can develop very nasty bacteria which obviously you don’t want

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