Pre-shave oils have been around for years. However, if your trying to decide the best pre-shave oil to go with, the task can somewhat be daunting at first.
Shaving with oil can definitely sound a bit strange at first. First time I heard about it – I was asking myself: ‘If I am going to be shaving with oil, does it matter what type of oil that I choose?’
Had I known what I know now – the answer to that is yes!
Many guys go through their shaving routine and never consider shaving with oil – and to that its perfectly fine.
However, there are definitely guys that fall into the category that get really nasty razor burn or skin irritation after shaving – this is where shaving with oil can help out big time.
So the goal of this article was to give you all the knowledge necessary to pick out the best shaving oil.
I’ll show you the core purpose of pre-shave oil, what the actual advantages are of using it (i.e. to prevent razor burn, moisturizing face, etc).
Determine if a pre-shave oil should be used with an electric shaver, if it causes acne at all, see if a pre-shave oil is necessary when using a beard trimmer, and lastly where exactly you can get the best pre-shave oil.
Purpose of Pre Shave Oil
Pre-shave oils serve a very specific purpose when using them.
Exactly as the name implies, they are to be used before your shave.
Normally if you take a shower, the water will absorb into the hair follicles on your body (and specifically in this case your face).
When the water absorbs, both your hair follicles thicken and your pores also open up.
This is when your face is a bit easier to shave.
Heres the deal though:
While it might be great to shave after a shower, you may still experience some irritation after shaving. This is where a pre-shave oil might help you out.
You see, when you jump out of the shower and start shaving, the skin on your face has indeed absorbed some moisture, but its only a bit more malleable than normal.
Therefore when you go across your face with your razor blade, the skin will generally hold up well to the blade but only to an extent before you may cut yourself or perhaps start to endure some general skin irritation.
But why is malleability so darn important?
You see when your skin can bend around the blade so to speak, it makes it easier to cut your hair. Also worth mentioning too is that the additional moisture on your face will cause the hairs to further thicken up.
When they are thicker, the razor can glide effortlessly through the hair and you can get a closer shave with less passes.
Advantages of Using Pre-Shave Oil
The largest advantage to using a pre-shave oil is to reduce general skin irritation when shaving.
As mentioned in the purpose section above, the less passes you need to make on your face when shaving the better.
This goes generally overall no matter which type of razor you are using.
Side note: If you are experencing severe skin irritation while shaving, you may want to consider a double edge safety razor as it generally will help tremendously with your morning routine. While it’s prone to knicks or cuts, by and large, it can get the job done in fewer passes than one Gilette Pro Fusion blade (5 blades on a handle therefore passing over your skin 5 times in one stroke).
The other advantages of a pre-shave oil will be providing a tremendous amount of moisture for your face.
If you have flaky or really dry skin on your face, a pre-shave oil will be a much needed boost of hydration throughout the day.
In addition to your skin now being well hydrated, you will likely also notice that it will be much more smoother as well.
If its your first time trying out a pre-shave oil, you might want to consider something along the lines of this one as it is unscented and also a pretty low cost.
What Are the Disadvantages of Pre-Shave Oil?
While the advantages are pretty great when it comes to using pre-shave oil, there are always going to be some downfalls as well.
Mostly the biggest downfall is that it falls into the YMMV (you’re mileage may vary) category.
For most guys pre-shave oil will be a huge gain in their morning routine.
The worse case scenario is that you simply don’t like it at all and are out only about $15 bucks.
The only other disadvantage – which I hardly qualify that much as a disadvantave would be the inherit time sink that goes along with using a pre-shave oil.
When you normally do your routine (showering or pre-applying a hot towel on your face) to open up the pores and thicken the follicles on your face, applying a pre-shave oil is just an added step.
When all is said and done, you will be adding an addition 3-5 minutes to your shaving routine.
Tips On Applying Pre-Shave Oil
Applying a pre-shave oil is a pretty straight forward process.
If its your first time, you don’t want to go too crazy and put a ton on your face at once. As with most anything, you want to try putting a little bit on (a drop) and seeing how it works.
So long as nothing out of the ordinary happens, once you get out of the shower or are have let a warm wet towel rest on your face for several minutes, you will want to pour out about a dime sized amount of pre-shave oil onto your palm of your hand.
After poured out, rub your hands together and then apply evenly across the shaving area.
After the pre-shave oil has been applied to your face, you will want to let it set in for a couple of minutes. Once you have waited the allotted time, you can then apply a shaving cream of your choice on top of the pre-shave oil.
Then go ahead and shave your beard clear off!
There is no need to reapply after going across your face every time with the blade. Normally one application will be enough for the duration of your shave.
After your shave is complete, if some oil residue remains, you can simply use some water and a towel to wipe the remaining part off.
Does Pre-Shave Oil Cause Acne?
When it comes to using a pre-shave oil and having mild to severe acne, it all depends.
Acne is caused when the pore in your skin is clogged and interacts with bacteria.
As outlined by the American Academy of Dermatology the dead skin cell will rise to the surface of the pore and then your body will try to dispose of the cell. When it doesn’t the dead skin cells stick around inside the pore and get flooded with your body’s natural sebum oil it will eventually interact with bacteria that ultimately becomes inflamed and thus creates acne.
While your mileage may vary when it comes to using a pre-shave oil there can be a lot of things at play here.
First off if you are using a disposable razor, this may very well be a huge contributor to acne in general.
You see when you use a cartridge based razor that contains several blades, there are a few things that may be happening.
With a cartridge based razor that is stacked with 5 blades, there isn’t a whole lot of room for the hair, shaving cream, oils, and skin cells to move through when you make a pass with it.
Naturally since when you shave all of the remnants get clogged within the blades themselves.
Therefore while you may rinse your blade after doing a pass, there is likely still a large amount of waste that is still clogged within the blades.
When you go to make another pass, you not only be shaving off the stubble, but you will also be moving over all of the bacteria from one part of your face on to the other.
Also when using a disposable razor, you have up to 5 blades at work. With those 5 blades, they are all equally as sharp or dull.
Consequently, you will be not only cutting the hair follicles, but also scraping away at your face likely increasing the likely hood of acne developing as outlined in the AAD article linked above.
So if your back is against a wall and you’re not sure if you should even keep using a disposable razor, you may really want to check out our guide on a double edge safety razor.
The benefits of owning a double edge safety razor are huge: reduced skin irritation, cost effective, prevent the likelihood of acne, etc.
Should You Use Pre-Shave Oil With a Beard Trimmer?
Sometimes pre-shave oil gets mistaken for beard oil – and rightfully so.
You see both products contain very similar ingredients (carrier and essential oils), but they serve two very specific purposes.
When using a pre-shave oil, the goal is to infuse as much oil into the skin as possible in order to reduce the likelihood of skin irritation.
However on the flipside to that, a beard oil is to also increase moisture for your skin, but at the root of the hair follicle in order to grow a long healthy beard that is beardruff free.
But with a beard trimmer, since your never passing over a blade that is going directly against your skin, pre-shave oil just simply isn’t necessary at all.
So if you have a little stubble or a lot and currently aren’t using any sort of beard oil, I invite you to check out all of the benefits of beard oil.
Hey before you know it you may feel ambitious and want to make your own beard oil before you know it!
Where To Buy The Best Pre Shave Oil
Pre-shave oil can be found at several places – be it your local WalMart or from a specialty store like The Art of Shaving.
However, the downside of going to place like WalMart is while it might be cheap, they sometimes may only carry very generic ones at best.
On the other hand at the Art of Shaving, the price that you are paying on a per ounce basis is a bit excessive.
Personally I would recommend you checking out Amazon as it seems to be the best middle of the road with several ample reviews abound.
You may want to go with an unscented one at first.
Other Guys Experiences With Pre-Shave Oil
Pre-shave oil is largely specific to your own skin.
However, across the board, the general consensus as we covered above is that its a largely unique to your own skin.
Should you have extraordinarily dry skin or perhaps have severe skin irritation after shaving, a pre-shave oil is likely to be a huge help be it with the shave itself, or giving your face the adequate moisture and nourishment that it needs.
Here were a few snippets from reviews that folks shared over in the subreddit /r/wicked_edge:
How Getting the Best Pre-Shave Oil Can Be Of Help
So we discovered the purpose, advantages/disadvantages, applying, suggested products to try out, and testimonials on pre-shave oil.
Heck even if you should use a pre-shave oil with acne or with a beard trimmer.
What’s the takeaway?
If you have skin irritation when you shave, nick easily, or perhaps have really dry skin on your face, then you might want to definitely consider getting a pre-shave oil.
They can be extremely helpful in preventing your morning routine from being a mourning routine – horrible pun I know 🙂
So long as you stick to a generic or lower cost version like those found on Amazon, you can really increase and perhaps even thoroughly enjoy your shave and brush all of the nasty skin irritation good bye when using a pre-shave oil.
- 1 Purpose of Pre Shave Oil
- 2 Advantages of Using Pre-Shave Oil
- 3 What Are the Disadvantages of Pre-Shave Oil?
- 4 Tips On Applying Pre-Shave Oil
- 5 Does Pre-Shave Oil Cause Acne?
- 6 Should You Use Pre-Shave Oil With a Beard Trimmer?
- 7 Where To Buy The Best Pre Shave Oil
- 8 Other Guys Experiences With Pre-Shave Oil
- 9 How Getting the Best Pre-Shave Oil Can Be Of Help