Razor bumps are an annoying and painful side effect of shaving when there is too much friction between the blade and the skin, or hairs become ingrown. Several products on the market tout their benefits as relief for razor bumps, but what about witch hazel? Is witch hazel good for razor bumps?
Witch hazel is an anti-inflammatory that is excellent both for preventing and treating razor bumps. Razor bumps are caused by ingrown hairs that have curled back on themselves after a subpar shave. Witch hazel helps to cool, calm, and tighten the skin, and some brands include soothing, moisturizing, and even cleansing additives as well.
Read on for more information about what causes razor bumps, the difference between razor bumps and razor burn, and how witch hazel can help prevent and treat them.
What are razor bumps?
If you’ve been shaving for any time at all, you’ve probably experienced the red, rough, and irritated skin that can result from using a dull razor, too little shaving cream, or a dull razor.
Razor bumps are caused by ingrown hairs that have started to grow back on themselves, leading to itchy and uncomfortable red bumps.
Razor bumps are usually caused by shaving with a dull razor or not using good, thick shaving cream or soap. They may also be the result of the natural texture of your hair – people with tightly curled or spiral beard hairs are more susceptible to razor bumps than those whose hairs grow straight – or sensitive skin.
Bacteria on a razor blade can cause ingrown hairs, especially if the razor is left in the shower. Shaving with clean tools is important for helping fight skin irritation.
Are razor bumps the same as razor burn?
The terms razor bumps and razor burn are often used interchangeably because they are both painful and annoying skin irritation that typically result from your shaving process. They are two different conditions, however.
While razor bumps are the result of ingrown hairs, razor burn is a skin rash. Razor burn results when there is inadequate lubrication between the razor and your skin – that’s why it’s so important to invest in a good quality shaving cream or soap.
Using a quality shaving cream or soap (plus a bowl and a brush!) helps you build a thick enough layer of lather to create a safe lubricating barrier and prevent razor burn.
Shaving too quickly or using a dull blade can also cause razor burn. Taking your time with your shave, and using a sharp blade will go a long way toward preventing razor burn.
Does witch hazel help with razor bumps?
Witch hazel can certainly help treat razor bumps, both by itself and as an ingredient in a skincare product.
The astringent properties of witch hazel help soothe razor bumps by reducing the inflammation caused by the ingrown hairs as well as cooling the skin to provide relief from discomfort.
Since witch hazel also tightens the skin and helps close pores, it is can also be helpful in fighting razor burn.
The best witch hazel for razor bumps
You can find a wide variety of witch hazel in a huge range of prices, so you may want to consider trying out a few before settling on a favorite.
Plain witch hazel is effective for preventing razor bumps, but some people complain about the smell or would prefer something with additional benefits. Here are two of my favorite types of witch hazel to use after shaving:
- Thayers Alcohol-Free Facial Toner with Aloe Vera
- Jack Black Fix Razor Bump & Ingrown Hair Solution
Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner with Aloe Vera
Thayers is one of the most popular witch hazel-based toners on the market with both men and women.
Thayers is an alcohol-free witch hazel toner that claims to reduce the look of pores, balance oily skin, and help maintain the skin’s moisture barrier thanks to the addition of aloe vera.
The Rose Water scent is the most popular (and easily available) version, but you can also choose the original or cucumber options if you’d like something a little more masculine. If you do end up with the Rose Water one, don’t worry! The scent fades pretty quickly.
Thayers Witch Hazel Toner is pretty easy to find and you’re likely to be able to pick it up at your visit to most big-box retailers and maybe even your local grocery store. A 12 fl oz bottle goes for $10.95.
Jack Black Fix Razor Bump & Ingrown Hair Solution
Jack Black Fix Razor Bump & Ingrown Hair Solution is a part of a luxury skincare brand developed specifically for men.
This solution is oil-free and claims to end painful razor bumps and treat acne blemishes. It features salicylic acid and green tea in addition to the witch hazel, and is ideal for oily and acne-prone skin.
Jack Black is a higher-end after shave treatment and is not available everywhere. You can find it at some Target locations and at your local Sephora as well as online. It retails for $27 for a 6 fl oz bottle.
What is witch hazel?
Witch hazel (the plant) grows as a shrub and is also sometimes called Winterbloom. Branches of the witch hazel plant were used to make divining rods in the search for underground water, also known as water witches, but the plant is mostly used for its medical qualities.
The witch hazel solution you use after shaving is derived from the plant of the same name and can be used as an anti-inflammatory. The liquid tightens and cools the skin, reducing irritation, swelling, and pain.
It is excellent for calming your skin after shaving, but the same qualities make it excellent for treating bug bites, cuts, and a variety of other skin-related complaints. A little bit on a cotton pad is also a great way to cool off during a hot day!
What makes witch hazel an astringent?
Compounds in witch hazel called tannins cause the skin to shrink and tighten.
These tannins make witch hazel effective as a soothing agent for irritated skin.
Witch hazel may also have some antiseptic properties since it helps clean dirt off the skin, but this is largely unsubstantiated, and it should not be depended on as an antispetic.
Is witch hazel good for ingrown hairs?
Witch hazel is good for preventing and treating razor bumps caused by ingrown hairs.
It tightens the skin and reduces the size of pore openings, lessening the chances of hairs turning backward and growing into the skin. When dabbed onto irritated areas, witch hazel soothes the skin, relieving pain and reducing the associated redness.
Since shaving is not limited to the face, witch hazel is good to keep on hand for times when you might be shaving other parts of the body that are prone to ingrown hairs.
Is witch hazel the best solution for razor bumps?
Witch hazel is plentiful, cost-effective, natural, and most importantly, it just plain works. Is it the best solution for razor bumps though?
Depending on your skin type, beard growth pattern, and personal preferences, witch hazel may work perfectly for treating your razor bumps, or you may find yourself looking for another solution.
There are several other proven ways to prevent and treat razor bumps, including:
- Aloe vera
- Tea tree oil
- Green tea