Unless you’re the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, your shaving experience should involve minimal bloodshed. Or hell, spring for no bloodshed at all if you’re the overachieving type. Everyone loves a man who aims high.
Though your sights are set on a haemoglobin-free shave, there are bound to be times when too many hits of the snooze button result in a rushed morning and the inevitable razor nicks. Daddy dearest taught you that the go-to remedy is to apply small pieces of toilet paper to your wounds and wait for them to clot, but grow up. A blood-soaked square of 3-ply isn’t going to match your suit.
Luckily a plethora of alternative options are available, from speciality products designed just for facial pruning incidents to hippie-dippy home remedies.
Products Specifically Made For Shaving Cuts
There is a variety of products on the market designed to treat shaving cuts, but all have one thing in common: an astringent. The astringent constricts the tissues in your skin, helping to stop the flow of blood from the wound.
The easiest option may be one you already have in your medicine cabinet. The alcohol in many aftershaves has astringent properties, plus it acts as an antiseptic to prevent infections. Not to mention the classically manly scent you’ll be rocking after using one. Yes, it’ll come with a sting, but think of it as the wake-up call your alarm clock wasn’t.
A Styptic Pencil
A styptic pencil is an old-school fix made from mineral astringents like titanium dioxide or anhydrous aluminium sulfate. It comes in the form of a small stick that, after the tip has been moistened a bit with water, is simply pressed against the nick for a few seconds. Be sure to check the mirror before you leave, as styptic pencils can leave a white, powdery residue when applied.
An Alum Block
While a styptic pencil is ideal for spot treatments, an alum block is a full-face solution. The block looks much like a bar of soap, but it’s made from potassium alum that can be wet and rubbed on the face after shaving. Besides their primary role as astringents, the minerals in an alum block also have antiseptic qualities that can help prevent razor burn.
Rollers & Gels
Rollers and gels are essentially Styptic Pencils 2.0. The blood-stopping strategy is the same, but roller and gel products tend to sting less and don’t leave behind that suspicious residue. Many also come with ingredients like aloe and vitamin E to soothe the skin after shaving trauma.
Other Products That Will Do In A Pinch
If you’re not into the idea of purchasing specialty products to deal with your shaving accidents, or you unexpectedly find yourself without your chosen remedy on hand, other products can be used in a pinch.
Dab a bit of antiperspirant on your wound. The aluminium chloride in its ingredients list acts as an astringent in addition to preventing sweat stains on your favourite t-shirts.
You may put the stuff in your mouth now, but it started out as a surgical antiseptic that was used to clean wounds on the battlefields of WWI. Ew. It’ll sting like hell, but it’s an effective aftershave and your face will be oh so minty fresh.
Smear on a little lip balm to seal the wound and keep larger cuts from forming unsightly scabs. The waxy texture helps close up the cut and allows a clot to form.
Vaseline or another petroleum jelly works just like lip balm. Just be sure to clean the smear off your face before walking out the door.
Eye drops work on cuts the same way they work to relieve red eyes. They slow down bleeding by constricting blood vessels.
Home Remedies For Your DIY Fix
And finally, if you’re the guy who lives in a log cabin he built himself and only eats meat he’s killed with his bare hands, you need something a little more DIY. No store bought nonsense will do when you can craft a solution yourself. Try these natural antidotes:
Witch Hazel is a natural astringent.
Apply vitamin E to reduce the appearance of scars. Repeat several times per day for best results.
Aloe vera is a wonder substance that will simultaneously soothe pain, moisturise, and encourage healing at the site of the injury.
This is as simple as it gets. Splash cold water on your face to – you guessed it – constrict your blood vessels and stymie the flow of blood. For faster and more effective results, try rubbing an ice cube on the cut.