Even the most careful and experienced man will occasionally cut or nick himself when shaving. Below I offer some remedies that’ll help stop the bleeding on your minor shaving injuries.
There are a number of products available over-the-counter that are specifically made for treating cuts and nicks caused by shaving. Although the way you apply each product differs, the key ingredient in all of them is astringent, which tightens up pores and clot and dry the blood.
A Styptic Pencil. The old school way to treat a shaving nick or cut is with a styptic pencil. A styptic pencil is a small medicated stick typically made of mineral astringents such as, aluminum sulfate, titanium dioxide, or potassium alum, and is generally used to seal small cuts and nicks. It helps stop the bleeding by causing the blood vessels to contract, tightening up any openings caused by cuts. To use a styptic pencil, simply moisten the tip and press it against your nick for a few seconds. It may sting a little when applied, but most cuts will stop bleeding in minutes. Be sure to check your face before leaving the house as it can leave a powdery residue after you’ve applied it.
Recommended Styptic Pencils
Nix Styptic Pencil
Clubman Styptic Pencil
Nick Relief Styptic Pencil
Alum Block. This consists of a bar of soap sized block of potassium alum that you moisten with cold water, and gently rub on your face after shaving. It works like a styptic pencil – constricting blood vessels and tightening pores. However styptic pencils are designed specifically for spot treatments while alum blocks are for treating the whole face. This makes it an effective treatment if you have multiple nicks and cuts all over your face which is common if you’re straight razor shaving for the first time.
Alum blocks can be used as a post-shave treatment even if you don’t have any nicks or cuts. In addition to acting as astringents, the alum block has antiseptic properties which can help prevent razor burn.
Once you’ve finished using the alum block, clean it thoroughly with water, dry it off and store in a dry area. If the block retains any moisture it’ll dissolve.
Recommended Alum Blocks
Taylor of Old Bond Street Alum Block
The Art of Shaving Alum Block
Shavex Alum Block
Nick pencils and gels. There are a few products available that provide an alternative to the styptic pencil. They have the same blood cell restriction and pore tightening capabilities, but with less sting and without leaving a powdery residue. Besides key ingredients to stop the bleeding, these rollers and gels also include aloe and vitamin E to help moisturize and cool your skin. My Nick is Sealed and Pacific Shaving Company Stick.
If you don’t have any specific products to hand, then the following methods can also help treat your nicks and cuts.
Cold water. Splashing cold water on your face may be the only remedy you need. The cold water will cause your blood vessels to constrict, slowing down the blood flow and in time the cut or nick will clot. The colder the water the better. If you have some ice cubes sitting in the freezer, rub one over your cut for a faster and more effective result.
Aftershave. If you’ve ever applied aftershave following a clean shave, you’ll know how much it stings. However, aftershaves contain alcohol which acts as an astringent. It also works as an antiseptic which helps prevent razor burn. Not only that… applying an aftershave will leave you smelling very manly!
Lip balm. Simply dabbing lip balm onto the cut will help seal the wound, allowing a clot to form.
Antiperspirant. Antiperspirants contain aluminum chloride which not only prevents sweating, but also acts as an astringent. Dab a little bit of antiperspirant deodorant on your cut.
Petroleum jelly. Applying a small amount of Vaseline to your nick does exactly the same thing as lip balm. Just make sure you wipe it off before you leave the house.
Tissue paper. Probably the remedy that most men use to seal their shaving wound. If you’ve tried the above treatments and they don’t quite work for you, tear a few tiny squares of tissue paper and apply them to your cuts and nicks.