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(Video) 11 Great Ways To Treat Shaving Nicks And Cuts

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Treating Nicks and Cuts

Even the most careful shaver will get the occasional nick or cut. But before you start putting little dots of tissue on your face, here are 11 ways to treat them.

Spot Treatments
The classic way to treat a shaving nick or cut is with a styptic pencil. A styptic stops bleeding by contracting skin tissue to seal injured blood vessels. A classic styptic (like this one from Clubman) is made of aluminum sulfate (1!). Aluminum sulfate is not an aluminum metal but rather a naturally occurring mineral. You wet it then rub it against the nick or cut. Yes, it usually stings. Its typically a solid though some products like this one (2!) add additional ingredients like aloe vera to make a liquid which is then applied using a roller ball.  And here is set of single-use styptics (3!) in the shape of a matchbook (this example).

Another common spot nick treatment ingredient is aluminum chloride or one of its cousins like aluminum chorohydrate. It is again used with additional ingredients to make a more skin friendly, convenient product. Pacific Shaving’s Nick Stick (4!) is also is applied with a roller ball. And Proraso Styptic Gel (5!) is in gel form. By the way I have to give a shout out to my buddy Geo from for turning me onto this gel. It works really well for me and I’ve found a tiny bit goes a long way.

A few other “in a pinch” ideas for spot treatment of nicks or cuts when nothing else is available include a bit of petroleum jelly (6!) or even lip balm (7!). Aluminum chlorohydrate is used in commercial antiperspirants so rubbing your finger on an antiperspirant stick (8!) then onto the nick could help.

Full Face Treatments
What about solutions that are used on the entire face? These aren’t meant specifically as a nick or cut treatment but are useful for them anyway.

The classic face treatment for after shaving is using an alum block, like this one (9!)or this one (10!). Alum block is made up of potassium alum, another naturally occurring mineral. It was primarily used for its antiseptic properties back in the day, but it is a mild astringent too so it’s useful for those little shaving weepers. You wet the block and rub it all over your moist face. If you have not nicked yourself you may experience a cold tingle. As is goes over a nick you may get a bit of a sting though. Allow the face to dry briefly then rinse off with cool water–you don’t want to keep the mineral on your face due to it’s salty properties.

By the way, Alum Blocks can also be used as an anti perspirant. And vice-versa, some of the crystalline deodorant blocks you see at the supermarket might be useful for the face. Just be sure the main ingredient is labeled as either potassium alum or potash alum.

Finally, here’s a technique I learned from a barber in Las Vegas. Soak a hand towel in water, wring it out, then place it in the freezer before you start your shave. After you’re finished take the towel out of the freezer and place it on your face. The combination of the temperature and the pressure from the towel should stop minor bleeding (11!). It’s also a great, refreshing sensation for your face during the dog days of summer! If you’ve seen my videos before you know I’m not an advocate of using alcohol-based products on your face, but here’s an exception. After you take the towel out of the freezer sprinkle a little of your favorite aftershave onto it, then apply to your face. The alcohol will act as an antiseptic but because of the cold temperature of the towel it won’t penetrate too far under the skin and you won’t get that sting.
What nick-sealing products work well for you?


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

15 thoughts on “(Video) 11 Great Ways To Treat Shaving Nicks And Cuts”

  1. Got a really good nick on my upper lip this morning. That’s what I get for staying up past midnight watching the World Series (go Tribe!) and waking up at 5 AM. Well, the nick REALLY woke me up! (My fault, not the razor.)
    I used an alum bar to stop the bleeding and it worked wonders. My mistake was to follow up with a dab of neosporin. The neosporin appears to have moistened the wound and opened it up to blood flow (again). This has resulted in a pretty prominent wound on the lip. Just using the alum bar, the wound was sealed and healing. Lesson learned. Perhaps I should have waited longer before applying the neosporin?

  2. I got pretty got a pretty good bleeder on my upper lip in a hurried shave at work in the bathroom. To stop the bleeding, I soaked a tea bag and pressed it over the cut for about 30 seconds (tannic acid helps with blood coagulation). To seal it, a bit of lip balm worked very well.

  3. I’m one of those sick minded people that loved biochemistry & physical chemistry. In one of the biochemistry courses we covered the vitamins. Physiology covered blood clotting from beginning to scar tissue.
    So after all that education I can give some helpful hints. I can only stand a few minutes in a nutritional or vitamaniac store. My wife gets the same reaction going into WalMart.
    Forming the Clot – Vitamins A & D. They can be found premixed in gel-like capsules. This is the weird part. Instead of just swallowing the pill break it open and collect the gel in your hand. Just rub the oil over the bleeding area. Application is timed just like you would with the white alunimun (sp?) pens
    Scar Healing & Removal – Vitamin E erases scars. I started applying it to a surgical scar 10 years after the operation. The “holes” where they sew things up are all gone.
    I started using safety razors with no guidance other than what I could find on the web. It really cleans them up. Application has to be regular. Being persistant about using it often ebbs away easily.
    Opening the capsules can be a messy affair. Because the capsule decompresses it’s really easy to send the contents flying. I’ve used about 10 different scissors, a tone nail clipper, & different types of knives. The best technique by far is to bite the end of the pill while having your hands 1/2 holding- 1/2 catching everything. Then make sure to squeeze out the contents and do what you want with the empty capsule.
    Good luck fixing your nicks and cuts!

  4. Mind alum. The toxicity remains to be proved, but there are doubts, as expressed in these links: and and And how about this:
    To stay on the safe side, I have stopped using alum blocks (still have three, sigh…) and I am even wary of the Proraso Shave Cut Healing Gel, whose composition I am no sure of yet.
    Only saliva and toilet paper?
    A wary Frog guy.
    PS. The fridge is downstairs, the bathroom upstairs…

  5. For nicks, I use MY NIK IS SEALED, which is a small roll on that has aluminum chloride, aloe, and vitamin E. It has alcohol, too. It works really, really well. But as a daily post-shave regiment, I use my Shavex alum block and an ice-cold wash cloth/towel. I also tried cold GREEN TEA (brewed and kept in fridge), either by splashing it on or soaking a wash cloth in it and, WOW!, that is a natural way to make your face feel really nice after a shave. When I use the green tea, I never get a single breakout or redness.

  6. Gackk! You certainly nicked yourself up good for that video!
    Thanks for the tips. I’m going to try the freezer-towel thing right now.

      1. I really found your video on nicks & cuts very informative. I am a 70 year old newly who for years has used the electric shaver and cheap cartridge razor.
        You would think I would have mastered the art of shaving with a DE razor. Not so.
        After reading your recommendations I purchased a Merkur Progress and Heavy Classic 34C. Began with the Progress. Nicked myself good. I set the blade at #2 but even though was as careful as I could my first nick occurred at the cheekbone.
        Please advise of best methods for avoiding most nicks. Not too discouraged yet.

  7. Great tips. I use alum after most of my shaves and it works great even for just razor burn. I used to soak a towel in ice water and then use it after the shave, but now I use cold water throughout every shave.

  8. I find in the summer especially, alcohol based aftershaves are great for clearing up my skin. Is it just because of the drying effect that you don’t like them Mark? I could see that being more of an issue in the winter, particularly for dry skin types.

  9. cold towel for me, every morning. I don’t nick myself all the time, but I think it helps close the pores before I apply face lotion. It has worked so far.

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