If you have sensitive skin, then ingredients like essential oils and harsh exfoliants may irritate your skin even when you haven’t had a fresh shave. However, even those with generally non-reactive skin may experience more sensitivity if you’ve just run a razor over the surface.
Here’s why: Shaving in itself is a form of physical exfoliation. If you exfoliate pre-shave, the blades will glide across the skin much easier and won’t get stuck on dead skin buildup. Either way, after this process, your fresh, raw skin will naturally be more sensitive to irritants.
So if your lotion burns post-shave, it may be due to some sneaky AHAs or BHAs (think salicylic, glycolic, lactic, and other acids), retinol, concentrated essential oils, or other irritating fragrances. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t moisturize at all; it just calls for a different product pick. (We repeat: You should moisturize after every shower).