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Make Your Own Pre-Shave Oil For Sensitive Skin

I have to begin this post by stating that I feel SO lucky to have such a talented daughter and daughter-in-law working with me. My daughter-in-law Kaitlyn has been my assistant for almost 2 years now and my daughter Britta started working for me a year ago in May (right after graduating from college.) They are my go-to gals and I can’t imagine doing this blog without them now! Especially now that they have started helping me with blog posts. After more than 2 1/2 years of posting 7 days a week, I was perilously close to burnout. All that has changed since Kaitlyn and Britta have stepped up to the plate. So my heartfelt thanks to THEM, and to YOU too for welcoming them to the OGT family. :-)

Today’s post is an awesome DIY skin care product brought to you by Britta, who I appear to be rubbing off on….or is it the other way around?  :-)

Britta writes:

My husband Neil has ridiculously sensitive skin. This is just the plain and simple truth. His skin is sensitive to the point that he would just avoid shaving his face altogether if he could help it. That was the case until a year or so ago, when we stopped into a specialty shaving store at the mall. We left with their shaving “starter kit” that included a pre-shave oil, shaving cream, and an after-shave balm. This routine improved Neil’s shaving experience immensely, and all was well.

Then a few months ago, Neil mentioned to me that he was low on pre-shave oil and that he would need to get some more. After looking into it, he found out that a 2 oz bottle of the pre-shave oil from the specialty shaving store was going to set him back a whopping $25. This did not sit well with me, so I assured him that I could find a better alternative. Fortunately, the alternative that I did find was not only dirt cheap, but also incredibly easy to make.

DIY Pre-Shave Oil

In a 4 oz bottle, combine:

  • 2 parts castor oil
  • 1 part olive oil
  • 15+ drops essential oil of your choice

pre-shave oil

pre-shave oil

To use: rub a small amount onto the area to be shaved before you get into the shower (or before you shave at the sink), let sit for a minute, then shave away!

Castor oil is very soothing and lubricating to the skin because it is rich in fatty acids. Olive oil is also lubricating and moisturizing. Toss a skin-nourishing essential oil into the mix, and you’re good to go! Neil requested Sandalwood because he likes how it smells, but it is also very calming for skin and can aid in preventing razor burn and irritation. Other skin-friendly oils you could use include lavender, geranium, and patchouli.

So there you have it! It is seriously that easy, and it is seriously that awesome.

This pre-shave oil isn’t just for guys either! I’ve personally used this before shaving my legs, and let me tell you, it is like night and day compared to my regular shaving routine. My legs feel so soft afterwards, and it definitely helps avoid the nicks and cuts I normally get (I’m just clumsy like that). I hope you enjoy this pre-shave oil as much as I do!

(It is my personal opinion that high-quality castor oil is perfectly safe to apply topically. If you didn’t want to use castor oil for whatever reason, feel free to substitute another oil like avocado or jojoba.)

Related:  The Best Carrier Oils For Your DIY Health and Beauty Products

What essential oils do I use?
Have a question about essential oils? Curious about what brand of essential oils I prefer? Find the answers in my Essential Oils FAQ!

pre-shave oil

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  • Hi Jillee and Britta,

    I think this is just the thing I have been looking for! Is the essential oil for fragrance purposes only or does it add something beneficial for your skin? I have a shaving cream from England with a very nice but distinct fragrance and I am worried about mixing too many scents.

  • Lavender, geranium, and patchouli is the synergistic blend I use for psoriasis. Already have it on hand, and castor oil, along with the olive…may try another carrier than olive, though. Great way to shave! I hate shaving cream, and have just been using my castile or black soap homemade body wash with my eo’s in it for shaving. Will try this very soon. Thank you, Jillee!

  • […] tips and DIY’s this blog has to offer. One such useful DIY I came across one morning was for pre-shave oil. Pre-shave oil? I’d never heard of such a thing. I read the post and saw that it was designed […]

  • I made this for my husband yesterday using Cedarwood (that was the essential oil I had on hand) and added another 5 drops of Rosemary. It has a very pleasant scent. My husband was so surprised when I gave it to him. I am a big fan and love all the DIY projects you feature here!

  • As far as drying the blade, I dry mine on a towel and I store it in the shower where water won’t hit it. I have been using the same blade for probably more than a year. I shave my arms every two to three days and usually make a swipe at my legs about once a week. (Maybe not so in the winter, but I don’t go more than a week and a half). I use a Venus razor. No nicks or rash. I hardly ever use shaving cream, and a lot of the time I don’t particularly suds up my legs specifically to shave, I really don’t find I need to. I know everyone is different, but just wanted to point out how much a difference it makes to really dry your blade.

  • You had a link attached to Sandalwood which I take that ‘s where you buy your ess. oil . The question I have is , is that sandalwood real india smelling sandalwood or another type. I’ve bought from several different sites and I still haven’t found what I like to refer to as “original sandalwood” .

  • Hi Britta and Jillee,
    Thank you so much for basing your pre shave oil on my recipe at Adorned From Above. I can not tell you how flattered I am that you even mentioned my blog!!! I have been following you for several years. Yours is one of my favorite blogs.

    To answer a few questions also. I used castor oil because it is a thicker oil and works well with the olive oil to lubricate the beard. My son uses a straight edge blade, so he does not have a problem with his blade getting clogged up. I made him a shaving cream which he has used, but I also made him a shave soap, which he likes better. Both recipes are on my blog also.

    Now, the reason he uses a straight blade is that he was getting ingrown hairs on his face, and this apparently reduces the amount of ingrown hairs.

    Again, thank you so much for mentioning me.
    Have a great week.
    Debi @ Adorned From Above

  • First a question: in the blog post there was reference to some people being concerned about using castor oil. Why?

    Second: I heard on the Clark Howard radio show that it makes a HUGE difference in the life of a razor when you dry it off instead of letting it drip dry or as some people do, store the razor head in oil. Not sure if he dries with a towel and/or a hair dryer but he noted that ever since doing this that his razor lasts for months. Just a thought.

  • Britta, you mention a couple other oils as options for replacing the castor oil. I’m wondering what it is about the castor oil that made you choose that and the avocado and jojoba that made you choose them as other options. Does it have to do with consistency, properties or a combination or is it something completely different? I don’t think I have an issue with the castor oil so I’m probably over thinking but I’m curious about more of the details for choosing the different oils if there are any. Also do you use just Sandalwood for Neil or do you use other oils too? The scent is apt to be a make or break feature for my men especially my college age son. Also what is the shelf life like? I’m not sure about castor oil but some certainly spoil faster than others and I imagine 4oz goes a long way.

    Thank you for sharing this Britta it sounds like a great solution to sensitive skin as well as a luxurious option for those without sensitive skin, male and female.

  • I have heard you can rinse the gunk out with rubbing alcohol. Just put some in a dish & set the head of the razor in it, maybe swish it around a little. It should only take a minute or so.

  • I use hair conditioner to shave my legs. It’s the only thing I’ve found that doesn’t take hide with it but is terribly hard to get out of the razor. I’ve found that a very soft toothbrush and hot water takes care of it

  • I would worry about using this too. I’ve tried some other.formulas that left gunk on my razor blades. Other than
    This, it’s a great idea. I don’t use any shaving cream now,
    Because my soap produces enough lather.

    • This is a good question when you’re talking about triple-blade razors like Venus, etc. Ruining these blades is a big problem, as they are very expensive.

      What I suggest is that you consider trying old-school shaving, which was what we all did before plastic razors and blades came out. Last year, I was at the store picking up new Venus razors, and I was shocked (again) at how much they cost. So, when I got home, I went on Ebay and purchased a reconditioned metal razor. It is so much more nicely made than the plastic ones. I found boxes of blades on Amazon. The blades are pennies each. As a bonus, you can also safely recycle them in the small plastic dispensers that come with them. I also bought some shave soap and a brush at Walgreens, and the shaving cream it makes is more creamy and stable than foam from cans (which also left rust rings on my tub).

      This solution prevents gunky blades (you recycle old blades after every few uses). It is also saving me a lot of money each month. You will definitely need to use a pre-shave oil like Jillee describes here. I use coconut oil myself, and it works great. Here is a website with information for ladies on shaving your legs old school: http://wiki.badgerandblade.com/Leg_shaving

      • I love your tips! My hubby read somewhere, and he does this, and he swears it works: He took an old pair of jeans and after most shaves he runs the blade on them – the opposite direction of shaving. It seems to clean the blades and keep them really sharp. He cut those jeans and gave me a piece, and I think doing this really helps!

    • I would think it might actually protect the blades from rust by leaving a thin layer of oil after rinsing and or wiping off but I wouldn’t guess it would leave any more gunk than any other shaving cream, lotion or oil does. Just shaving leaves hair and dead skin and I have never been able to comfortably shave “dry” so all the shaving creams, lotions and oils leave something and have to be cleaned out somehow. At least in my experience so I can’t imagine this would be any worse but I also haven’t tried it. I have used coconut oil or CO based cleanser to shave with though and it never struck me as leaving more to clean out than regular shaving cream.

    • If you look just under the (in my case grey) line after the “read more” button in the email you will se an “unsubscribe” link along with a “change your contact details” link highlighted in blue (again at least in my case). Hope that helps. I don’t think they are probably able to do it from your post since it isn’t necessarily directly linked to your email subscription.

  • Here’s how my boyfriend does it: Apply the pre-shave oil to your skin. Don’t glop on so much that it’s really greasy; it’s just meant to soften and lubricate your skin. Apply shaving cream right on top of your newly prepped skin, then shave. He loves the lime verbena scented products, so I’m going to look for essential oils to create a similar scent. Can’t wait to try this! Thanks ladies!

  • Sorry but I don’t understand something. After I put this oil on and let sit for a minute, am I suppose to wash it off and then use shaving cream? Or let the oil sit for a minute and then just shave without shaving cream? Thanks :)

    • You don’t have to wash it off, you just put your shaving cream right on top. You could just shave with the oil and no shaving cream, but I find that using a shaving cream helps to keep the oil and hair from sticking to the blade so much. :-) Hope that helps!

    • I personally use a shaving oil I get from Walmart that cost about $5.00. It takes 5 to 10 drops in a moistened hand then you rub your hands together and apply to face, or wherever you wish to shave, I then apply my shaving cream and then shave. You do not wipe off the oil or wash it off, the oil is a facial lubricant that allows the blades to glide over the skin and it does feel so wonderful. Some people skip the shaving cream all together and just shave with the oil alone, it really is a personal choice.

  • Jill,

    Have you tried (or researched) Jojoba Oil?? I’ve just discovered it (7.99 for 4oz at Trader Joe’s – pure but, unfortunately, not labeled organic). Look into it…. amazing stuff, especially for winter’s heater induced dehydrated skin. I’m using it on my face at night, on my arms and legs after showering and, of course, my hands…..absorbs well.

    See what you think…



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