1. It's best to avoid shaving the very first thing in the morning. If possible, let your skin wake up a while. This allows the "puffiness" you encounter from fluids collecting in your skin during the night to recede, thus allowing you to get a closer shave when you do begin the task.
2. Use an exfoliate such as a facial cleanser or scrub to eradicate dead skin cells and open up the pores of the skin to prepare it for a close shave.
3. Stubble should be wetted with warm or hot water before shaving. This swells the hair shaft allowing the blade to cut the hair, not your skin.
4. Thoroughly massage shave cream into stubble. A vitamin and Aloe Vera based shave cream will provide a close soothing shave and protect against razor rashes and burns.
5. Use a sharp blade. A dull blade is responsible for many shaving cuts as it drags over your face and catches your skin along with the hairs of your beard.
6. Rinse the blade often in hot water when shaving and use slow short strokes. Take your time.
7. Shaving with grain means shaving in the direction of how the hair grows on your face. It is always best to shave this way. Shaving against the grain can cause redness, rashes, razor burn and ingrown hairs, which are all painful.
8. After shaving, apply an oil-free moisturizer to soothe and protect the face. If you prefer an after-shave, check the label for alcohol. Dryness and stinging sensations are by-products of most after-shave products whose primary ingredient is alcohol. It may feel good at the time, but alcohol based after-shaves are actually irritating to many complexions.
9. Be wary of mentholated shaving products. Although the "cool" sensation feels good on the face, menthol, like alcohol, can be irritating to the skin.
10. A lot of foam or lather is not needed. Many grocery and drug store shave creams contain skin irritants such as Sodium Laurel Sulfate, which are formulated to "foam up" the product. However, these irritants may be the cause of your skin problem.
*if you run out of shaving cream, i've heard hair conditioner or diluted lotion works