Curiously, although shaving is an ages-old tradition, few men know how to do it properly! Should you shave with or against the grain? What are the best shaving methods for avoiding irritation? Learning the right shaving techniques will not only guarantee a better shave, but will leave your skin smoother and softer as well.
Shaving Against the Grain—Don’t Do It
Whether to shave with or against grain is one of the most commonly asked questions about shaving. Depending on whom you talk to, you may get different answers.
Some men insist on shaving against the grain for a closer shave. This may seem the most obvious move, and while shaving against the grain does cut the hair very close to the skin, it also increases the likelihood of redness, razor burn, and other forms of skin irritation. Shaving against the grain causes the blade to harshly rake across your skin and cut hairs too short. This makes them more likely to grow back under the skin as ingrown hairs. Avoid damaging your skin—shave with the grain.
Preparing for a Close Shave
Shaving with the grain does not mean sacrificing the closeness of your shave. On the contrary, there are many ways to shave with the grain and get a close shave—without endangering your skin.
First, ensure that you are using a good razor. It’s worth investing in a single-blade safety razors, as these razors are able to cut and glide easily without causing irritation.
Then, you must prepare your face for a shave, whether you shave with or against grain. Wash your face with warm water to cleanse and open pores. Then apply a pre-shave oil or other pre-shave product to your face. This will soften your hair follicles, making them easier to cut while adding lubricant that will help your razor glide more smoothly across your face and neck. Follow with a lathering product such as a cream, lotion or soap to your face and neck. The thicker the lather, the more protected your face will be.
How to Shave With the Grain
Shaving with the grain requires figuring out which way your hairs are growing. Note that hair will grow in different directions depending on where it is located. Shave as you normally would, taking care not to put too much pressure on your face. Over time, you’ll get to know your skin and hair so well, you won’t even have to think about which way its growing.
Of course, even shaving with the grain can be irritating to the skin. Having products on hand to treat irritation is a wise idea. For nicks and cuts, ditch the toilet paper and opt for a solution like Glyder- specially formulated to prevent bleeding from shaving nicks and cuts.