Shaving against the grain stirs quite a debate among shaving enthusiasts out there. Some say it should be done to get a closer shave, others say it should never be done as it can irritate skin and lead to ingrown hairs. What do I say? I say you should just make sure you do it right, then the “downsides” are irrelevant.
Downsides To Shaving Against The Grain
I would argue there are none, so I’m going to talk about the theoretical downsides, or the downsides if you are shaving wrong. I’ve heard that shaving against the grain causes the following issues:
- Razor burn
- Skin Irritation
- Ingrown hairs
- Plucking/tearing hairs out.
These are all completely avoidable. The problem most people face when it comes to shaving, is not really knowing how. We’ve all seen the commercials that claim the latest razors are sharper than ever, and require fewer strokes than ever to shave with, so we think we just need a few simple down strokes with the grain, and we are good to go. It doesn’t really work out that way does it.
Are you really satisfied with this type of shave? I know I wasn’t. That’s why I researched shaving a lot, and ended up making the switch to straight edge razors. However, even if you stick with a regular wet razor, you should still learn how to properly shave against the grain. Additionally, there are some simple steps you can take to avoid all of the above, and get the best shave you’ve ever had while doing it.
Steps To Improve Your Shave
- Warm up your face before you shave – Either use a hot towel, or just take a hot shower first.
- Exfoliate your skin before shaving – You can use exfoliation scrub to do this
- Practice the three pass shave – Shave with the grain first, then re-lather and go across the grain, before re-lathering a final time and shaving against the grain.
- Moisturize after the shave.
- Always use a sharp razor – Don’t try to squeeze out a few extra shaves from your blade.
If you hate having to keep buying new razor blades and putting up with dull shaves, consider making the switch to a straight-edged razor. One blade lasts for life in most cases.
The most important thing for you to do is shave WITH the grain first. It will take most of the stubble off, and will set you up for an AGAINST the grain shave without any irritation.
Shaving doesn’t have to be a chore or a mundane task we have been born into, it can be a comfortable, enjoyable past time. That is the mantra of this website. (It’s also the mantra to let people realize that certain “truths” about shaving with razors are in fact “myths” – Like wet razors providing a better shave for example).