What to consider when shaving against the grain
Every man has that moment while shaving, of feeling the razor catch on some hairs as he accidentally drags the razor against his hair growth pattern, known as “the grain.” Shaving against the grain can be downright frightening, as images of cuts and ingrown hairs invade your imagination.
While many men debate whether shaving against the grain should ever occur, others frequently use this method to gain a closer shave. Properly managed, shaving against the grain can actually produce good results.
Cons of Shaving Against the Grain
Besides fear, there are downsides to shaving against hair growth. That is, there are downsides if you are not properly executing a good shave against the grain. So everything comes down to technique with “cons” being the side effect of improper method.
The results of a poorly performed against-the-grain shave include:
- Razor burn
- Ingrown hairs
- Ripping of hair from the follicle
- Skin irritation
- Skin redness
- Small cuts
Again, none of these problems occur if shaving against hair growth patterns is properly achieved.
Steps for Shaving Against the Grain
If you are committed to gaining a closer shave by going against the grain, there are some steps to doing this properly. By following these simple guidelines, you will enjoy your best-ever shaving results. But follow the pointers to the letter, so you can avoid the ugly results of rushing the process.
- Ensure your razor blades are sharp.
- Warm your face. Before shaving, use a hot towel or simply take a hot shower. This will warm your face just like you have seen barbers doing on television or experienced in an old fashioned barber shop, yourself.
- Exfoliate. If you are in the shower warming your face, use that time to exfoliate your skin. Use a simple exfoliation scrub.
- Apply your favorite pre shave oil. Pre shave oil prepares the skin, hydrates it and softens hairs to prepare them for easier cutting by the razor.
- Use a three-pass shave. A three-pass shave involves shaving with the grain for the first pass. Reapply shaving cream to the shaved areas and shave across hair growth patterns for the second pass. Lather one more time with shaving cream and shave against hair growth.
- Apply after shave moisturizing gel or lotion.
So the keys of shaving against hair growth pattern include proper skin preparation, proper use of the three-pass shave, and using a sharp razor blade.
Regardless of whether you choose to shave using a safety razor, Fusion razor, Mach-3 or straight razor, you can shave against the grain. Just take it slowly, follow the steps and enjoy your closest shave ever. Not quite comfortable with shaving against the grain yet? Don’t worry, you can practice the best tips of shaving with the grain until you are comfortable.