Magazine / Beauty / Grooming

Men's Shaving Club: Shaving with or Against the Grain

MD Alexandra Dorobantu
Dermatologist
On Jan 11th, 2021

Every man has a very unique and individual way of shaving their beard. One of the most widely raised questions about shaving is whether to shave with the grain or against the grain.

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The Gentlemen Shaving Club is our mini-series about modern and traditional ways of shaving and getting expert advice about some of the most common skin issues which can appear. In this first episode, we focus on the importance of finding the best way to shave and learning about a new technique.

The grain is the usual direction that your hair grows. You will find that all your hairs grow in many distinct directions when shaving. But a new trend among barbers says that if you want to have the most comfortable shaving experience, you should shave with the grain.

Shaving with the Grain

Shaving with the grain has become more and more popular, especially between men with skin problems like acne, folliculitis or excessive dryness. Using this method, you can avoid irritations and unwanted post-shave rashes.

Method

You have to shave your beard in the same direction the hair grows. Use clean hands to establish the hair growth patterns, by combing through your beard. If the hairs feel soft and comfortable to the touch, then you're running your finger in the same growth direction as your hairs.

Apply shaving cream that allows the razor to glide smoothly along the skin. Choose a product that is made with natural ingredients to give the skin the required protection. Using a sharp, high-quality razor, gently press the skin and make short strokes.

It is a must to moisturise after you shave to avoid redness, irritations, itchy skin and ingrown hairs. Choose the right moisturiser for your skin type!

Tip: Exfoliate the day before you decide shaving to remove dead skin cells, other debris and sweat! Use a gentle scrub that will unclog pores and swipe away any impurities.

Razor Blade

When you are shaving against the grain, you need a fresh and sharp razor every time. But if you choose to shave with the grain, then you can use the same blade multiple times without any worries. Keep in mind it has to be a high-quality product tough!

Easy to Maintain

The aftercare when shaving with the grain is so easy, that is often forgotten. Even though your skin doesn't irritate or get itchy, you need to remember to always moisturise after shaving. Use a small amount of moisturiser, beard oil or aftershave to maintain skin hydration and softness.

Skin Irritation

The main reason why most men choose to shave with the grain is that this method doesn't cause any skin irritations or rashes. It is also the recommended method to shave if you have acne or other skin irritation. With a very light hand, you shave the beard in the direction of hair growth. The hairs will not be cut below the skin, so there won't be any ingrown hair issues.

Downsides of Shaving with the Grain

One of the downsides of shaving same direction as your hair grows is that you don't achieve a perfectly clean shave. Shaving with the grain leaves many noticeable hairs, making your skin look flaky, rough and uneven. You need to practice a little to master the shaving with the grain technique. 

Shaving Against the Grain

When shaving against the direction of hair growth, hair follicles are usually pulled up and away from the skin surface. So, it is more likely to develop a razor burn or skin irritation because of this trauma.

Method

Identify the direction of your hair growth by gently patting your clean hands through your strands. Against the grain is the direction where you experience most resistance. To prevent any mistakes, make sure that your skin is well prepped before you start shaving. 

Wash your face with a soft cleanser to remove impurities and sweat. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water to open your pores. You can also take a hot shower to soften your strands and exfoliate with a gentle scrub or shaving brush. These techniques will help you achieve a smoother, pain-free shave.

Apply a generous amount of shaving gel or cream using the three-step shave method go first with the grain, second across the grain and finally against the grain. Reapply the shaving gel or cream every time is needed, so you continuously have some product on your face when shaving.

Close Shave

The best way to get a very close shave is to shave against the hair growth direction. When you are shaving against the grain, the hairs cut very deep under the skin, giving you a neat and smooth shave. 

Effortless

It is easy and straightforward to shave this way. Once you master the shaving against the grain technique, the time it takes for you to shave will reduce significantly.

Lifespan of Shaving

Using this method, you cut your hair very close to the skin surface, so it will take longer to grow back. It is easy, accessible and reliable. Best thing yet? You don't have to worry about shaving too often!

Downsides of Shaving Against the Grain

You can avoid discomfort and irritated skin if you shave in the same direction as your hair grows. But you need to know that the quickest way to a perfectly shaved face is to go against the grain.

Shaving should be an enjoyable experience, an intimate, self-care moment for every man. Start by choosing one of the two methods of shaving and applying the tips in this article for the best shaving experience! Next time we will talk about shaving while suffering from acne! Use the #menshavingclub on social media and share your takeaways from this article.

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