Face Shaving Tips

How to Shave Against the Grain

Should you shave against the grain? It’s one of the most commonly asked questions about shaving. While shaving in the same direction as your hair grows (with the grain) might mean less irritation, it also can keep you from getting the close or smooth shave you want.

If you want to achieve a smooth, close, clean shave look, there are ways to do it without getting razor burn. You just need the right products like the Gillette Fusion5 razor, a clear technique, and good pre and post-shave care.

Should I Shave Against the Grain?

Most people find that using light strokes and first shaving in the direction of the hair growth and then following up with re-strokes against the grain provides the closest, smoothest shave with good skin comfort. However, men`s facial hair tends to grow in different directions (especially in the neck area), so even if they think they are shaving with the grain (in the direction of the hair growth), many hairs will still unknowingly be cut against the grain. The same is true for female underarm shaving: hairs also grow in all different directions .

Although you may have heard that shaving against the grain is tricky, it’s not a new thing, and you don’t need to be an expert to perfect the technique. So, if you’re wondering whether to shave with or against the grain, you can be reassured that both options are available to you.

How to Shave Against the Grain

Here’s how you can shave against the grain while minimising shaving irritation.

1. Find The Direction of Hair Growth

First, you’ll need to determine the direction of your hair growth. Across your face, hair grows in a variety of directions, but you can find how they shift in different areas easily. Simply rub your hand or a credit card across your face to roughly map the hair growth direction. Where you feel resistance, this is the against the grain direction.

2. Prep Your Skin

Once you have an idea of which direction your hair grows in, and how it changes across your face, you can start prepping your skin to shave. If your beard is coarse, you’ll need to hydrate your skin for at least three minutes before you start. A good way to do this is with a hot shower, or by applying a hot towel. By hydrating and softening your hair you can reduce the force required to cut it by up to 70%. This means less friction and less chance of razor burn.

3. Apply Shave Gel

Next, you’ll need to apply a quality shave gel, such as Fusion5™ Ultra Sensitive Shave Gel. This will help prevent nicks and cuts and soften hair for a more comfortable and close shave. Remember to reapply the shave gel as you go along and rinse your blade every few strokes. This will clear out clogged hair and increase the performance of your razor.

4. Choose Your Razor

When it comes to picking a razor, opt for the best type for your skin. Gillette’s shave club helps you find the best shaving tools tailored to your needs. And it can help you save money on your razor blades. But whatever razor you choose, keep the blades sharp and clean.

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5. Perfect Your Technique

If you speak to a barber, they’ll tell you that there are specific techniques used to achieve a close shave. The pass method is one that can be used with a variety of different razor types. This is a simple way of shaving that follows three steps.

  • Shave in the direction of the hair growth
  • Shave across the hair growth
  • Shave against the direction of the hair growth

By following all three steps, you’ll get a close shave and a smooth finish. For best results, you’ll need to take it slow and remember to use light, gentle strokes. Pressing down on your razor won’t help you to get a better, smoother finish, and it may irritate your skin.

6. Care for Your Skin Post-Shave

Even if you follow all the steps to the letter, you may experience a little redness with a close shave. So, it’s important to always care for your skin both before and after you shave. When you’ve finished, rinse with cold water and pat your skin dry with a soft towel. Then apply an aftershave balm or moisturiser. By doing this, you’ll effectively soothe and hydrate your skin.

You now know how to get a clean shave in a few easy steps which will give you great results, and smoother skin. To get more inspiration on grooming techniques, have a look at our shaving tips and continue to style your facial hair like a pro.



Writer and expert