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 keeps 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 good technique, and great pre and post-shave care.

Should I Shave Against the Grain?

Many find that using light strokes in the direction of hair growth first, and then going back and shaving against the grain, provides the closest shave.

However, men`s facial hair tends to grow in different directions (especially in the neck area), so even if you think you’re shaving with the grain (in the direction of the hair growth), many hairs will still unknowingly be cut against the grain.

Although you may have heard that shaving against the grain is tricky, with the correct technique and tools, you can achieve a smooth shave. So, whether you prefer shaving with or against the grain, you can rest assured both options work!

It’s worth knowing that there are pros and cons to shaving with and against the grain. Here are some of the top considerations to weigh up for your grooming routine:

• The biggest benefit of shaving against the direction that your hair grows in is that you’ll get a closer shave
• With a closer finish you may also find you need to shave less frequently

• While shaving too often can cause irritation, for people with sensitive skin against the grain shaving may also cause discomfort so consider whether it’s the right method for you
• If you’re new to male grooming, this style of shaving may be slightly more difficult than shaving with the direction your beard grows

How to Shave Against the Grain

man shaving neck against the grain with Gillette razor

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 easily find how they shift in different areas.

Simply rub your hand or a card across your face to roughly map the hair growth direction. If you feel resistance, your hair grows against the grain direction.

2. Prep Your Skin

Man getting hot towel treatment to prep for against the grain shaving

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 warm 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 chances of razor burn.

3. Apply Shave Gel

image of father and son with shaving gel applied

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 shave.

Remember to reapply the shave gel as needed 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 model for your skin type. Gillette’s shave club helps you find the best shaving tools tailored to your needs. Plus, it can help you save money on your razor blades. But no matter what razor you choose, keep the blades sharp and clean.

5. Perfect Your Technique

barber doing against the grain shaving with straight edge razor

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

If you’re looking how to shave against the grain without razor burn you’ll need to take it slow and remember to use light, gentle strokes. Pressing down on your razor won’t help you get a better, smoother finish, and may just irritate your skin.

To find out more about the benefits of electric shaving, check out our beard trimmer guide and learn more about the easy styling possibilities!

6. Care for Your Skin After Against The Grain Shaving

man applying moisturiser to his cheeks 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.

Ready to shape up your facial hair for a sharper look? Explore our full range of Gillette razors and prep products to find what you need now!



Writer and expert