Having a shaving routine down pat is essential to maintaining a relatively clean-shaven look. However, a healthy skin care regimen goes hand in hand with your shaving routine when you’re taking a razor to your face every few days.
Optimal shaving routines start with understanding your skin type and how your facial hair grows. If you have more sensitive skin, you’ll decrease the risk of breakouts and skin irritation by using products that protect your skin from razor burn. Other men can shave with just water and a little soap without experiencing any issues.
There are several important questions you might ask when planning your daily shave:
What products should I use? Does it matter whether my face is wet or dry? Do I need shaving cream? What type of razor works best, electric shaver, safety razor, straight razor? Should I shave before or after my shower? Does shaving cause acne?
Depending on your unique skin type and facial hair, shaving before or after your shower could make a huge difference in whether you have a comfortable shave that exfoliates your skin. Here’s what you should keep in mind.
Benefits of Shaving After the Shower
When you take a hot shower, the heat from the steam and hot water act as a moisturizer that helps to soften your facial hair in the same way that heating a metal coil makes it more malleable.
Facial hair has more cuticle layers than the hair follicles on your scalp. These extra layers are what makes your beard thicker and denser than the other hair on your body, and also means that more force is required to get a clean cut.
To top it off, hard or brittle facial hair sometimes breaks off when you try to shave it instead of cutting cleanly right at the skin, so you may need to take more than one pass with the razor to get a clean shave.
Shaving already strips the skin’s top layer, so repeating passes over the same part of your face is an easy (and avoidable) way to irritate your skin. The hot water from your shower can soften your scruff by 30-65% compared to cold water. That softer hair will offer less resistance to your razor blade, which means that you’ll get a closer shave and minimize the need to shave over the same part of your face more than once to get it.
The hot water also relaxes your skin and opens up your pores, which reduces the friction between your razor and your skin, leading to fewer razor bumps and ingrown hairs.
Some may choose to streamline their shaving routine and shave during a shower. Combining your shave and your shower can be a great way to save time, especially if you can bring a mirror in with you so that you get a clean shave you don’t need to touch up after you get out.
Make sure to double-check your usual shaving cream or gel to verify whether it is appropriate for use on wet skin. If not, you will probably need to find an alternate product.
Using shaving cream will give you the best results but, in a pinch, you can use body soap instead of shave cream to provide lubrication and protection to your skin from the razor blade.
Similarly, a standard hair conditioner will soften up your facial hair pre-shave and can help your beard retain its moisture during the process (though you’ll want to rinse your blade more frequently as the conditioner will clog up the blades faster than shaving cream or shaving soap would). Neither body soap nor conditioner will do as good a job as shaving cream, but either would be better than going totally dry.
Some lucky bucks with naturally soft facial hair and less sensitive skin can shave with just water, but most guys need to use a lubricating product to reduce the risk of nicks and irritation.
Can I Shave Before My Shower?
There are several reasons you might lean towards having before you hop in the shower. Many men prefer the pre-shower shave out of pure habit and convenience; you’ll have a clear, steam-free mirror to work with, and you can rinse off any leftover bits of shaving cream when you jump in the shower afterward.
If you’re just trimming up your beard then you should use your trimmer before you shower; getting an even trim is easier when your beard hairs are coarse. Or, if you typically shower at night and your beard grows back in quickly, then you may need to shave in the morning completely independent of your showering routine to maintain that clean-shaved look throughout the day.
If you opt to shave before you shower with dry hair, you’ll still get the best shave if you heat and hydrate your face first.
Using warm water to wash your face will open up your pores and give great hydration for your facial hair so that you’re still introducing the benefits that you would have gotten by shaving after your shower.
Whether you shave pre or post-shower in your morning routine, you should always wash your face first. Using the right skincare products every day to keep your skin healthy and hydrated will minimize the risk of getting razor burn or nicks and cuts while you shave.
And, just like your face, your beard accumulates a buildup of bacteria and dirt throughout the day, so you should use a gentle exfoliating cleanser before you shave. The cleanser will remove dirt and impurities from your beard and skin, and the exfoliating particles in your cleanser will slough off dead skin cells and gunk that can clog your razor and cause irritation and razor bumps.
Proper skincare, along with steps to soften your facial hair and protect your skin, will help you to get a clean, close shave whether you shave before or after your shower. Whether you are using an electric razor or cartridge razor, if you follow these tips you will find your shave far more enjoyable.