The big debate: should men be shaving against the grain or with the grain? Surprisingly, this is one of most common questions about shaving. If you were to ask the Jaxson Maximus professional team of barbers, which is better shaving against the grain or with it, their answer would be, “well, it depends.”
The reason is simple: hair naturally grows in all different directions, especially around the chin and neck. The hairs on your neck might be pointing upwards, while those on your sides might be facing right. Every person is different, and so is their hair.
Even if you think your hair naturally falls in one direction or the other, when looking closer, you will start to notice that not all hair follicles follow the same path.
Our salon experts at Jaxson Maximus have put together this fantastic guide on everything you need to know about shaving with and against the grain.
Shaving Against The Grain And Shaving With The Grain-Whats The Big Difference?
Shaving with the grain means shaving your hair in one direction, which you believe is how most of your hair falls. The easiest way to identify which way most of your hair falls is to spend a minute in the mirror and rub your finger up and down the hair area, you are trying to shave.
If you feel a “scratchy” or “stubby” feeling, that is the opposite direction in which your hair grows. The smoother side would be where you would shave, thus shaving with the grain.
On the flip side, shaving against the grain means shaving in the direction you feel that “scratchy” feeling, almost as if you are rubbing your hand across the back of a dog in the opposite direction of their fur.
Who Would Want To Try Shaving Against The Grain
Shaving against the grain is 100% not for everyone. Those with sensitive skin or prone to redness should try and avoid shaving against the grain. The reason is that when you start shaving against the grain, the blade of your razor tugs at the hair follicles in the opposite direction of your skin. For some, this could cause irritation and inflammation, depending on your skin’s reaction.
Why You Should Shave Against The Grain
1) The Closest Shave Of Your Life
The biggest reason individuals want to try shaving against the grain is to get a super close shave. Shaving against the grain can help remove any hairs on the skin, despite what direction they fall in. However, if you are shaving with the grain, chances are your razor is picking up on only some areas of hair that it could.
If you want baby-smooth skin, shaving against the grain is a must!
2) Speeding Up Your Grooming Routine
If done correctly, shaving against the grain can significantly speed up your grooming routine. The main reason is that you are not missing any patches of hair that you would otherwise need to go back in and re-shave.
3) Reduce Razor Bumps and Irritation
If done correctly, shaving against the grain can help reduce irritation and razor bumps. The main reason is that when you shave against the grain, you are not tugging on the hairs. Traditional shaving with the grain can pull on the hair follicles instead of entirely removing them. This can create tiny micro-tears in the skin, causing irritation and razor bumps.
By shaving against the grain, you ensure that the hairs are entirely removed from the skin, reducing any possible irritation.
5 Steps To Take Before Trying Shaving Against The Grain
1) Map Out Your Face
Before starting the shaving process, mapping out your face is an absolute must. When you go into a barbershop, this is typically the first step every trained professional will do before touching your hair. Knowing your hairline’s shape and the direction of your hair growth will allow you to get a super close shave.
2) Take It Slow
When shaving against the grain, it is essential to take it slow with the razor. Most individuals have ingrown hairs or redness because they try to go quickly. If you do not take a second and slow down with the razor, you may make a mistake and accidentally cut yourself.
3) Use A Light Hand
When shaving against the grain, you want to go in with a light hand vs. pushing too hard on the razor. Pushing too hard on the razor can cause the skin to get caught in the blade accidentally. This can cause redness, irritation, scarring, and even an infection.
4) Always Use A Fresh Razor
Using a light hand and a fresh blade reduces the risk of any possible mishaps while shaving against the grain. You want to ensure your razor glides across your skin without tugging on it when shaving. This will help reduce the chance of getting razor bumps and increase the comfort level of your shave.
Remember, a fresh blade always works best when shaving.
5) Apply An After Shave Balm
Just like you would take the proper steps to prep your skin for shaving, you want to make sure your skin can handle the aftereffects. Applying a pre-shave balm or aftershave lotion every time you finish your shave is the best way to restore the skin’s natural moisture levels. This can help reduce inflammation, irritation, and razor bumps.
When finished with your shaving routine, your skin should feel silky smooth. Although this technique is effective, it is 100% only right for some people. The best way to know is to give it a go and see how your skin feels afterward. It may take a few tries, but we promise it is worth all the effort!
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