We’ve heard this come up many times and feel it’s important that we share our opinion on this long-standing debate.
Now, you’re lying if you claim to have never shaved against the grain. A lot of us do it because it’s quicker and can lead to a “closer” shave. However, the big downside to this technique is the increase in ingrown hairs and razor burn. This increase occurs because the blade of the razor pulls the hair out before slicing it off. Men tend to think this is a good thing because you receive a closer shave, but this pulling of the hair can lead to some damage. When we pull on our hair it tends to curl up which is a source of an ingrown hair.
We want you to know that a close shave is possible without going against the grain. Now, we are going to run through a checklist you can use to help prevent those bumps and enhance the probability of a cleaner, and all around better shave.
The Direction of Hair: Something that many men don’t understand is that our hair grows in different directions. On our face, neck, and head our hair can be growing several different ways which can make shaving more irritable if you don’t know what you’re doing. A great way to determine the direction your hair is to take a credit card or something flat and treat it as a razor. While running it over your face or head, feel and listen for differences. When you are moving it with the grain, it should feel smooth and there shouldn’t be much sound. However, when going against the grain, you will you will feel the exact opposite. Once you’ve done that all over your face and head, you now know which directions to shave.
Warm it Up: Warming up your face or head before you shave is vital because it will decrease the number of ingrown hairs you get. The warm water will open the pores on your face and head and relax the skin and hair follicle. With your hair relaxed, the blade will have an easier time gliding across your skin.
Aftershave: Last but not least, the aftershave. This tool is important and should be used based on your skin type and area of shaving. If you have oilier skin, it will be beneficial to use an aftershave splash that contains alcohol which will dry your skin and counteract the oiliness. However, if you have dry skin, alcohol will not be a good choice. We recommend you use Art of Shaving After Shave Balm which uses leaf extract and has no hint of alcohol. For bald men, since our heads are oiler than our face, a lotion or splash with alcohol and witch hazel such as Chiseled will do the trick.