Most men would enjoy getting a close shave. However, it isn’t possible to get a close shave without shaving against the grain. But, shaving experts and barbers alike recommend not doing it. The primary reason for this is that if you shave against the grain, you increase your chances of getting nicks and cuts. Also, it increases the risk of razor burns and ingrown hair as well. Therefore, from a safety perspective, shaving against the grain is not a good idea. So, how can you get a close shave then if you can’t shave against the grain? In this post, we will try to understand why you shouldn’t shave against the grain and whether it is possible to get a close shave safely.
What is meant by Shaving against the Grain?
If you are new to shaving, you must be wondering what exactly is meant by shaving against the grain. Well, to put it simply, it means shaving in the opposite direction of hair growth. Facial hair usually grows downwards. However, some areas of the face have hair growing in other directions as well. When you shave in the direction of the hair growth, it is called shaving with the grain. So, generally speaking, if you were to shave with the grain, you will be shaving from the check to the jawline and then to the neck. Now, if you start shaving from the neck and then move to the jawline and then up to the cheek then you will be shaving against the grain.
Why is it unsafe to shave against the Grain?
When you shave with the grain, shaving becomes easier as the razor doesn’t tugs or pulls at the hair. But, when shaving against the grain, the razor not only pulls at the hair but also comes in close proximity to the skin too. You won’t have to worry about a cut, a nick, or even a scratch when shaving with the grain. However, if you were to shave against the grain, there is every chance that you will cut yourself while shaving. This is why beginners and novice shavers are advised to never shave against the grain. Another reason why even experienced shavers avoid shaving against the grain is ingrown hair. An ingrown hair is caused when a facial hair folds over itself and starts growing inside the skin.
You can also get razor burns if you shave against the grain. A razor burn is usually caused when the razor removes the top layer of the skin. When shaving against the grain, the razor comes in direct contact with the skin and can easily remove its top layer. You will see a nasty red bump appear on the face where the razor burn occurred. These bumps can line up alongside each other to form a large red area on the face. Shaving against the grain is particularly unsafe for people with sensitive skin. Such people can get skin irritation on top of the razor burns and cuts if they were to shave against the grain.
Is there a Safe Way to shave against the Grain?
The concerns regarding shaving against the grain are quite substantial. Novice and budding shavers should avoid it at all costs. However, most of the time the risks, associated with this type of shaving, are down to lack of proper technique. A skilled and experienced shaver can easily shave against the grain without cutting themselves or causing a razor burn. You just need to know the proper technique of how to shave against the grain. So, if you want an ultra-close shave and would like to try shaving against the grain then you should first practice your shaving technique and then you will be able to do it safely.
Proper Technique to Shave against the Grain
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when trying to safely shave against the grain. For starters, you need to only use a safety razor for this purpose. A cartridge razor isn’t suitable for shaving against the grain. Secondly, you should have an ample amount of shaving cream on your hands because you would have to lather your face multiple times during the course of the shave. Lastly, you need to shave in three different steps. Your first step should be to shave with the grain. The second step would be to shave across the grain while the third and final step would be to shave against the grain. You will have to apply shaving cream before each step. This is the proper technique for shaving against the grain.
In short, there are valid reasons why shaving against the grain is frowned upon by barbers and shaving experts. Novice and first-time shavers shouldn’t shave against the grain as they lack the experience and proper technique to do it safely. However, if you are experienced and know the proper technique then you can get a close shave by shaving against the grain.