Shaving with the grain is the best way to get a comfortable and close shave. Although shaving against the grain ensures that the hair is cut off very close to the skin, it increases the risk of razor bumps and skin irritation.
Why is Shaving Against the Grain Harmful?
When you shave against the grain, the blade of the razor tugs at the hair, pulling it away from the skin before slicing through. Some men think that this is beneficial, because the hair is cut closer to the skin, but the truth is that shaving against the grain can be a damaging way of getting a close shave. Pulling the hair away from the skin in order to cut it closer can increase the risk of ingrown hairs, which can swell up into unsightly red razor bumps.
How to Get a Close Shave When Shaving with the Grain
Does shaving with the grain mean sacrificing the closeness of the shave? No! There are ways to get a close shave without going against the grain and damaging your skin.
The first thing you should do is to invest in a single-blade safety razor. These razors are able to glide across the skin to give a very comfortable shave, while helping to reduce razor bumps and irritation that can be caused by the multiple blades of a modern cartridge razor. Make sure that the blade of your razor is always sharp so that it can easily slice through the hairs.
In order to shave with the grain, you first need to find out which way the hairs are growing. Running your hand across the stubble should help you to identify the direction of growth. Over time, you’ll get to know every inch of your beard so you can shave with the grain without having to think about it. (See our “Grain Mapping Guide” for more details.)
Before shaving, you should wash your face with warm water to open up the pores. Next, apply a pre-shave oil to soften the facial hair. This oil also provides lubrication to help the razor slide smoothly across your face and neck.
Shaving can be irritating to the skin. Even if you are careful and use a high-quality razor, there is a risk of getting tiny nicks or razor bumps. For this reason, you need to apply an after-shave lotion every time you shave. The lotion adds moisture back into the skin, preventing it from becoming dry and flaky. Natural oils in after-shave lotion can also help to suppress inflammation, reducing the risk of razor bumps.
Always Shave with the Grain
By following the above advice, you can get a close shave every time. Using a double-edge safety razor to shave with the grain is the best way to avoid razor bumps, so that flawless skin is a regular feature of your clean-shaven look.