The most experienced guys that shave preach it like gospel – shave ‘with’ the grain. The ugly truth is that when you shave against the grain, ingrown hairs are bound to surface, and as we’ve seen time and time again, that’s grounds for messing up your whole skin care situation. These tricky hairs can finesse themselves into irritation, bumps, and even cause skin discoloration, so it’s easy to see why it’s crucial to get that technique down-pat.

The good news is that if you approach shaving with a Pat Riley ‘Showtime’ mentality, you can help avoid some of these half-steps and blunders. Here are some tips to get you breezin’ through that shave routine:

Prep + Lather

First thing’s first, it’s important to open up the pores on your face and rid the skin of surface oil and dirt. For this reason, it’s ideal to shave after a hot shower. Alternatively, you can wrap a hot towel around the face or wash your face with warm water for a similar effect.

Next, apply something that can help serve as a base layer to soften hairs and protect the skin like priming oil. Once that’s taken care of, use a brush to apply Bevel Shave Cream to your skin to form a thick lather that’s filled with rich nutrients to hydrate your skin and hairs. Hydrated hair softens and swells so that it’s easier to cut and lessen the potential of ingrown hairs.

shaving cream badger brush wetshaving exfoliate

The Lowdown on Exfoliation

Skin exfoliation can be a clutch move when keeping ingrown hairs at bay. When you exfoliate, you are getting rid of the hair and dead skin cells that may be clogging your hair follicles. That’s because exfoliating works to loosen those stubborn hairs. Use an exfoliating solution that includes bacteria-neutralizing ingredients such as salicylic acid to constrict your pores and to keep it from repeatedly clogging up. Using a tool like the Bevel Shave Brush to apply the product in a strong circular motion properly exfoliates the skin and does wonders to give you that supreme lather that feels perfect on your face.

Switch to Single-Blade Razors

Multi-blade razors are a top culprit when it comes to shaving and subsequently developing ingrown hairs. What happens here is that multi-razors tend to cut the hair beneath skin-level. This exacerbates the growth of hairs and causes them to be ingrown hairs, which ultimately turn into dreaded bumps. Instead, pivot to a single-blade razor with a sturdy handle to get a close shave sans ingrown hairs. The single blade cuts at the surface of the skin instead of below, which helps to prevent ingrown hairs and leaves less of a struggle in the aftermath.

Go With the Grain

If you have coarse or curly hair, your hair is more prone to being frayed and cut improperly. When this happens, ingrown hairs and bumps arise. Shaving against the grain of your haircuts below the skin line and–ultimately–encourages these formations.

The other way bumps are formed with curly hair is by not shaving often enough. Shave either daily or every other day to prevent new hair growth from curling and growing into your skin.

That’s why it’s key to go with the flow and follow the direction of your hair growth as you shave to avoid ingrown hairs. If you can become a guru at mapping your grain’s direction, then you’ll be off to the races.

Correct Your Strokes

Shaving in long strides can irritate the skin and encourage the inevitable growth of ingrown hairs. By shaving in short strokes, you can follow the grain of your hairs more closely and significantly reduce the chances of fraying, cutting uncleanly, or cutting below the skin line. You’ll also want to avoid applying too much pressure as it’ll increase the likelihood of your razor cutting beneath skin level. Let the razor do all the work and simply guide using your hand on the handle to get the necessary pressure needed.

Keep It Hydrated

Once you’ve rinsed your face with cold water to close those pores, finish off with an alcohol-free balm after your shave to help your face stay hydrated and to help the skin heal quicker. Your skin will thank you for it and you’ll be wondering why the heck you waited this long to become acquainted with the grown man sport of ‘shaving’ this whole time.