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How to Shave Against the Grain: A Guide

You may have heard of the oldest shaving debates on grain shaving, and after studying both sides, you've chosen to shave against the grain.

Shaving against the grain is a technique worth mastering if you're going for a smooth, clean look. Some say this style gives you the closest and smoothest shaves you can ever experience.

Join us as we look at how to shave against the grain correctly.

Want the Closest Shave of Your Life? Learn How to Shave Against the Grain

barber shaving a client using against the grain technique

When I decided to shave, I had to choose what look I wanted to maintain. I picked the clean-shaven look without the mustache, beard, and stubble. I needed a shaving technique that gave me the closest shave without irritating my sensitive skin to achieve this.

While researching different shaving techniques, I came across shaving against the grain.

This style means you glide your shaver in the opposite direction of your hair growth. It snips stubborn hairs at the root, leaving smoother skin than a child's behind.

I tried it, and the results were amazing. I am hooked for life.

Should I Shave Against the Grain?

Now the question is: Is shaving against the grain right for you? Shaving against the grain isn't for everyone. The answer depends on a couple of factors:

man with thick coarse beard

Thick, coarse hair growth: If you have thick and coarse hair that's giving your razor problems, shaving against the grain may be the technique that can solve your dilemma.

man experiencing discomfort while shaving

Sensitive skin: However, shaving with the grain is a safer choice if you're prone to razor burn and have sensitive skin.

For me, a clean shave is as essential as a comfortable shave. Picking a grooming routine that gives a closer finish may be at the top of our list, but if it causes problems like redness, irritation, and ingrown hair, you may think twice before shaving against the grain.

How to Shave Against the Grain

Step One: Know the Direction of Hair Growth

man looking at the mirror checking hair growth

The first thing a barber does before shaving you is to map out your hair growth. He'll check your hairline's shape and the direction of your hair growth to know how to get the closest shave.

To do this at home, rub your hand across your face and take note of the direction of hair growth. Some shavers use a magnifying glass to be sure where their hair grows.

Step Two: Identify Your Weapon

Safety vs electric vs cartridge razor

Once you determine the direction of your hair growth, it's time to pick your shaving weapon. With razors, you can choose between disposable, safety, and electric razors. Freebird's FlexSeries is a good option since it can shave closely and works well for shavers with sensitive skin.

Get one now!

Freebird FlexSeries shaving kit

Step Three: Prepare Your Skin

man rinsing face before shave

Preparation before shaving is essential whether you choose to shave against or with the grain. For a more comfortable shave, apply warm water to your facial hair to open the pores and soften the hair. A warm shower is also an option, or you can apply a warm towel over your shaving area. Let your facial hair soak for at least three minutes, especially if you have thick and coarse hair.

Next, apply a generous amount of shave gel or shaving cream to create protection between your skin and the razor. If you're looking for a high-quality shave gel, Freebird has one designed for bald heads, which is an excellent product for your arsenal if you're a head shaver.

Freebird Shave Care Kit

Step Four: Choose your technique

The three-pass method is commonly used for a close shave. There are three simple steps with this method namely:

  • First pass: shave with the grain

  • Second pass: shave across the grain

  • Third pass: shave against the grain

Step Five: Shaving against the grain

man shaving against the grain

Pull the skin taut with one hand, then start shaving against the grain using minimal pressure. Always use fresh blades because dull blades may require numerous passes that usually result in irritation.

Let your razor glide gently using gentle strokes. Rinse your razor after a few passes to remove hair clippings. Reapply shave gel as needed.

Once you've covered all areas, check for stubble and make another pass if you feel there's some left.

Rinse your face with cool water to close the pores after you shave. Pat dry with a clean towel, and you're done.

Apply a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated after the shave.

The Bottom Line

Learning to shave against the grain is essential if you're looking for the closest shave possible. It may take some practice, but if you follow our shaving tips and use the right tools, you'll experience that movie star clean-shaven look in no time.

Keep going even if you don't get it right at the start. Keep at it, and you'll surely discover the routine that works for you.

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