How to get the Cleanest, Closest Facial Shave Without Cutting Yourself

Written by Mike on January 30, 2016

an old-fashioned barber shave

It's amazing how many guys don't actually know how to shave properly.

Is it painful after you shave? Do you dread having to shave because of the pain?

Even guys with the most sensitive skin should not have to dread shaving.

Maybe your dad didn't teach you or you had to figure out how to do it on your own but never learned properly.

But that's not a problem because I'm going to tell you exactly how to get the closest, cleanest shave without cutting yourself.

You'll also feel great after shaving and have zero pain and irritation.

The first step is to get your shaving cream right.

All this depends on is what kind of skin you have.

There's two extremes for your type of skin: sensitive and not sensitive skin. There's also many types that lie in between these two extremes.

If you have non-sensitive skin, then you can pretty much use whatever shaving cream you wish.

However it's the guys with sensitive skin that are limited in what cream they can pick.

The main consideration when you're picking your shaving cream is the amount of alcohol in the product.

See, it's the alcohol that causes stinging during and after a shave.

For sensitive guys, if there's more alcohol in the product your skin is going to sting more when it is applied.

So the obvious thing for sensitive-skin guys is to find a product with low alcohol content.

Here are some shaving cream products that I can recommend for the different skin types.

Nivea alcohol-free shaving cream

For sensitive-skin guys who react badly (can't tolerate extreme burning sensations) to alcohol-based shaving creams, I recommend this alcohol-free shaving cream by Nivea

The next consideration for shaving cream choice is whether you are going to use a gel or a foam.

Typically the gels come out of the can as a gel, then start to foam up when lathering.

I personally like shaving cream that comes out already has a foam.

This is just a personal preference.

Now let's actually start shaving.

First wet your facial surfaces with warm to warm-hot water. Never use burning hot water - it dries out your skin.

Try to really soak your skin in the water to get the pores on your face to open up.

Try to let your skin soak for at least a minute if you can.

Soaking allows you to get a closer shave trim when you stroke with the razor.

Now, squirt a bit of shaving cream on to the palm of your hand.

A good amount is the size of a cheese ball. Too many times I've seen guys use too much even cream and end up wasting most of it.

Now, apply it to all parts of your face: your cheeks, your chin, underneath your chin, and above and below both lips. Also hit your sideburns if you'd like to shave there as well.

Now here's one thing you can do that will greatly increase how close and clean your shave is.

The trick is to get the shaving cream underneath the hairs.

To do this, brush the shaving cream foam against the grain so that the shaving cream effectively pushes the hairs upwards so that the hairs are now are sticking straight up.

This will allow the razor blade to get under the hairs and get a clean cut angle to cut as much of the hair off as possible.

The biggest mistake that most guys will do is they just slather the cream on their face and that's it.

As a result the hairs are buried underneath the cream and are still flat against their face.

Let's start with shaving the cheeks.

If there's anything to keep in mind when you're shaving, it is to always keep your skin stretched as far as possible to create a smooth surface for the razor blade to glide on top of.

So, for the cheeks you can accomplish this by making a yawning motion with your mouth.

how to shave your cheeks

Once you do that, you can proceed to run the razor over your cheeks.

I would highly recommend shaving with the grain for all of your facial surfaces.

However, if you want to get a closer shave, you can go against the grain.

But beware, there is a trade-off here.

When you go against the grain, you are actually cutting more into the upper layer of your skin cells.

As a result, your skin is more noticeably irritated after shaving.

Another thing to consider is that certain facial surfaces are more sensitive than others.

So, sometimes you can get away with shaving against the grain without much repercussion.

For me, personally, I can get away with shaving against the grain for my cheeks.

Ideally, you should try to shave a surface as little as possible.

The more times you run the razor over a surface, the more times you are cutting into your skin which will lead to more irritation.

So, always be inspecting after each razor stroke and see if the hair is sufficiently trimmed. If so, move on to the next area - there's no need to run the razor over again.

This is one tip to minimize pain and irritation for the shaving process.

Next, let's focus on the chin.

The chin is tricky because it has an angled surface where your jaw bone lies.

Now remember, we want to keep the skin as tight as possible so that we can create a smooth surface.

But the problem is that your jaw is naturally a 90 degree angle.

But there's a trick to solve this problem.

The trick is to redistribute and stretch the skin onto one of the two different surfaces of your chin.

The best way to do this is to take your free hand and pull your cheek skin upwards.

how to shave your chin area

This effectively moves some of the skin that was right on the angle of your jaw above it so you can now have a larger, unshaved area to run your blade.

When you release holding your skin from your cheek, this skin snaps back to the original location of your jaw but now, the hair has been trimmed.

Now, let's focus below the jaw and onto your neck area.

One way to get the skin nice and tight is to tilt your head back and stick your jaw forward.

how to shave your neck

Alternatively, you could just use your free hand to pull the skin back instead.

Either way works pretty well.

Now this area is a very controversial place to shave with the grain or against it. When I was first started shaving I used to shave against the grain to get a closer shave.

However my skin became really irritated after and I used to think this was normal. Nowadays, I only shave with the grain and I try to minimize the amount of strokes that I do with my razor blade.

This simple change has made such a big difference.

I don't have any pain and irritation in that area anymore.

You are probably like me, but the only way is to actually see for yourself if this matters.

Now let's focus on the mustache area.

In order to get the skin nice and tight in this area you should pull downwards on the sides of your mouth.

how to shave your mustache and lips

This area is pretty easy and nice because it's small.

I tend to do a first pass with the grain. Then I'll do one quick pass against the grain, stroking upwards, with small quick strokes.

I definitely want a closer shave on my mustache area because I look really bad and unkempt with a mustache.

The underside of your bottom lip can be targeted with and against the grain stroke. The skin area under the lip is not that sensitive so I just go a couple times against the grain stroking upwards.

For the sideburns I usually stroke downwards and one pass is good enough for me and probably you as well.

Now that you're done shaving, the next step is to rinse off all your shaving cream.

Do this by splashing cool water on your face.

Do not use warm and hot water because this water will dry out and irritate your skin further.

Adding this type of irritation on to your already lacerated skin is not good.

Now that you rinsed off the shaving cream you need to dry off your face.

One of the biggest mistakes that guys will do when they're done shaving is that they'll rub their skin with a towel to dry it.

Definitely don't dry your face like that.

The problem is that your skin is already tender and there are actually micro-cuts all along the surface of your skin.

For all intents and purposes your facial skin can be considered slightly damaged.

By rubbing an abrasive towel all over your face, you're just aggravating your skin more and damaging it further.

So how do you solve this?

The trick is to pat your skin dry with the towel instead.

Dab your skin with the towel, don't rub and brush it.

It's a big difference, so try it - it will save you a lot of pain and irritation later on in the day.

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