How Often Should You Shave? Why It's Important
Most men who grow substantial facial hair will do some amount of shaving. How often they should shave depends on a combination of lifestyle factors and skincare needs. Shaving too often can be even more detrimental than shaving too little. Before you put yourself on a grooming schedule, consider your personal needs.
The Skincare Benefits of Shaving Your Face
If you have a condition like acne or psoriasis on your face, your doctor or dermatologist probably prescribes you topical medications to help you manage that condition. If you’re allowing your beard to grow over your acne or psoriasis spots, it’s going to be a lot harder to effectively treat your skin.
Your facial hair will act as a barrier between your skin and the product, sometimes absorbing the product meant to treat your skin. It’s a lot more difficult to be sure you’ve applied your skincare products correctly if you have a beard or mustache in the way.
The same can be said about any product you need to apply to your skin. Sun protection is important, especially if you work outside. Skipping the areas of your face covered by facial hair when you apply SPF means that your skin isn’t completely protected from the damaging effects of UV rays. You may not be able to see your skin beneath your beard, but that doesn’t mean the sun won’t get to it.
The Aesthetic Benefits of Shaving Your Face
A smooth, clean shaven face looks neat and professional. If you take very good care of your skin, it may even help you appear more youthful. While facial hair typically has some stylistic constraints as it pertains to the workplace or formal events, a clean shaven face is perfectly acceptable under any circumstance.
It also saves you time. Instead of planning a facial hair aesthetic, shaving, trimming, and grooming, you take it all off. There’s less guesswork involved. It’s so much easier to maintain a clean shave, and it requires far fewer products and tools than styled facial hair maintenance.
Shaving Too Often
Shaving too often can irritate and damage your skin, especially if you aren’t taking extra steps to protect your face. Shaving is naturally abrasive. You’re taking a sharp blade to the surface of your delicate facial skin. You’re removing hair, but you’re also removing some skin cells in the process. Even if you don’t see tiny cuts or scrapes, they’re still there. The razor can’t help it. It doesn’t know how to distinguish between your hair and your skin, and it will be equally as sharp against any surface.
Some men have facial hair that grows rather quickly. They may feel the need to shave every day. It’s rare that shaving at this frequency is actually necessary. Fine stubble isn’t easily caught by a razor, as it’s only slightly above the surface of the skin. If you’re shaving before enough hair has grown, the amount of pressure you’ll need to apply to capture the stubble might be detrimental to your skin.
Every third day may be better than shaving every day, or even every other day. You need to make sure the hair is long enough to be shaved successfully without harming your skin. If stubble bothers you and you can’t stand the sight of it, waxing or epilating to remove hair from the root may be a better alternative to shaving.
Shaving Too Little
If you wait too long to shave, it’s just going to be harder. If you let your face go until your beard hair is of a substantial length, it’s going to take you a long time to shave. You’ll need to make a lot of passes over the same spots to catch all the hairs at different stages of the growth cycle. Some will be longer than others, and your razor might skip shorter hairs when it removes the lengthier ones.
Waiting a very long time can also lead to different skincare problems, depending on your skin type. If you have oily skin, allowing your beard hair to accumulate and trap the oil from your skin can lead to breakouts beneath your beard, creating pimples that are impossible to reach. The only thing you can do is attempt to shave over them, which may pop them and encourage the bacteria they contain to spread all over your skin.
If you have dry skin, flaky patches can build up underneath your beard. You can’t exfoliate to remove those patches until your beard is out of the way. In the process of shaving, you might find that your razor picks up your dead skin and gets clogged. You’ll frequently have to rinse out your razor to remove the skin flakes. These flakes will also dull the blade faster by giving it more to cut through. You might utilize the entire lifespan of a blade in one shave if your dry patches become severe.
How Do I Know When I Should Shave?
Wash your hands. Gently use your thumbnail to attempt to lift up the hair on your face. If the hair is long enough that your thumbnail can lift it, it’s long enough for a razor blade to lift. Some of the hair on your face may be longer or shorter, depending on the lifespan of your hair. You want most of it to be long enough to easily lift off of the surface of the skin.
If you’re on the fence, check again after you take a hot shower. Hot showers stimulate your hair and skin by introducing moisture and improving circulation. If you have a hot lather machine, now’s the time to use it. It will keep your hair warm, soft, and easier to work with.
What If I Like My Beard?
If you like your beard, goatee, or mustache, all you need to do is shave around it to keep it looking clean. Or, if your facial hair doesn’t have any effect on the condition of your skin, there’s no reason to get rid of it.
Just do what makes you happy.
Shave the unwanted hair as soon as it reaches the length where you can easily lift it with the thumbnail test. You might want to trim or groom your beard once a week if you like to keep it long. If you’re using proper beard care products, there’s no reason why your beard cannot stay full, clean, healthy, and strong.
There is no “one size fits all” answer to how often you should shave. A lot of it depends on personal preference and the way your skin reacts to longer facial hair. As long as your skin is healthy and you’re taking proper care of it, you can shave as soon as the hair is long enough to do so. If you aren’t sure, wait another day.
Make sure you’re regularly washing and exfoliating your skin to assure healthy hair growth and prevent ingrown hairs. When you take great care of your skin, it’s a little more responsive to a great shave without any complications. Be patient, and don’t forget to spend a little time on yourself.