Shave Before or After Shower? | A Must-Know Comparison
Sometimes, it’s easy to intuitively guess the correct order for performing tasks. You know not to brush your teeth before you eat dinner. Your socks need to go on before your shoes. You wouldn’t wash your hands before you use the bathroom. But when should you shave? Does it matter if you do it before or after you take a shower?
It might not be overwhelmingly apparent, but there’s definitely an order of operations here. Shaving before you take a shower might seem convenient at first. You can wash off all the beard hairs that make their way onto your shoulders and chest. Even though it appears easier, shaving before you shower will likely give you a subpar shave.
Shaving Before a Shower
You probably perform all of your washing tasks in the shower, including washing your face. Before you hop in, you’re likely dry. Shaving with a dry face is never the ideal scenario. Even if you use shaving cream, it would have to sit for a prolonged period of time to soften your skin.
The drier your skin is, the less lubrication there is between your face and the razor. You want the razor to glide as effortlessly as possible. Applying pressure when you shave is a dangerous game, because you’re more likely to push your skin between the blades. In order to avoid getting cut, you might use less pressure and pass over the same spot several times.
Even if you aren’t creating large, visible cuts, you’re still damaging your skin. Running a razor over the same spot numerous times will shave off more than just hair. At first, it will remove the dead skin cells sitting at the surface of the skin. When it runs out of those, it will begin to damage the healthy cells that sit right below them.
The end result is irritated skin at the best, and razor nicks at the worst. In order to avoid the consequences of a dry shave, all you need to do is wait until after you’re out of the shower.
Shaving After a Shower
Most people take comfortably warm showers. Warm water does a lot of great things for your body. The heat helps to improve your circulation and dilate blood vessels, easing the aches and pains of sore muscles. It plumps up your skin, including your hair follicles.
Steam and heat will open your pores on your skin, as well as your hair shafts. When they’re open, they’re not just getting wet. They’re absorbing water. Your skin will be deeply moisturized, and your beard hairs will be a little bloated with that water. This makes them easier to manage.
Coarse, dry, wiry beard hairs are going to resist the razor. Soft, soaked beard hairs are more likely to be compliant.
If you don’t have time to take a full shower, wash your face very well with hot water. Leave the tap running for a little while and hold your face down near the steam while you’re scrubbing away. It won’t be as efficient as shaving after a shower, but it’s a lot better than shaving a dry face.
The Best Way to Achieve a Perfect Shave
Shaving after your shower is only one part of a more involved process that sets the stage for a perfect shave. A lot more goes into maintaining healthy skin and hammering out the perfect grooming routine
Exfoliating Your Face
Skin cells are constantly regenerating. The old ones on the surface die, and the healthy new cells are trapped underneath. These cells don’t always shed freely. Your stubble or beard hair can trap these cells, making it harder to slough them off.
Exfoliating is the answer. Using a gentle exfoliating product at least once a week will rid the skin of cells that are going to clog up your razor, dull it out, and prevent it from getting a cut close to the surface of the face.
Look for exfoliators that contain ingredients like alpha hydroxy acid if you don’t like the feeling of grit on your face. If you’re looking for a deep exfoliating experience, you can use scrubs made with salt or sugar. Their heartier texture makes it easy to scrub off tough patches. If you notice flaking around your beard, a tougher exfoliator will probably work better for you.
Using the Right Razor
Every blade on your razor cartridge is a pass. What the first blade doesn’t catch, the second will. What the second doesn’t catch will go onto the third. This will go on for up to seven blades. If your razor only has two or three blades, it’s not going to perform as well as a five-bladed razor might. There’s less support behind the first cut, which means you’ll need to make more passes over the same spots.
A cheap disposable razor probably won’t provide you with the same results as a more expensive refillable razor with a decent number of blades in each head. The more you can get in one pass, the less potential you have for irritation or skin damage.
Avoiding a Dull Shave
A lot of men don’t realize how often they’re supposed to replace their razor heads. Razor heads can be expensive, so it only makes sense to get the maximum amount of use out of one before tossing it out. The maximum amount of use isn’t denoted by whether or not it’s too clogged up to use.
Every pass you make with your razor is dulling your blade. If it takes you less than a dozen passes to shave your face, you might not feel like you’re doing much to dull the blade. Think about what a flu shot would feel like if you used the same needle a dozen times. It would be dull, and it would hurt.
While shaving and getting a shot are fairly different, the idea is still the same. Disposable sharp objects aren’t designed to stay sharp forever, and they’re not designed to be sharpened. If you shave every day, you should be replacing your cartridge once a week. If you shave more than twice a week, you should be replacing your cartridge once a month.
Shaving With a Warm Lather
If you’ve ever been to a professional barber, you know what that warm lather feels like. It’s a nice and relaxing shave, and when you’re done, your skin feels great. You can’t take a hot shower at the barbershop, and warm lather helps your barber mimic the benefits the best way he can.
If you want to take your time shaving or if you only have time to wash your face with hot water, shave with a warm lather. Warm shaving cream helps to make your hair more soft and porous. Warm lather makes it more convenient to get a close, quick shave in a shorter amount of time. If you can’t commit to the full shower ritual, your warm lather helps to split the difference.
If you were already a post-shower shaver, carry on as you were! We’re proud of you.
If you’re a pre-shower shaver or a dry shaver, you might want to reconsider the way you approach your facial hair. You’ll see better results on wet skin, and ultimately, you might even wind up having to shave less frequently. You don’t need to add steps to your routine. Just rearrange them a little bit.