Wet shaving if done correctly can be an enjoyable experience and most men even treat wet shaving as a hobby. But it is also true that some men find wet shaving difficult and try to avoid it at all costs. The reason why wet shaving might seem difficult for some men is that they might be making some mistakes while shaving which results in a bad shaving experience. Wet shaving isn’t as simple as taking a sharp razor blade and moving it across your face. In fact, most men might be making mistakes while shaving without even realizing it. So what are these common wet shaving mistakes men make?
Some common wet shaving mistakes made by men are:
- Not preparing the face properly before a shave
- Using the wrong type of razor
- Shaving in the wrong direction
- Using too little or too much pressure while shaving
- Using improper razor angle when shaving
- Making too many passes of the razor
- Improper post-shave routine
The shaving mistakes mentioned above are so common that even men with years of shaving experience are seen making these mistakes. And for beginner shavers, these mistakes can cause a lot of frustration while shaving and can even put them off wet shaving for good. But knowing more about these mistakes and finding how you can fix them can greatly improve your shaving experience and the results you get from shaving. In this article, we are going to tell you all you need to know, so read on.
Mistake #1 Not preparing the face properly before shaving
This is one of the most common and frequently made wet shaving mistakes. You can’t simply splash your face with hot water and start shaving. Pre-shave prepping is a ritual that includes properly washing your face and then making thick foamy lather on the area of the face you are about to shave. Facial hairs of men can be tough and if you try to shave them without softening them up first, the blades of your razor will face a lot of resistance and the whole process will be uncomfortable. Not to mention, the pores of your skin need to be open to allow the hair to be cut close to the surface of the skin. If you don’t wash your face with warm water or lubricate and soften your stubble with a shaving soap or cream, you can experience razor burns and in the worst-case scenario, you can cut your face and cause bleeding. But this mistake can be corrected quite easily as explained below:
The solution: Not preparing the face properly before shaving
You can use the following methods to properly prep your face before a shave:
- Wash and rinse with warm water: Rinsing your face with warm water is going to wash away all the dirt and oil from your skin and allow the blade to glide along your face with as little resistance as possible. In addition to cleaning your face, warm water also plays a key role in opening up the pores of your skin which causes the hairs to stick outwards, making them easier to cut.
- Lather up your face using shaving soap/cream: This is the most crucial step of the pre-shave routine. You have to use a brush and shaving cream to lather up either directly on your face or in a bowl before applying the lather to your face. Shaving soaps and creams are a great way to soften up your facial hair before shaving them off. Shaving soaps also lubricate the skin, making it easier for the razor blade to glide across the skin without irritating the skin. Always use a brush for applying lather to your face and avoid using shaving foams that come in pressurized cans as they contain unnecessary chemicals that can leave your skin dry and increase the risk of cuts.
Mistake #2 Using the wrong type of razor
Ever wondered why you can’t get a good shave even though you are using a fresh and sharp blade? This can happen if you use the wrong type of razor for shaving your face. Replacing the blades of your razor regularly can only do so much for improving the quality of your shave if you don’t have a suitable kind of razor, to begin with. There are different types of razors available with different levels of aggressiveness when it comes to blade sharpness and angle of the blade. But a more notable difference is the difference in the number of blades in different types of razors. You have to make sure you pick a razor with the correct number of blades and aggressiveness that suits your needs. Although finding a razor that suits your shaving needs requires research and testing, but there are a few things that can help you pick the correct type of razor for you:
The solution: Using the wrong type of razor
You can follow these guidelines to help you pick the correct type of razor for you:
- Ideal razor for sensitive skin: If you have acne, skin irritation or other skin conditions, then using a razor with a single sharp blade is going to be ideal for you. Having more blades in your razor is going to cause more friction with each blade passing over your skin and you will end up irritating your sensitive skin further. But the blade angle and the blade itself in single blade safety razors are very aggressive and you have to learn how much pressure you need to apply and angle of the razor to get a proper shave.
- Ideal razor for a quick and safe shave: Multi-blade razors such as cartridge razors with up to 4 or 5 blades are ideal if you are a beginner shaver because more blades distribute the pressure evenly on each blade so you don’t accidentally cut yourself. Multi-blade razors are easier to use and you can use them to get a quick shave in the shortest amount of time. But as you increase the number of blades in a razor the friction they produce also increases and skin irritation can occur.
Mistake #3 Shaving in the wrong direction
Did you know your facial hairs always grow at an angle? The direction in which your hair grows is called the grain of your hair, and this direction varies for everyone. And common mistake men make when shaving is moving the razor against the direction of hair growth. Shaving against the grain is going to cause a lot more friction compared to when you shave with the grain. If you shave against the grain, the chances of you getting a razor burn or a nick are increased. Not to mention the increased friction is going to cause the blade of your razor to dull faster. What makes shaving in the correct direction particularly difficult is that different areas of the face of the same person can have different hair growth directions. The only way to shave in the correct direction is by finding out the direction of hair growth for different areas of your face and here is how you can find it out:
The solution: Shaving in the wrong direction
- Finding out the grain of your facial hair: If you don’t know the grain of your facial hair then it is recommended to let your stubble grow for a few days until the facial hair is long enough to precisely tell you the grain of your hair. Once you are sure that your facial hairs are long enough to be felt by hand, run your hand on different areas of your face and try to sense the direction in which your hand feels the least resistance from your facial hair. The direction in which your hand moves smoothly across your face is the grain or direction of hair growth of your hair for that section. While the direction in which your hand feels resistance is going to be the opposite direction of your facial hair growth.
- Draw a map for the grain of your facial hairs: It can be difficult to remember the exact grain of your facial hair every time you shave. So to be precise about the grain of your facial hair, you can draw a map of your facial hair growth by taking a picture of your face including your neck and then use a mobile app to draw arrows on the picture to indicate the direction of hair growth for different areas of your face. Once you have the map ready you can use it every time you shave to avoid going against the grain accidentally and irritating your skin.
Mistake #4 Using too little or too much pressure while shaving
This mistake is mostly made by beginner shavers and the consequences of this mistake can be painful. Razor blades are very sharp and unless you are applying the correct amount of pressure when moving the blade against your skin you won’t be able to get the desired results. Applying too much pressure can irritate and even cut the skin while applying too little pressure is going to give you a patchy shave or no shave at all. If you are using a modern razor with pivoting razor head and flexible blades, you should still be able to get a decent shave because these razors can adjust themselves according to the pressure being applied. But when using a safety razor, you will get a good shave with minimum pressure because their weight applies sufficient pressure as you move the blade against your skin.
The solution: Using too little or too much pressure while shaving
A good way to avoid exerting too much or too little pressure when shaving is by tilting your face on either side and rest your razor on the side of your face in the cheek region without applying any pressure. This is the amount of pressure you need to apply when shaving with a metallic safety razor since the weight of the razor will do the pressing. All you have to do is glide the razor across your face.
Note: If you can’t shave your facial hair without applying extra pressure with your razor, then chances are the blade of your razor has gone dull and you need to replace it.
Mistake #5 Using improper razor angle when shaving
This mistake is also specific to men who shave with safety razors or fixed disposable razors because cartridge razors have pivoting shaving heads that automatically adjust the angle of the shaving head as you move the razor across your face. But razors with fixed shaving heads especially double-edged safety razors don’t have this feature and keeping the razor at the wrong angle when shaving is going to give you an uncomfortable shave. If the angle of the razor with the skin is too aggressive it will cause the blade to scrape across the skin instead of cutting hair. While if the angle of the razor is too small, the blade won’t come in contact with the hairs and therefore you won’t be able to shave at all. But the solution to this problem is surprisingly simple as explained below:
The solution: Using improper razor angle when shaving
If you keep the razor at an angle of 30 degrees when shaving, it is going to allow for the best possible shave without irritation or cuts. Have you ever noticed that disposable razors make a fixed angle of around 30 degrees when placed against your skin? That is because at this angle you are not scraping the skin with the blade and you will be able to cut hair as close to the skin as possible. Keeping the blade at a 30-degree angle should give you a comfortable and close shave, but some razors might have a slightly more aggressive or less aggressive shaving angle. So a good way to find the correct shaving angle for your razor is by following these simple steps.
Step 1. Hold the handle of the razor and place the shaving head of the razor against your skin making sure that the handle of the blade is at a 90-degree angle with your skin.
Step 2. Start increasing the angle of the razor and slowly glide the razor against your skin at the same time until the blade of the razor makes contact with the skin.
Step 3. When you notice that the blade of your razor has started shaving hair properly without scraping against your skin, this is going to be the ideal shaving angle for your razor.
Mistake #6 Making too many passes of the razor
This is probably the most controversial topic in the wet shaving community. While some shavers prefer to make only one pass when shaving others might consider two passes of the blade as an ideal number. But the fact of the matter is that more passes of the blade equal to more skin irritation. Each pass of the blade removes a thin layer of the skin cells along with the hairs and the more passes you make, the more skin you will remove and this can lead to redness of the skin and even razor burns. Since there is no standard number of passes one should make during the shave, some men make the mistake of making too many passes and as we mentioned above this can lead to problems.
The solution: Making too many passes of the razor
So how many passes of the blade should you make when shaving? Ideally, you would only want to make one pass of the blade over each section of your face. But even the most experienced shavers can’t get rid of all the hair in one single pass. Not to mention the shave you get from a single pass of the blade is not as close as most men like. So a good way to get a close shave with the least amount of passes is by making the first pass of the razor with the grain and then making a second pass across the grain (Not against the grain). This is going to give you a close shave without irritation the skin or causing redness.
Mistake #7 Improper post-shave routine
The process of shaving doesn’t stop after removing hairs and washing away the lather. That is a mistake a lot of men make. They simply wash their faces after a shave and get on with their day. As we explained in the previous section that shaving strips away a thin layer of your skin and this leaves the freshly exposed skin vulnerable and dry.
The solution: Improper post-shave routine
When you finish shaving, you should use warm water to rinse away any leftover soap or hairs and then give your face a few splashes of cold water to close the pores of your skin. Using cold water will also cause the blood to recede from the surface of the skin and reduce the redness caused by shaving. Finally, you would want to use a good quality aftershave balm to restore the moisture levels that your skin lost during the shave.
The wet shaving mistakes that we highlighted in this article can turn shaving into an unpleasant experience. So if you have been making any of the above-mentioned mistakes while shaving, you can correct those mistakes using the solutions we have provided and turn your shaving routine into a fun and enjoyable hobby.