The Art of Shaving

Go with the grain?

Step 1
When wet shaving it is best to shave “with the grain “ of your hair growth. But which way is with the grain? Rub your hand on your stubbly face. In one direction it will feel rougher than in the other and will resist the push of your hand. That rough direction is against the grain, while the other, smoother feeling direction is “ with the grain”. On your cheeks and chin, this will tend to be downward. On your neck, this will tend to be upward, though everyone’s hair growth varies. Some men’s facial hair swirls in certain patches.

Step 2
Why shave with the grain? Because there is less of a chance of nicks and cuts, and because it reduces the chance of ingrown hairs and razor bumps. When you shave against the grain, the razor’s blade catches against the hair and pulls it slightly further away from the surface of the skin. This results in an increased likelihood of shaving the hair at a level slightly below your skin’s surface – one reason why ingrown hairs develop. Also, when you shave , you are not simply taking off hair, you are taking off a fine layer of skin (you are ”exfoliating”). Shaving with the grain tends to be a little eaiser on your skin as well, as the razor tends to travel a smoother path with the grain of hair growth.

Step 3
If you’ve been shaving against the grain up until this point, then it might take some time to get a close shave by going with the grain. Keep trying; your face may take a week or two to adjust to a new method of shaving. In certain instances, however, going against the grain may be more efficient. You might have some particularly stubborn stubble that needs to be shaved against the grain (or sideways across the grain, which is a little less harmful than directly against the grain ) in order to attain a close shave. If that is the case, shave as much as you can with the grain. Some guys use this method for a really close shave those trouble areas across or against the grain. Some may use this method for a really, really close shave. If you try this approach, remember to re-lather repeatedly only after getting through your first shave with the grain. If you are prone to ingrown hairs/ razor bumps, avoid this
practice at all cost as it will most likely make the problem worse. - Mac, The Shaving Maven ( BlackMen Magazine)