Should You Shave Before or After You Shower?

Should You Shave Before or After You Shower?

When’s the last time you took a step back and looked at when you shave? It’s easy to fall into a routine of shaving at a specific time every day, especially when you have a packed schedule. But just because your shaving ritual fits neatly between a quick shower and morning coffee doesn’t mean it’s the best time for you to shave.

While shaving post-shower has been touted to deliver the most efficient, enjoyable shave, Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV). Check the shaving forums and you’ll see just as many men exalting a post-shower shave as loathing it, with the latter claiming it sensitizes their skin.

If you find yourself stuck in a shaving rut and experience redness and irritation post shave, reevaluate your timing and take an honest look at what works and what doesn’t. A few changes can turn a monotonous shave into an enlightening one.

Here are the benefits and drawbacks of shaving after you shower and shaving before you shower.

Shaving after you shower

The ideal (i.e. most painless) shave involves removing everything that gets in the way of a clean, slick razor glide. Thus, many men shave after they shower, when their skin is soft and pores are open.

When your hair follicles are dry, they have the cutting density of copper wire, so you should never go at them before first reducing the cutting strength by wetting your beard. Steam from the shower softens hair, making it easier to cut with fewer passes. And an easier cut means less tugging and pulling your skin. Meanwhile, the steam opens pores, allowing you to get in closer to the follicle. Think about it: the tighter the pore, the harder it is to rip hair out of it.

Then there is the bacteria factor: shaving after you shower ensures you’ve let hot water wash away traces of pollutants, dirt, and grime so they can’t be caught in your razor and spread around your face.  This bacteria can easily seep into microtears in your face, causing irritation and razor burn.

Shaving before you shower

While shaving after your shower has a hefty list of benefits, some men say doing so actually causes more irritation and makes their skin sensitive. Indeed, depending on how you like your shower, there is some truth in the matter. If you prefer hot showers, the water may over plump your skin, predisposing you to weepers and nicks. Super hot water actually dries out your skin by removing skin’s natural oils, leaving you with a dry feeling when you shave afterwards.

While the solution is to switch to warm water and perhaps apply pre-shave oil to remedy the dryness, it may not remedy the situation for everyone.

Also, not all of us have time to devote to a luxurious shaving ritual after we shower. Shaving before you shower saves time and the effort of extra clean up at the end.

should you shave before or after your shower?

So which is better?

Although the hair-softening, pore-opening steam of a warm shower is fabulous prep for your shave, your skin has its own needs. Try both methods to see which one gives you less irritation and fewer nicks. You may have been successfully shaving after your shower until now, but as your skin changes (due to age or varying climates) you may find that shaving before your shower works better.

Or pick the routine that suits your daily demands.

If you’re simply short on time and can’t afford to progress slowly through the shaving ritual, save time by shaving before you shower – but with one caveat: complete a hot towel treatment before you shave.

A good alternative: A hot towel treatment

A classic barbershop tool, a hot towel treatment is the mid ground between shaving before you shower and shaving after you shower. If you’re planning to shave before you shower, this treatment will warm and soften skin and hair. While a hot towel isn’t as effective at softening hair as a shower, it does make whiskers swell up. A hot towel won’t remove environmental pollutants and grime.

How to do a hot towel treatment:

  1. Wash your face.
  2. Soak a washcloth in warm water and hold it up to your face for at least 3 minutes, the amount of time it takes to significantly reduce cutting resistance.
  3. If you don’t have a towel on hand, you can also wash your face with warm water for a few minutes before applying shaving cream.
  4. Shave your face.

Tips:

-For extra softening, use moisturizing conditioner on your beard in the shower. Look for one with softening properties, like Dreadnought Concentrated Conditioner.

-Test out your pre-shave shower method: use conditioner before you shave for a week, and then no conditioner for a week. Repeat.

-Beginners can benefit for a post-shower shave in the evening, when they can take their time to perfect their method. 

-Option: exfoliate in the shower to achieve a closer shave. Exfoliation removes dead skin and debris that would otherwise get in the way of a clean shave. However, if you are a novice do not exfoliate until your skin acclimates to daily shaving. If you do exfoliate, do so on the days you’re not shaving.

Sharpologist: 10 Commandments of Wet Shaving

Think about when you first started wet shaving. You had to figure out which type of blade suited your skin and beard best, how to hold the razor so as to not apply too much pressure, and countless other details that, when mastered, produced the kind of shave that reminded you why you left your cartridge. While there is much helpful information online, it can be a lot to sort through and absorb when you’re just getting started.

Sometimes it’s more effective to have an easy-to-reference guide that gets to the point, especially if you’re just about to embark on a shave. That’s why we wanted to share Sharpologist’s “10 Commandments of Wet Shaving.” For those new to wet shaving, take these tips in stride to better your shave. For veterans, let these commandments remind you of proper form.

And keep in mind that as with any wet shaving advice, YMMV (your mileage may vary). The last commandment reprimands alcohol-based aftershaves, but if your D.R. Harris Aftershave Splash is the only product that’ll reduce redness and acne post-shave, keep at it.

Enjoy!

Via Sharpologist:

  1. Thou Shalt Prepare Thyself Properly

Thoroughly anoint thyself with a gentle facial cleanser and warm water, for cleanliness is next to shaveliness.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Use As Few Blades As Necessary

For more shall tempt the demons of irritation.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Use A Sharp Blade

Those same demons of irritation shalt seek another way to tempt those who are overly parsimonious.

 

  1. Remember To Honor Thy Grain

Knoweth the directions thy stubble grow in.  For knowing thyself is the key to happiness.  But neither shall thou be a slave to it’s mercy, by wielding the correct tool and the correct ways.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Reduce Thy Stubble

For the attempt to eliminate it completely and forever shall surely fail.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Not Overly Stretch Thy Skin

Flattening thy skin shall be rewarded; dramatic stretching is a sign of the disbeliever.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Use The Lightest Possible Touch

For pressure begets depression, which in-turn begets another temptation of the demons of irritation.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Take Thy Strokes Modestly

Remember to honor thy shave by taking short strokes, for long strokes shall forsaken it.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Take Thy Time

For impatience will surely tempt thee to take the Lord’s name in vain.

 

  1. Thou Shalt Not Use Alcohol In Thou’s After Shave Preparation

For such a shaving mélange will do thou no good in the fullness of time.

Shaving Soaps, Creams, and Gels: Which Should You Use?

 

Proper razor technique and blade sharpness are only part of the wet shaving puzzle. To shave well, you must ultimately be equipped with a spread of tools tailored to your skin type and lifestyle.

Shaving creams, shaving soaps, and shaving gels are all designed for the same purpose: to enhance glide and protect your face during shaving. But each type has benefits and drawbacks.

We hope the following breakdown will help you decide which one to go with!

Shaving Soap

There’s a small learning curve associated with lathering a shaving soap. Condensed into a puck or a disc, shaving soaps only lather with water and a shaving brush. Producing lather takes a few minutes, and the process can be even harder if you’re using triple-milled soap.

Triple-milled soap is soap that has been passed through a milling machine three times to thoroughly mix the ingredients and fragrances, as well as squeeze out extra moisture. This makes triple-milled soap harder than regular soap – and thus more difficult to lather. However, once you do learn how to lather it, triple-milled soap produces the richest lather you will experience. Plus, triple-milled soap is more economical. You can easily get 3 – 4 months of shaving out of one puck.

This is why soaps like Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap and Geo F. Trumper Hard Shaving Soap (both triple-milled soaps) have just as many die-hard fans as men who complain about how hard they are to lather. A trick to try: place a few drops of Geo F. Trumper Skin Food or glycerin on the puck or brush prior to lathering. Most importantly, always use distilled water.

If you want more advice on the subject, we actually wrote a blog post on how to get lather from Geo F. Trumper Hard Shaving Soap here.For a slightly easier lathering experience, try Edwin Jagger Shaving Soap.

Tip: If you have sensitive skin, note that shaving soaps are more likely to dry out your skin than creams or gels. But don’t let that stop you from trying one – just pick a soap formulated for sensitive skin, like Acca Kappa Muschio Bianco Shaving Soap Bowl.

Shaving Cream

Shaving creams contain more water than shaving soaps. This makes them far easier to lather (in fact, you can lather immediately and without water, versus having to build lather slowly with shaving soaps). So if you typically find yourself short on time, a shaving cream may be the smart choice for you. We also recommend shaving soaps for those new to wet shaving, as developing lather with soap is a learning process in and of itself.

And shaving creams are often a better choice for men with sensitive skin. Because shaving creams tend to come in many more varieties than shaving soaps, you’ll find plenty of unscented versions with minimal ingredients that can irritate skin. Truefitt & Hill has a lovely unscented line called Ultimate Comfort, formulated for sensitive skin.

You can’t go wrong with a shaving cream from one of the three T’s: Geo F. Trumper, Taylor of Old Bond Street, and Truefitt & Hill. For an indulgent shave experience, try Castle Forbes Essential Oil Shaving Cream, an ultra rich cream with aloe vera to prevent irritation. If you’re looking for something more affordable, Proraso has long been a standby.

Shave Gel

Like shaving creams, shaving gels don’t require water to build lather. Just squeeze some out from the tube and apply with your fingers. Shaving gels are thinner in consistency than shaving creams and allow you to see what you’re doing, since they don’t produce lather. This feature makes shaving gels a good choice for beginners who can use the visual feedback.

Zirh Aloe Vera Shaving Gel is a lightweight-yet-hydrating shaving gel that cushions with glycerin and has a smooth consistency.

The Conclusion

So which type of shaving product should you use? Let’s sum it up:

For massive lather: Shaving Soap

For men with limited time: Shaving cream or gel

For beginners: Shaving cream or gel

For men with dry or sensitive skin: Shaving cream

History of Wet Shaving: Proraso

Images via Proraso

Founded on the motto, “Shaving is an art and a pleasure,” Proraso brings the barbershop experience home – a premium product without a premium cost. And with four lines to suit specific concerns, Proraso seems to really cover the bases, boasting a legion of fans worldwide. The nearly 70-year-old company’s products have become classics.

Here’s a little history behind the popular wet shaving brand:

Keeping it in the Family

In 1908, Ludovico Martelli founded a cosmetics company under his own name in Florence. It wasn’t until Martelli’s son, Piero, came on to the company in 1948 that Proraso was born. Proraso transitioned the focus from cosmetics to shaving.

On the eve of an economic boom in Italy, Piero invented the Proraso Crema Miracolosa, a eucalyptus-based cream that could be used before a shave to soften the beard and after a shave to soothe irritation. You know it today as Proraso Green Pre-Shave Cream. As you might expect, the recipe for the formula of Pre-Shave Cream is tightly guarded, passed down from one generation to the next. Pre-Shave Cream became the first in a line of men’s grooming products now referred to as the Green line.

Proraso Pre-Shave Cream was an instant hit with barbers, and soon word of this fresh, multitasking product spread to Italian men who shaved at home.

Working on formulation in the Florence laboratory.

Targeted Lines for Different Concerns

Following on the heels of the Green line’s success, Proraso released its Red line for sensitive skin, which was discontinued several years ago. The White line eventually picked up where the Red line left off, with gentle formulations for reactive skin types.

The company then proceeded to launch a new Red line, this time targeted towards guys with coarse beards.

Recently, Proraso came out with its Blue line, designed to deeply moisturize dry skin.

Reinvention

In 2012 Proraso reformulated its products, to much discussion on the shaving forums. For the most part the formula stayed the same, but now it became over 95% natural origin and free of parabens, mineral oil, SLS, and silicones.

Find out more about Proraso on its website, and shop Proraso at RoyalShave.

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