Shaving Against The Grain

We all know that the rule of thumb is to shave in the same direction as what your hair grows. Although this may prevent irritation, it can most likely, also keep you from getting a smoother and closer shave.

So in this article, we will be discussing how you can shave against the grain, for a smoother and closer shave, without the irritation.

Pros of Shaving Against The Grain

There are some advantages to shaving against the grain, although it is basically just a matter of knowing your own face, its contours, and curves. Every individual’s skin reacts differently to shaving, certain shaving products, as well as different razor types. So, as a rule, it is important that you find what works best for you specifically.

Whereas some individuals have a hair pattern allowing them to shave in any direction, others have more intricate patterns which shaving against the grain can cause severe irritation.

Most professional barbers start off shaving with the grain and then shaving sideways against the grain. Shaving against the grain gives you a much closer and smoother shave, which is, for the most part, the greatest advantage.

Along with a closer shave, another benefit of shaving against the grain, if you can do so without risk of irritation, is that your shave may last a bit longer. Shaving with the grain is a less close shave, so the hairs are left slightly longer, and so will grow out a bit faster in the end. While shaving against the grain, although risky, can give you a bit more time in between shaving.

Cons of Shaving Against The Grain

When you shave against the grain, you cut the hair very close to the skin, making appear much denser and thicker for one, and which can likewise cause irritation on the other hand.

You will most likely also risk getting razor bumps and ingrown hairs when shaving against the grain because you need to pull the skin for a closer shave slightly. Because the hairs are cut so short and close to the skin when you shave against the grain, you have a greater chance of getting ingrown hairs. This happens because the skin covers the hair follicle much easier when the hair is so short, causing it to grow inwards.

Ingrown hairs are much more likely to develop in men with very thick or curly hair, and particularly African men tend to have tighter curls.

So although shaving against the grain will give you that close shave you desire, you are risking getting razor bumps, ingrown hairs, and irritation.

If You Have To, How

So you have decided you want to give shaving against the grain a try, the well good news is, doing it the correct way may completely eliminate your risk of irritation, razor bumps, and ingrown hairs.

By following these tried and trusted tips, you should be able to get a close and irritation-free shave, depending on your skin.

So here is how you should go about it;

  • Rub your hand or a credit card across your face and determine the direction of growth of your facial hair, the area where you encounter resistance is against the grain.
  • Take a hot shower or wash your face in warm water and make sure it is well hydrated.
  • Apply a high-quality shaving gel or cream to soften the hair.
  • Firstly shave with the grain and then reapply shaving gel or cream to shave against the grain, only in the areas you find it necessary.
  • Keep in mind after shaving to apply a good aftershave, which will prevent irritation and cool your face while moisturizing.
Your Pre and Post shaving routine is absolutely vital in any shaving regime, whether it is against or with the grain. A well prepared and cared for skin is much easier to shave and has much less risk of irritation, ingrown hairs, and razor bumps at the end of the day.

Make sure that you cleanse and moisturize your face properly and that you use good quality shaving products and a good quality razor that works well for you.

Using Shaving Oil

You may have come across this, but another great breakthrough when it comes to shaving against the grain is by using a good quality shaving oil. The idea here is not to be scared to use too much, but rather lather it on thickly for a smooth and easy glide, which will similarly prevent Nicks and Cuts.

Another plus is that the shaving oil gives excellent moisturization to keep your skin smooth and supple.

Here is a superb video showing how to shave using a shaving oil;

Getting a Firm Handle on Shaving

Shaving against the grain requires a good and high-quality razor, and the right selection of blades. A three-blade razor, which is for sensitive skin, is a good option for shaving against the grain to prevent irritation.

Make sure your razor is easy to handle and has a comfortable grip.
I have found that a good Dual Head razor is ideal for shaving against the grain, as it is flexible and has a handle that guarantees you maximum control.


So the final verdict, shaving against the grain gives you a much closer and smoother shave, but if done incorrectly it can lead to razor bumps, ingrown hairs and irritation.

Therefore the right shaving regime and a good razor are vital.
As I have mentioned before, a Dual headed razor is perfect for shaving against the grain.
The Defender Dual headed razor ideally also features an easy-grip handle, all of which aids in this method of shaving, to give you a close shave without the irritation.
In the end, it is up to your technique, with proper technique, and depending on how your hair grows, you should be able to get a close shave against the grain with no hassles.

Customer Reviews that Shave Against The Grain

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