In this article, we will explore how the order in which you shower and shave affects your shaving experience, whether you're a wet shaver or you shave with an electric razor.
A good shaving routine is a thing that every man needs to get a consistently great shave. The order of your routine makes a big difference, as much as the shaving products you choose. Showering and shaving are steps in the routine of men everywhere, however, what is not obvious is the best order in which to do these. Luckily, the wisdom we've collected from decades of shaving has many useful things to say.
So when should you shave? After you shower or before?
- We recommend shaving after showering where possible, especially if you are wet shaving.
- Most electric razors are not suitable for use after showering. Always check before trying.
- Showering first smooths skin, helping prevent irritation and cuts.
- Washing your face a second time after shaving can cause excessive dryness.
- Cleaning your face before shaving removes dirt and bacteria, helping prevent pimples and infections.
- Avoid touching your face immediately afterwards. Close your pores with a splash of cold water first.
When you get into the warm water and humidity of a hot shower a couple of useful things happen to help you shave. Firstly your pores open up and any build-up of dirt and bacteria will be removed, reducing the chance of pimples developing or infection from any cuts that might happen.
Secondly, the coarse hairs on your face absorb moisture and become softer and wet skin becomes smoother. A smooth, flat surface helps your razor glide and cut your stubble with just a single pass, and without scratching or cutting the skin. In addition, having to shave softer hairs will also help extend the lifetime of the blades in your razor. Contrast this with dry, rough and uneven skin which requires pressure and extra passes (the leading causes of irritation) to shave smoothly and cut closely. Dry skin is also so much more likely to be nicked by a blade that makes contact with the skin surface, causing those weeping blood spots and bleeding cuts.
There are downsides to not showering after you shave. Firstly, you will have to wash your face again to remove all the product and shaved bristles left on your face. This repeated washing strips away the natural oils from your skin. This loss of these oils leads to dryness and irritation as moisture is lost to the outdoors or dry air in heated homes.
Secondly, the hair on warm skin lies flatter, meaning you will have a slightly less close shave than you otherwise could, especially when using an electric razor. If you use a shaving brush to apply shaving soap or cream you can undo this, as the bristles in the brush will stimulate the hairs to stand more upright.
A downside of opening up all the pores in the skin on your face is there's a risk of dirt and bacteria getting back in once you've finished. This is very easy to remedy though if you splash cold water on there. It's great to feel how smooth your face is, but don't ruin your hard work by causing an outbreak of pimples.
When it comes to using electric razors, there is less scope for their use after showering. Unless your razor is designed to be used wet, there's the risk of water getting in. Unwelcome water in a leaky razor can cause rust, and damage to the electronics inside.
- Your facial hair will stick upright more, helping you shave closer.
- Showering after shaving makes clean-up easier. It saves time and also avoids excessive face washing.
- Dry hairs are, in general, easier for electric razors to cut.
- Shaving before can be more irritating to sensitive skin and cause shaving rash.
The hairs on cool skin stick out more, making it easier to shave them closer than hairs that lie flatter when the skin is warm. This is especially relevant for men who use electric razors, whose blades don't make close contact with the skin. Electric razors are more likely to miss hairs lying flat, meaning more passes are needed, adding to skin irritation.
Dry hair is also much more brittle and easier to cut by the action of an electric razor's blades. Wet hairs are more elastic and prone to get caught painfully in your electric razor's blades, which are moving much faster than the blade used when wet shaving, which slices through hairs more slowly.
Showering after shaving also means fewer times that you will need to wash your face. Your shower will wash away all the bits of cut hair that accumulate as you shave, saving time as well as any added irritation from excessive washing.
On the downside, without the friction-reducing effect of showering first, the skin can become more irritated. If you find this, a quality shave oil can help you, or if you prefer electric razors, look for a waterproof electric razor or one designed for use with a lubricating cream or gel that can help reduce friction.
What about shaving in the shower?
Overlooked as an option, this is another good way to shave. The running water under a shower acts as a layer of lubricant in place of shaving soap, cream, gel or oil, simplifying your shaving routine and saving time.
The water will also wash away any shaved hairs for you. If you are wet shaving in the shower, you can use the water to rinse your blade every few strokes like you would at the sink.
The water will also wash away any shaved hairs and if you are wet shaving in the shower, you can use the water to rinse your blade every few strokes like you would at the sink.
It's a method worth experimenting with but only after considering you'll need a mirror in the shower to keep your hands free to shave with. The heat and extra time spent under warm running water can cause skin dryness and heat rashes, therefore it's not a method we recommend if you are prone to either.
If you shave with an electric razor, this method is probably out of the question. Don't try it unless your razor is designed to tolerate a continuous stream of water. Check with the manufacturer and check if your razor has an IP rating to make sure it's up to it.
When you should shave, before, after or even during your shower, depends largely on whether you're a wet shaver or if you use an electric razor.
The benefits from showering before a wet shave outweigh what you miss from showering afterwards, in fact, we recommend that everyone applies some kind of moist heat before they wet shave because of the positive effect it will have. If you can't shower before shaving, why not try a damp towel that's spent 30 seconds in the microwave?
We recommend that users of electric razors shouldn't generally shower before they shave, while there are benefits from showering after with no real downsides.
There are always exceptions. Some people find electric razors too tough on their skin and some electric razors are designed for use in the shower. Just follow the manufacturer's recommendations to be sure.
In our experience, these guidelines work for 95% of shavers, but with this article in mind, you should feel confident to experiment with your routine to find what's right for your unique make-up of skin and hair types.