Whilst you may think shaving against the direction of hair growth might be the fastest and safest way to get a close shave - it is also the quickest route to skin irritation, razor bumps, damaged hair follicles and ingrown hairs. The reality of shaving against the grain is that the razor blade tugs at the hair before cutting it, giving you a first class ticket to uncomfortable and irritated skin.
To make sure you go with the grain, simply take a few moments to run your fingers over your stubble to determine the direction in which your hair is growing. If it feels prickly, you’re going against the grain. If it feels smooth then you’re going with the grain. In order to avoid accidentally changing directions, always use gentle, short strokes and let the razor glide over your skin without applying unnecessary pressure.
Some have said that shaving in the direction of your hair does not give a close enough shave - this is not the case. There are numerous things that you can do to attain a close shave and not sacrifice the health of your skin in the meantime.
The first and most important way to get a close shave is to invest in a single-blade safety razor. Multi-blades have been marketed to be seen as the better option to get a closer shave, but these modern cartridges have been found to do much more harm than good in terms of irritation and ingrowns. The Smooth Operator Zero Waste Razor not only runs on a single-blade, but is also sustainable and promotes the enjoyment of self-care rituals.
The next point is that your razor should always be sharp and as new as possible, as a worn blade is much less efficient and end up causing major discomfort.
Using warm water when shaving is also particularly helpful as it opens up the pores to more easily cut the hair. Applying a shave oil or cream to soften the hair and using warm water will assist the razor to glide smoothly along the skin.
Ultimately, it is your personal decision as to how you want to shave. The real difference between shaving against or with the direction of your hair is what you feel comfortable doing in order to protect and care for your skin. Our recommendations will ensure you get a consistent, clean shave, whilst also ensuring you have clear and healthy skin.