Instructables
Shaving. As if it wasn't dangerous enough with all the blades? Now there's those little ingrown hairs to deal with known as razor bumps. Here's how not to get them. Long time lurker, first time instructable, so please be a critic. But please, I beg you, be constructive. And hey, if you like it, please gimme a vote!

Update: Now with 50% more rambling about shaving tools! Bullets now included.
 
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Step 1: Get your stuff ready!

Alrighty, you're about to shave, but wait, you don't know how? Or you do, but you need some pointers. And you definitely don't want any funny little bumps. Here's what you need, but there are more complex things if you wanna go further than these basics.

  • Hair that needs removin
  • A razor (Not electric). Any old bic or cheapo will do, though if you wanna get fancy you can buy one of those ten bladed Gillette's that vaguely resemble an onion slicer.
  • Shaving Cream. Again, you don't need anything expensive, but you can always shell out
  • more cash if you wanna for gels or the like.
  • A sink, or some other water holder. No need for fancy.
  • Washcloth. Not exactly necessary, but it beats using your hands to wipe your face.
  • Scissors. Again, really not needed, but nice for whacking down the major shrubbery before
  • you mow it.
  • Aftershave. Makes you smell nice, and helps kill anything nasty on your face.
  • Mirror. Almost needed. If you're good you can do without it, but I wholly recommend being able to see yourself while you work.

Once you've got what you need, all you really have to do is go ahead and fill your sink up with some nice warm water and plug that drain.

Step 2: Get yourself ready!

Picture of Get yourself ready!
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Almost to the bleedin'. If you can stand to look at my ugly mug, you might notice that my awful awful hairdo is wet. That's because I just got out of the shower, which is a great way to help soften up the hair on your face. An alternative is to take that cloth from before, soak it in hot water, and let it spend some time on your face.

After you've softened up those whiskers, if you have scissors, now is the time to use them. They're useful for trimming your sideburns a little, as well as shaping your stylish mustache. Be careful, think about where you cut.

This is important. Run your hand all over where you intend to shave, in a few directions. You might notice that your hair has a grain, and it's smooth to run your hand one way, rough the other. Remember the grain of various areas, and it'll make your life easier. It's a key to not getting razor bumps.

All done? Dollop some shaving cream into your hand. Go on, don't be shy. Slather it all between your hands and rub it onto your face anywhere you'd like the hair to be gone. Aside from lubricating your skin, it's also helpful in seeing where you've still got to shave.

Step 3: And now to shave the first pass!

Despite what you've ever been told, you're at that point in your life, right now, when applying a very sharp object to your face becomes a good idea. Respect that razor, and it will treat you well. Disrespect it, and it'll cut you like...well...It will cut you. It's sharp enough to be cliche.

Important tip! Always, Always, Always move the razor in a perpendicular direction to the blades. That is, never slide it sideways, always in the direction of that handle. And keep it flat. Do this and you shouldn't cut yourself lest you go over a weird rumple in your face. Or cut the top off a zit. Don't worry, that doesn't hurt, and you'll barely notice.

By now you're probably tired of listening to me yammering, so let's get to it. Carefully apply the razor on the side of your face. Doesn't matter -exactly- where you start, but your cheek is good. I like to start around my side burns and take nice, even paths downwards. Go in the direction of the grain of the hair, that is, the direction your hand went smoothly across your face in the previous step. After you've taken a swipe at it, take a look at your razor. Clogged huh? Go ahead and jiggle it in the water before cutting another path. When you've finished the cheek you're on, go do the other one. Same deal, just in reverse.

The neck isn't hard either, just keep going with the grain, keep your razor clean, and you're golden.

Now there's a little bit of a tricky part. Mind your jawline, and make sure to keep that razor with the grain. It helps to contort your face to smooth the skin. Around your chin and nose aren't hard either as long as you take your time and pay attention to the grain. Carefully shape around any hair you wish to keep.

Step 4: And now to smooth it all out!

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You look done, but here's where you get smooth. Really smooth, and bumpless. Remember which direction the grain of your hair went, and how you shaved along with it? Changeup. Now we're going to go across. If you shaved down, shave to the side. If you shaved to the side, shave up or down. Absolutely don't go against the grain. You'll be smooth, but you're dooming yourself to a week of ugly red dots, especially around the chin. Go over it all with the razor across the grain, careful now, it's a bit different than last time. You might notice that the razor gets less clogged, but still keep it rinsed.

Done? Might not be. Run your hand over your face, check for rough spots. Go over those again before moving on to the next step. You oughta be very smooth by now.

Random Note: Yes I know I'm bleeding a little. I didn't cut myself, it's a zit. The aftershave in the next step takes care of cuts, anyway.

Step 5: Finishing up!

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Wipe your face off, and get ready for the pain! Yes, pain. This will most likely hurt. Rub some aftershave onto your hands. Not much, but enough that they feel slick after a vigorous rub together, you don't want to bathe in the stuff. After you do that take a deep breath. Ready? Rub it all over your face where you shaved. If it hurts at all, it'll burn like mad. But only for a second, leaving you with a weird tingly feeling. Presto! You're shaved! Clean! And to boot you smell good, and you won't get bumps over the next few days.

Step 6: And so begins the talk of tools!

Let's chat a little on the topic of tools. Razors, mostly. This might get wordy as well as somewhat opinionated and if you don't care poke around the comments, they have some interesting information on alternatives to shaving cream and aftershave. But hey, you listened to me thus far so why not?

Tool care! This be a little important. When you finish shaving, dry that razor. Ever so gently blot it with a napkin or some toilet paper. Letting the water just set on the blade will make it wear out quicker. And don't forget, disposable razors are called that for a reason. When it just barely starts to not work as well, chuck it. If you buy the same kind I do they come in a bag of like 10 or more anyway. I like to swish the blade in a little rubbing alcohol before I dry it, just to make sure it's nice and clean. Some people even like to soak their razor in baby oil, but I never found it worth it as I use a new razor every couple of shaves. Oil those scissors, just a drop on the hinge ought to keep them smooth. And please, please put the safety cap on the shaving cream if you just toss the can somewhere like a suitcase. You can imagine the mess it makes if that button is accidentally depressed.

So far you've learned how to use a cheap disposable razor that comes in a massive bag, but what if you want to be different? Let's discuss some options.

First, there's the electric razor. If you're terrified of sharp things, these generally are your best bet. Easy to use either dry or with the specially formulated gel, just turn it on and rub it all over your face. I can't cut myself on the face with one even if I try. And trust me, I have. Got curious just how guardy those guards are. Though I will note you can nip your lip if you try. That hurts so don't do it. Most also have a doodad on back known as a mustache and beard trimmer. Think of the clippers they use to cut your hair. This is what I normally use instead of scissors, to trim my sideburns, mustache and beard. I also go once over my whole face with it to get off any high hair if I haven't shaved in quite a while. Electric razors are simple to clean. Brush them off, they usually come with this dinky little brush for the purpose, after use. Your instructions will tell you if there's anything special you have to do.
Alas, for all their ease and convenience, they don't shave near as close as blade. It might be worth noting too that the blades tend to be expensive, but don't need to be replaced as often.

There's also strait razors out there, but to be perfectly honest I don't know how to use them. If anybody would like to add strait razor use and care I'd be happy to collaborate, or even just post your own instructable and tell me. I'd love to read it.

Moving on, there's more expensive disposables. It's an arms race of who has the most blades and or who has a battery operated vibration hickey in them. Pretty much all of these us a proprietary cartridge that you replace once in a while. I had a Gillette Mach 3 once, and personally I didn't notice much of a difference. That said, you might. The powered razors supposedly vibrate the hair and lift it, sounds dubious to me. In my experience vibration makes things fall prey to gravity and settle.

Shaving cream brushes. They really help that stuff penetrate the hair. I don't own one because I'm cheap, but have gotten the chance to use one. It's simple, you just use it to apply the cream. If you can afford it, shoot for a badger hair brush. Those are top shelf in both nice factor, and price.

Thank you for putting up with me! And remember folks, you're a biological organism that is somewhat different from me. Your mileage may vary, as you may be rougher, smoother, or more greasy than I.



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charli108 months ago
Men should see this and learn how to shave and not cut them selves
kayus432110 months ago
Informative tips above shaving. thanks
ubouragba1 year ago
How to get rid of razor bumps is a big question that I HATE! i have a tool that can get rid of them FAST coming out soon.
Razor bumps occur when a newly shorn hairs grows back to re-enter the skin. As it continues to pierce and embed itself into the skin, a bump will appear as a sign of injury.
To get rid of razor bumps rapidly, save the part free of sweat and germs. Wash the regarded area with antibacterial cleanser. Development of bacterium can exacerbate the precondition and prevents skin’s power to reclaim the bumps.
BobAJobRob2 years ago
I think that the most important thing to prevent rash and bumps is to disinfect immediately after shaving, and to keep the skin scrupulously clean whilst it is still tender.
I usually use the cheapest aftershave I can find, and lots of it. However, I have recently found Savlon Wound Wash spray which works just as well, doesn't sting, and doesn't make you smell like a big tart.
If you disinfect and then wipe your face with a towel....you've just reapplied a layer of germs. Disinfect again. About 10 minutes after you've finished shaving I think the danger has passed.
I used to suffer from awful razor burn, but since doing this it is a distant memory.
By the way - this applies to wet or electric shaves!
I agree on disinfecting the skin immediately after shaving. I use hand sanitizer and have had good results with it. I also use an antique safety razor that uses the double sided razor blades (I fancy myself a bit of a renaissance man ;) and it also minimizes waste). After using the razor and leaning my face, I swish the razor's head in a small tupperware-ish bowl of 90% isopropyl alcohol. This cleans the blade of any shin oils, dead cells and remaining whiskers after the water rinse. It also helps shed the water and any minerals it may contain to keep the blade sharp longer.
SKIN oils.... sheesh Hoopajoo, it pays to proof-read!
treynolds573 years ago
I wear a beard, so I only have to shave my cheeks and neck. I used a rotary electric for years, but never really felt that it was that close, especially in the days when we had to wear shirts and ties. A bladed razor is MUCH better and the shave is longer lasting.

For years now I've shaved in the shower with a disposable razor. I shampoo, wash all over with soap, then turn to the suction-cup mirror on the shower wall, lather up with soap, shave, then rinse everything starting with the hair and work my way down.

The benefits of this is that the time I've spent in the shower doing all of the preliminaries allows the warm water and moist air to soften my beard. It's less messy, I don't have to worry about cleaning the sink and I NEVER have to worry about errant stubble that makes its way into a shirt collar.

I buy the Gillette twin-edge disposables in the 52-pack from Costco. They're relatively cheap, I change them once a week or so and Gilette ins't making a mint off me.

Good instructable.
Tiktaky4 years ago
 Thanks for this, I'm a female but I still took some advice from this tutorial. 5 years of shaving my legs and not once has anyone ever suggested going WITH the grain. (all Ladies razor directions say to go "against")
It really depends on how your skin reacts to it.

If you go with the grain, the cut won't be as close to the skin.
However if you go against the grain on the first pass, it will irritate the skin.

Now if you do it a couple times with the grain and do the last shave against the grain, the result will be a much smoother shave. That is what I do and I don't get any ingrown hair from that. It just might not work for you.

There's a lot of little tricks that might work but most of all, it's good to use the proper shaving products, most women I know just use soap or bathing gel and it doesn't work nearly as good.
LouiseMarie3 years ago
I have no need to shave my face..........not many women do, but i enjoyed your instructable anyway. i feel like you really got into the teaching part. You did good. Thumbs up.
If you really wanna get a close great shave, check out my instructable @
http://www.instructables.com/id/So-you-want-an-old-fashioned-double-edged-safety-r/
garyomega5 years ago
Closest shave of all? Shave twice.
see thats where I get my burn, If I shave more than once every 2 or 3 days, I get burn
NRen2k55 years ago
I think electric razors aren't to be discounted.

Sure, an electric razor is a totally different beast, but I've been using one for the last two years to good effect.

When I use(d) a disposable razor, right after hopping out of the shower in the morning I would apply some cream and shave. I find the electric razor works most effectively and painlessly on dry skin, i.e. before I shower. Even though I knew how to shave as you tell everybody here, I'd still get nicked on a regular basis with disposables. There's a rough patch on my throat that would always get scraped raw and bloody from just one or two passes of a disposable razor.

I don't have any such problem with my electric. The drawbacks are lack of precision, and it doesn't shave quite as close. Neither of them is a very big deal to me, since I've grown a circle beard and bought a precision trimmer to groom it, and my growth isn't thick enough to give me a bad 5 o'clock shadow.
aaahhh, barbasol. i remember years ago my dad would use that, and i would sneak into the bathroom when he was done and shave. i hate all this gel crap they have. i miss straight cream.
me too (hate gel). i use cream still.
tell me about, gel sucks! it burns my skin.
Good job. The only addition I want to make is you say to wipe your face when done. We see that a lot in television and movies, but if someone has sensitive skin, simply wiping off the lather residue might cause itching later on. Use lots of water. I use hot water first (fill the sink to half full) and then cold. I also rub all my skin with tea tree oil which smells nice and is a good antiseptic. Thanks!
JettyMae6 years ago
I saw this and just had to laugh. but you have so many good tips... i loved IT!
SteamKit (author)  JettyMae6 years ago
Haha, I'm glad to be of help!
orionc6 years ago
The last picture of step five is the best! Ha Ha!
Llewner6 years ago
I suggest that you now move on to the double edge straight razor. Muwhahahahahahah!
syberangyl6 years ago
Okay, I am still new to the instructables thing, and actually haven't contributed yet (I know.. I'm worthless), but this is, thus far, the funniest instructable yet while remaining informative. Being of the girlish gender, I don't, as of yet (there is still a random chance I won't be able to say this one day), have facial hair but I think I will try going with, then across the grain of the five o'clock shadow I get on my legs! Maybe it'll hurt less.
hahahaha
my girlfriend shaved my legs once when i was 16
not even two year ago in fact
funniest thing EVER
clogged up her "Venus" shaver so many times she got annoyed
then once finally done
(pictures taken and since "lost" =p )
a day later she was complaining of the stubble on my legs
funniest
thing
EVER

LOL, the only thing I have to say about leg stubble is... you don't have to kiss legs. When my dad decided I was old enough to shave my legs he says to me: "I'm tired of looking at your hairy legs." I nearly froze to death because it took SO long and had to throw the razor away when i was done. Oh and I tried the across the grain, then with thing. Didn't work for mah legs. The best thing ever (EVER) is to get goosebumps then shave the goosbumps! That makes for darn smooth legs (smoothest EVER), but can you get goosebumps on your face?
hmm
i dont Think you can
i never can except slightly raised hairs where my sideburns would be
if the rest of the hairs on my face are effected
its not noticeable
gutted
=p
good idea though
maybe you should do a leg shaving instructable?
if its so hard / different
i dont know
just thinking as this instructable helped me realised why i kept getting ingrown hairs on ma chin

although ive only ever got razor burn from using an electric shaver
which i will never use again

but meh
just an idea +
trying to get more instructables out there to the world!
static6 years ago
A WW II vet I use to work with sometime recounted how some of the "Mexicans" he served with used a plain old double edged blade with their hands , no metal handle to shave. BTW he wasn't using, Mexican in a pejorative manner, he seemed to speaking in awe of their skill.
SteamKit (author)  static6 years ago
Wow, I'll bet that was hard to do without cutting up your face.
Splortched6 years ago
This is a fairly good tutorial, but a better one is found on... myspace?!

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=16546909

I use this method, and shave against the grain. I have not once gotten razorbumps using this method, and my skin is healthier!
I thought that was not so great. Some vague pseudo-science about pores CLINGING to hairs and some of the things mentioned here... but generally very lacking in actual helpful information. I'd say skip it.
Bighead6 years ago
Always use cold water, hot water softens hair but softens skin even more so make the contrast greater increasing risk of cuts, use shower oil not any soap as oil is not rinsed away like soap when shaving, rinse in cold water help prevent shaving rash.Does not close pores as mentioned above , pore are incapable of any movement.Finaly apply a small amount of germolene or similar antiseptic cream on morning and evening following shave for smooth trouble free shave.
I've never heard of shower oil, what is that?
Shower oil is soap free shower gel for people allergic to soap.
lmn Bighead6 years ago
i shave my head and use the oil "shave secret" it costs $3 at walmart
engman756 years ago
Now I know how to shave right! thank you!
engman756 years ago
Now I know how to shave right! thank you!
Can I keep you? _
(removed by author or community request)
I'm sure he'd much prefer a nice warm bed to a grande-sized ball jar.
Go with Mason, their jars stay air-tight longer.
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