To Shave Before or After Showering? – that’s the question that we’re addressing today.
A quote supposedly attributed to Abraham Lincoln goes as follows:
Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Those words make clear the importance of preparation – paramount to achieving a close, comfortable shave. Whether you shave before, during or after showering depends not only on the type of shaver you use, but how you prepare your face.
Your very first shave – it’s that big step into manfulness that brings with it a new element to your daily grooming routine.
As if you don’t have enough bathroom related jobs to deal with in the morning – showering, brushing teeth, styling hair, moisturizing, and deodorising (…and erm, dropping some friends off at the pool) – you’ve now got this arduous shaving task to endure.
To maintain a fresh-faced look, shaving must become an integral part of you daily grooming routine.
But when is the best time to slot shaving into your list of cleaning and grooming duties – is it before or after showering?
Maybe you’ve been shaving for years and you’re now starting to question whether it’s better to shave before, during, or after taking a shower.
Is it really true what the guys say – “Sh*t, Shower, Shave” – in that order, and off you go?
No matter whether you’re brand new to shaving, or you’ve more than 50 years of shaving experience under your belt, there’s three options available to you.
You can shave your face with an electric shaver or manual razor before stepping into the shower, or you can shower first then shave when you’re done, or you can shave whilst you’re in the shower.
Let’s explore these options and talk about which time is best for you.
Shaving Before You Shower
Both manual razors and electric shavers can be used before showering – with a few caveats. When shaving with a double-edge safety razor or modern cartridge razor, it’s important to first moisten your beard with a hot towel or a few splashes of warm water.
Because heat and moisture open pores and soften tough facial hair, making it easier to shave without irritation.
And remember: always use a high quality shaving oil, cream or gel – without a protective barrier, a razor’s edge drags along bare skin, causing nicks, redness and irritation.
Using an electric shaver before showering requires much less prep work.
There are no exposed blades – the cutting elements are hidden beneath a protective layer of perforated foil, ensuring no direct contact with skin.
Neither a hot water soak, nor the application of oil, gel or cream, are necessary – though you may find they enhance your shave. Just be sure your electric shaver is rated for both wet and dry operation!
Shaving While You Shower
My preferred way to shave is during my shower because it saves time, there’s no mess, and it’s very refreshing.
Though it isn’t for everyone, we’re big proponents of shaving in the shower – it’s quick, comfortable and convenient. Steam and heat soften skin and hair, readying it for a close shave, and running water rinses stubble away (let’s face it – no one likes wiping off blobs of shaving cream and bits of facial hair from the bathroom counter and sink).
Shaving in the shower is best done with a waterproof electric shaver like the Braun Proskin. If you’ve never used one in the tub, the experience can be mildly unnerving – we all know that water and electricity don’t mix.
But rest assured, reputable manufacturers like Philips and Braun have perfected their water sealing technologies, and wet shaving with a wet-dry rated electric razor is perfectly safe.
Using a safety or cartridge razor in the shower requires more care – especially in regard to the former, whose fixed-position, single blade head neither swivels, nor is particularly forgiving of poor placement or excessive pressure.
If you decide to use a double edge safety razor whilst showering, be sure you’ve had plenty of practice first – and bear in mind that maintaining a well-lathered face is difficult under running water!
It’s for the above reasons that we favor using an electric shaver in the shower – it’s fast, convenient, requires no additional products, and provides a significant margin of safety over manual razors.
Now, don’t start shaving the moment you step into the shower. They key is to shave towards the end of your shower, to allow hairs to soften for smoother cutting.
Get everything out the way first – wash your hairs, body, and brush your teeth – then lather up some shaving gel or foam after applying some pre-shave oil – then start shaving.
All the cut hairs are washed down the drain, and you’re able to instantly wash all the shaving lather residue off your face. The hot steam and water gets right into your pores and leaves your face feeling extremely clean – there’s nothing quite like it.
Shaving in the shower sure beats standing at a sink – and products like the L’Oreal Men Expert 5 in 1 shower gel allows you to wash your hair, body, face, and provides a lubricant for shaving in the shower.
Shaving After You Shower
For many of us, the shower is “me-time” – a few uninterrupted minutes in which to relax our minds before starting (or finishing) the day. If shaving in the shower is a poor fit for your schedule, try shaving afterward.
Fresh out of the shower, your face is warm, moist, and clean – all prerequisites for an optimal shave. In the shower, skin is exposed to heat and steam for much longer than most people are willing to keep a hot towel pressed against their face. After 5 minutes in the shower, hair follicles have absorbed enough water to swell and soften, making them significantly easier to cut.
Furthermore, sebum and bacteria are rinsed away, greatly reducing the risk of irritation and infection. Shaving is, in fact, much like an extreme form of exfoliation, sloughing off old cells and exposing newer – and more susceptible – skin.
The Right Tools for the Job
It’s said that you can’t build a house on a weak foundation. Likewise, a face can’t be shaved – not well, anyway – with a lousy razor.
A good shave depends both on preparation, and a careful selection of shaving tools and accessories.
Whether you prefer a safety razor, cartridge razor or the best modern electric shaver, best quality counts. Always choose from well-established brands – it’s hard to go wrong with Merkur, Gillette, Schick, Braun and Philips. The same goes for shaving oil, gel, cream or soap. Opt for a product made with the highest-quality ingredients.
Higher-end shaving creams require lathering – typically in a separate bowl, using a boar or badger hair shaving brush. Shaving soap – sold in preformed pucks – must also be lathered, though a secondary lathering vessel isn’t required.
Hand-lathering is an artform, but you’ll soon develop a deft touch, and know exactly how much water is required to build a luxurious, protective foam, the likes of which can’t be matched by canned shaving cream.
Finally, if shaving in the shower, consider investing in a fogless mirror, designed for use in steamy environments.
Smaller and more affordable are fogless mirrors with a hydrophobic (water-repellent) coating; larger and costlier – and some would argue, more effective – are those with a hot water reservoir that heat the mirror, preventing steam buildup.