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Shaving 201: Get A Better Shave With These 7 Powerful Habits

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In a sense, we’re all looking for a better shave: busy employees want to look presentable, quickly; socialites want to make an impression at that special event; and shave aficionados chase the “baby’s butt shave.” Here are seven habits to get into to help achieve that goal.

What Is A Habit?

But first, for the purposes of this article, let’s clarify–just what is a “habit?”

According to Wikipedia, a habit is “…a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.”

A habit is also “circular” in nature: there is a cue, which triggers a routine, that ends with some kind of reward. The reward then creates the circumstances for the next cue.

So in this case a habit developed out of this article triggers a specific activity within the shave, with a better shave as a reward.

1. Develop A Routine

The first habit is to develop a shave routine…or perhaps shave subroutines

Both habits and routines are regular and repeated actions, but habits happen with little or no conscious thought, whereas routines require deliberate practice.

There some interesting benefits to establishing a routine:

According to a Tel Aviv University study, predictable, repetitive routines can be calming and help reduce anxiety. They can also help you take control of your daily life. In other words, they can help you organize yourself.

Establishing a shaving routine could be something as simple as shaving at the same time of day (morning or evening) consistently. Or perhaps practicing “fidelity” with one aspect of the shave–using the same razor all the time (if you have more than one), for example. You don’t have to practice it slavishly (circumstances can change periodically) but try to do it consistently.

To read more about shaving as a process, click/tap here to read “How To Relieve Stress And Uncertainty With A Shaving Ritual – With Video”

2. Wash Your Hands

The second habit to develop for a better shave is to wash your hands at the start of your shaving routine.

While it is de rigueur to wash the face (or whatever area is about to be shaved) before shaving, washing your hands before-hand might be a new concept.

But keeping your hands clean is a great way to reduce the possibility of cross-contamination. And reducing cross-contamination means less of a chance of making skin problems like acne or even shave bumps from getting worse.

Which should result in a better shave.

For much more on the benefits of washing your hands, click/tap here to read “Wash Your Hands (Properly) For A Better Shave”

3. Do Not Share Shave Hardware

Habit number three is to not share shave hardware–either yours or other’s.

Sharing shaving implements is another opportunity for cross-contamination. And again, cross-contamination can make shaving worse by increasing the possibility of skin infections.

Admittedly there are ways of reducing the chance of cross-contamination of shave hardware by sanitizing the implements with UV light or a specialized liquid disinfectant. But the best way to reduce cross-contamination of shaving hardware is to avoid the circumstances in the first place.

4. Lock The Wrist

The forth habit to develop for a better shave is to lock the wrist while shaving (even if you use a razor with pivot).

Consider the pendulum:

The pendulum’s bob is parallel to the horizontal plane for a very short distance.

The example is over-dramatized as it relates to shaving but I think you get the point: if your wrist is unlocked it essentially becomes the pivot in a pendulum; if the razor is the pendulum’s bob then it is parallel to the skin for only a short distance.

When you use a non-pivoting shaving razor you must maintain the angle of the blade against the skin. Locking the wrist allows the razor to move over the surface with much greater consistency, for a longer shave stroke.

Front-facing pivoted razors are less susceptible to the pendulum effect, but only up to the travel of the razor’s pivot. So locking the wrist can be beneficial here, too.

5. Shave Efficiently

Habit five is shaving efficiently.

By that I mean–primarily–not immediately repeating a shaving stroke. It is so common for a shaver to almost unconsciously repeat strokes with the razor over the exact same spot again and again that I wonder if it’s maybe some kind of autonomic process.

If you can pay closer attention to your shave stroke and avoid repeating them in the same pass you can not only save time but also avoid irritation. Shaving correctly with the classic three pass approach will be just as close.

Secondarily, the classic shave advice of using no pressure on the razor and maintaining the correct razor angle will also help keep your shave efficient.

For more information on the efficient shave, click/tap here to read “How To Shave Efficiently – With Video”

6. Rinse With Warm Water After The Shave

Habit number six to develop for a better shave is the warm water rinse.

In my own case this one habit has virtually eliminated ingrown hairs for me.

After finishing shaving most shavers splash on a bit of cool water and apply an aftershave balm then go on about their day. Instead try a very thorough warm water rinse. If you want to improve the effect even more, soak a cotton pad with witch hazel, a mild toner, or a rose hydrosol, and wipe the shaved area. Then go ahead with a quick cool water rinse. This strategy will help wash away any lather residue that might be left on the skin and possibly clog pores.

Then you can follow up with a cool water rinse before applying aftershave.

7 Enjoy The Process

The seventh and final habit to develop is to enjoy the process of shaving.

There is a lot of confusion, stress, and uncertainty in the world today. Sticking to a process you have control over can help you deal with life these days.

Consider it as a form of mindfulness or meditation, focusing on training yourself into an emotionally calm, relaxed state. The two main things to keep in mind to achieve this are:

  1. Focusing on the moment. If your mind wanders you acknowledge it to yourself without judgement and refocus your attention.
  2. It takes at least 20 minutes in the activity to get full benefit.

There may be a few other things you can do to enhance your shave process. Some find background music helpful–though I would suggest using instrumental music instead of vocals to reduce the chance of distraction.

Another thing to keep in mind is to use your favorite scents with your shave products. Whether that is cologne-like, citrus, floral, or some other scent, using something you find pleasant is going to help.

The simple fact of enjoying your shave process can improve your shave.


Habits often have a negative connotation: chewing fingernails, smoking, or slouching are just some of the things “habits” are often associated with.

But there are good habits too! Exercising, starting the day with a healthy breakfast, and creating a morning ritual can be good for the mind and the body.

To summarize, seven habits to develop for a better shave include:

  1. Develop a routine;
  2. Wash your hands;
  3. Don’t share or borrow shave hardware;
  4. Lock the wrist;
  5. Shave efficiently;
  6. Rinse with warm water;
  7. Enjoy the process.

What other habits have you developed for a better shave? Leave a comment below!


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

4 thoughts on “Shaving 201: Get A Better Shave With These 7 Powerful Habits”

  1. I would add one item: After washing the face, lather up and then do nothing shaving-related for 3 to 5 minutes, as the wet facial lather further softens the whiskers for cutting. Proper and extensive shaving preparation does make a difference, especially if one has tough whiskers.

    Rinsing with warm water goes against most conventional shaving wisdom; in fact however, it probably makes no difference whether the water is warm or cool. The point is to RINSE THOROUGHLY, and don’t forget cleaning any residual soap from the ears and ear canals.

  2. Have you tried this? After the shave rinse the brush well, fill it with water and use the sopping wet brush to rinse off any remaining lather. Uses lots less water than lifting handfuls of water again and again. Tell Mr. Mantic 59.
    You’re welcome.

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