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7 Shaving Mistakes You Might Be Making Without Even Being Aware Of Them

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Are you getting the best shave with what you have?  Do you really think about your shave?  We all get caught up with our own personal saviors…or demons.  Maybe it’s time to step back and become more aware of some aspects of shaving you have not really thought about.

1. Inadequate Preparation

Absent-mindedly splashing on some water for a moment before lathering is a mistake.  It can take up to three minutes to properly prepare the skin and stubble for shaving.  Wash with a mild cleanser specifically made for the face (“body bars” and deodorant soaps may strip away too much of the skin’s natural oils) and rinse with generous amounts of warm-to-hot water.

2. Using Too Much Pressure On The Razor

Pressing down on the razor to gouge those stubborn stubbles out of your skin is a mistake.  I know it may sound counter intuitive but a blade’s edge cuts most efficiently on a flat surface.  Putting too much pressure on the razor creates a “trough” and the result is just the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish (a razor with a pivot can help compensate for too much pressure but it can only go so far).  Hold the razor by the very bottom of the handle, or alternatively by the razor’s center-of-gravity) to force yourself to apply less pressure.

3. Shaving At Too Steep Of An Angle

Holding your razor like a rake gathering Autumn’s leaves is a mistake.  If the angle of blade’s edge edge against the skin is too steep, you’re just asking for razor burn.  Hold the razor so that the angle of the blade’s edge against the skin is about 30 degrees, give or take to

your preference.  If you use a razor with a pivot you will have less control but you can still “bias” the razor by holding the razor head flatter against the skin.  Even that may not be enough though: one mass-market four blade cartridge razor a few years ago was notorious for giving shavers razor burn because the blades in the cartridge were set to an overly-steep angle (the only real solution was to try another brand).

4. Repeating Strokes

Mindlessly shaving over the exact same area again and again?  Mindlessly shaving over the exact same area again and again?  Mindlessly shaving over the exact same area again and again?  Mistake.  It seems everyone does it and it’s a hard habit to break but breaking it will result in a better shave with less irritation.  Lather, shave with single, slightly over-lapping strokes.  Relather, shave from a different direction, with slightly over-lapping strokes….  Reduce the stubble in stages or passes using the grain of the hair as a guide.

5. Using Too Much Alcohol

If you are splashing on some aftershave and “feeling the burn” after shaving, it’s (usually) a mistake.  That aftershave is probably almost entirely alcohol and that burn is your skin telling you hey, you’re not doing me any favors here!  Start an aftershave regimen that has a lot less alcohol and a lot more moisturizers: in the long run your skin will thank you.

6. Being Too Cheap

If you’re buying the least expensive products from the discount store and you are wondering why you are not getting a good shave, you’re probably getting what you paid for…a mistake.  You don’t need to purchase the high-end, artisan-made shaving products but you do need to pay attention to what goes into the products you are using.  There are many fine, inexpensive products–some even available at your local megamart–if you do a little research and shop around.

7. Falling For The Latest Shiny! Object

Are you on a mission to improve your shave?  Trying the latest-and-greatest thing that comes along, only to be disappointed again and again?  You’ve made the mistake of constantly changing variables and the result is continued frustration.  Maybe you just need to settle on a “decent” kit and invest a little more time refining your technique.
In the end it’s probably best just to slow down, be mindful of your shave, and enjoy yourself.  🙂


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

1 thought on “7 Shaving Mistakes You Might Be Making Without Even Being Aware Of Them”

  1. When I returned to wet shaving and DE razors in particular I started with a reasonable brush, experimented with a few different razors until I found one I like. during the process I also bought a few Sample Sets of blades, this more than anything else began my process to learn to shave for maximum comfort.
    I can now shave using even the humble Treet Black, High Carbon blade with reasonable comfort. This blade is similar to the original Gillette Blue blade. It requires a steady hand with minimal pressure as opposed to the extremely light pressure of the coated Stainless Steel blades.
    It is all fun and the experimenting with different soaps and creams adds to the fun and starts a day off on a more even keel.
    Thanks for Listening

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