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In Defense Of The Evening Shave

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night shave
I like wet shaving. I wouldn’t be Mantic’s partner in Sharpologist if I didn’t.  But I also like sleep, and I don’t get enough of it. I time my morning alarm to the minute, so I can cram in every last second of sleep before arriving at work the moment I need to.  Not surprisingly, this messes with the relaxation of a morning shave.
Sure, I could get up earlier so I could enjoy the ritual, but the reality is that even three years into this journey, I still fight razor burn on my neck, and if I rush, it’s a five-alarm fire. I could go back to a cartridge razor and canned goo … oh, who am I kidding? That’ll never happen.

Instead, on many days, I shave at night. There are a few reasons it’s a good idea for me:
First of all, as a parent of a young child, evenings (after she goes to bed) are far less hectic than mornings. It’s one of the only times of the day I get to myself, and I can take as long as I need to get it right. I can experiment with different soaps and creams and aftershaves, because they’ll be off my face before I go to work the next morning. I can also perfect my craft, because even if I cut my face to shreds trying an advanced technique, I’ll be healed by 8 a.m.
Of course, one might think that you’ll grow stubble while you sleep. I’m sure this is true to a certain extent, but I’m under the impression that hair grows more slowly when you’re sleeping and/or relaxed. I believe this to be true. Maybe because I’m more likely to get that “BBS” shave at night, I actually wake up mostly stubble-free. I certainly look fine all day at work. If you have a super hairy face, your mileage may vary.
Finally, when I’m relaxed and shaving at the end of the day, I do a better job. My face isn’t raw when I head out the door. I sleep better after the shaving routine. Obviously, any razor burn I encounter is tamped down by the next morning.
Is evening shaving for everyone? Probably not, and for certain occasions, it’s not right for me, either. But many nights it is. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Andy Tarnoff

Andy Tarnoff

24 thoughts on “In Defense Of The Evening Shave”

  1. I’ve found that night shaving works for me too. There are less people fighting to use the bathroom at night and any facial irritation or nicks will be less noticeable by the following day. I shave against the grain for a close shave, so even though I do have noticeable stubble twelve hours later, it’s nothing major. In my opinion, there’s only one benefit to shaving before work, and that’s that your shave is closer when you walk in. Otherwise, you have to get up earlier (and potentially shave half awake; yikes, no thank you), you have to make sure you don’t take too long (gotta get out the door and head to work) and if you’re rushing to head out the door, you may miss some spots of stubble (does this happen to anyone else, or just me?). It’s not an issue for me at night, because I have plenty of time to notice spots of missed stubble.

    1. Plus, a lot of people skip the against the grain pass all together when shaving in the morning to lessen the possibility of irritation, which makes for a less smooth shave regardless. I know for me personally, if I don’t shave against the grain, it doesn’t really look like I’ve shaved at all. I have that coarse dark beard hair with fair skin, so I feel obligated to go against the grain.

  2. I shave at night about 90% of the time as well. During the work week it’s 100% at night. I have more time to enjoy the ritual, and since I’m not rushed in the morning, I can sit and have a cup of coffee and read before I leave for the office. This usually gets my day off to a better start!

  3. WOW! I never thought there were so many people who shaved at night, i thought i was the only one. I also thought people shave in the morning so everyone can see they have a nice, fresh, clean, BBS shaved face without even a spec of shadow or stubble, lol

  4. I shave in the morning because a straight razor gets my gears rolling. Also, shaving refreshes me – kinda like morning coffee and keeps me alert.

  5. That’s actually a good idea. I’ve shaved in the evenings but mostly if I need to go to some occasion or event. I never thought of shaving at night to save time in the morning, which I’ll probably try considering I’m always in the a hurry to get to work in the a.m.

  6. I shave at night. I am a teacher. Also have boys ages 5 and 1. 1year old wakes at 5 AM. He is wide open. No time to shave in morning. Lol

  7. I might try shaving at night. I work evenings part-time and the hours vary and there are days that I do not shave and I get that ‘I slept on the park bench look.’ I like to sleep and when I get home from work I do not go right to bed so this might be the answer to relax and unwind when I get home from work.

  8. Lol ive never realized until now that shaving was an enjoyable/ritualistic activity for so many people. I dont think ive ever genuinly enjoyed it. What am i doing wrong?

  9. I’m an eveing shaver as well. I usually start my shave after I’ve put the kids in bed. Then I can take as much time as I want instead of rushing it in the morning.
    Only exception are the weekends, then I do shave in the morning because there is time.

  10. I also shave at night , with the same reason as most of guys in here.
    At the morning there is always a queue to bathromm , rush and those extra 10min. in bed are price less for me 🙂

  11. Since having kids, I shave almost exclusively at night. Fortunately, my beard doesn’t grow all that fast, so nobody can tell the difference.

    1. I´m a night shaver for the same reason.
      Small kids at the age of 2 and 4 are to loud and need to much attention to let you have a shave one can enjoy. The only problem is my wifes nose. She hates, when I´m smelling intensley, especially of that “old geezer”-stink. So that is no option to come to bed with any aftershave on. I also have better shaves when I don´t shower before, because my skin would be “over-softened” and easier cut. So I shower afterwards and get most of that smell away before I got to bed. Then in the morning, I put on my aftershave or cologne I like, before I leave the house. That is a reasonable compromise for me and my wife.

  12. Do you take a shower at night before the shave as well? I would love to shave the night before, but I am afraid that I would have a 5 oclock shadow way before 5. I may have to try it on the weekend.

    1. No, I don’t take a shower at night. I just wash my face before shaving, and shower in the morning.

  13. LOL! With my facial hair type if I shaved at night I’d have a bad 5 o’clock shadow at 5am rather than 5pm! I’m jealous of you guys who can get away with it. I’ve tried…I can’t……

  14. I also shave at night but I still get up early and arrive at work about an hour earlier than needed.
    There’s lots of binefits to this. Such as minimal traffic. Less stress. I’m not racing the clock, puttin my life or other’s in danger by trying to make it up on the road.
    Being in a rush seems to be the norm of society these days. I choose not to be apart of that craziness.
    I challenge everybody else to be weird like me. I promise, you’ll love it.

  15. I’m also in the morning boat, I’ve always been a 3 o’clock shadow person (a recent change in the routine has given me an extra hour or two before the shadow starts, going from 3 pass (WTG, XTG, ATG) to 2 pass (WTG, ATG) with targeted finishing (blade buffing under the chin (if I skip a weekend shave, the next day I might need to j-hook too in that zone), and roll-overs for the jaw line)), so the odd time I try evening shaves (sometimes on weekends if I have an evening social event), I find that by mid-morning, the whiskers are starting to creep out… (also, I shower mornings since I can be a heavy sweater, and nothing beats the shower for shave prep)
    I typically am out the door early, but never find the shave routine too rushed, because I prioritize waking up to allow myself time, and it serves almost as a morning meditation, which leaves me more energized and confident to start my day. I used to have some of the annoying hot face issues mentioned in the article in the mornings, but since adding the alum block phase to my post shave, I find that I have yet to mangle myself enough that I leave the house with hot face.
    I respect the right to the evening shave, I just choose not to exercise it much, since my whiskers are morning people, and I sweat too much overnight to do the evening shower…

  16. I don’t want the 5pm shadow so night shaving defeats the reason I returned to the DE razor. I’m always up early so that’s not going to work for me…but I will defend your right to shave at night to to the end! Enjoy.

  17. I am also an evening shaver, 100%, for several years. It’s a pleasant way to unwind and relax after showering, about an hour before bed, and any knicks or irritation are gone before morning (tho I rarely have any). Everyone’s experience will be different, but my shaving proficiency + razor + blade combination = results last almost 48 hrs; I’ll be BBS for 24 and then progress to a 5 o’clock shadow for the next 24, until I’m ready to shave again. My schedule is usually Mon, Wed, Fri/Sat evening (three 3 Pass shaves a week).

  18. I am a night shaver as well for the same primary reason. I find shaving (at my own pace) to be very therapeutic and a great de-stresser especially after a long day of work.
    Also, you cannot ignore the “side effects” of using the aftershave splash preferred by the Lady of the House.

  19. Great piece Andy. I too shave at night on occasion, so my ‘beard cycle’ in is ‘better tune’ to what I intend to do the next day or evening. I try to adhere to an every-two-days shave routine.
    Would I go back to the canned foam, double-triple blade format of old? Not likely, I (and my face) enjoy the ritual too much.
    Thanks Sharpologist!

  20. I shave at night 95% of the time for the very same reasons as you do. On the odd occasion when I do want to look my absolute best for work purposes, I shave in the morning and invariably end up not enjoying it as much and having the feeling that I have not done as good a job with it. I too look fine the whole next day when I shave in the evening and my face feels like a million dollars in the morning: silky smooth and with any evidence of razor burn long gone.

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