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How To Shave Someone Else?

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Taking Care

This morning my wife (an Occupational Therapist by trade) suggested an idea for a shaving video that I thought was really good: how to shave someone else.  Specifically, how to shave a family member who might be too old or disabled to shave themselves.  Sharpologist has had a similar post about this but it was more about the family connection.  This would be a video more about the “mechanics” of such a shave.

So for the barbers or care-givers reading, what special ideas or procedures should be kept in mind for shaving someone else at home?  I’m guessing that you don’t want to go for that “baby’s butt smooth” shave but a good, comfortable shave with “consumer” kit.  What about wrinkled skin?  How to work with someone who experiences tremors? Go with a shaving brush or use a brushless product?  Your comments and suggestions here would be very welcome!


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 “How To Shave Someone Else?”

  1. This has actually come up for me recently. I have a lot of friends who are older, and when they found out I use a straight, waxed nostalgic about getting shaved at the barber.
    My plan is to practice on my younger friends with thicker skin, and then move on to the older guys.
    One way I’ve heard to test your readiness is to shave a balloon. If it pops, you fail 🙂

  2. Hi!
    Okay so lots of questions huh? Well the start is to map the grain, just like you would your own. Actually… scratch that… the start would be to ask them if they are on any blood thinning medication… lots of elderly people are on something like warfarin and it’s best to know and then decide if you should use a blade at all. Safety first even if it means going electric!
    If you decide to proceed, after mapping, a good prep helps, massaging in preshave oil etc., holding a hot towel to the beard area (but don’t cover the face unless they request it as the elderly and those with different needs may not like this or feel comfortable.)
    During the shave use gentle but firm pressure to stretch out wrinkled skin as much is possible and shave it bit by bit. You can lightly pinch and pull the skin up/down etc. or use the side of your hand to stretch it out. Ask if it is comfortable for them.
    I often have clients fall asleep while I shave them and there is always a fear they will wake up with a jump. The key to dealing with spontaneous shakes/jumps/trembles is to always have both hands on the face and to really be “listening” with your non-shaving hand. Also note breath etc. as you can often see a micro-movement before the larger shake. Observe the person and ask them to tell you if they feel one about to happen (like how a client tells me if they need to sneeze or yawn etc.). Develop an instinct to instantly move your blade away from the skin if you are startled. I’ve had more than one client look relieved when, whilst in the chair there is suddenly a loud noise outside and, not only do we both jump, but my two hands instantly move away from their head.
    In terms of shaving brush vs. brushless… I would always use a shaving brush where possible however if the person is uncomfortable sitting still for a long period of time then a brushless cream can be quicker.
    Talk to the person, see what they would like, ask how they feel and what their limitations are, ask how they found shaving themselves and any trouble spots they had, and work it all out together.
    I hope that all helps!
    – BarberEile

  3. I have wondered about this as well. I’m fresh out of school and actually considering going into OT, it’s nice seeing that get a nod. I think shaving someone else would be a huge test of shaving knowledge and skill, and if I were ever to shave someone else, I’d hope I could practice on a friend who wouldn’t mind a nick or two.

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