Skip to content

4 Kinds of Music To Shave By…And 1 Not To!

Listen to this article
Music To Shave By

It is generally advised that new traditional shavers learn their technique in a quiet environment so they can get the audio feedback of the razor to gauge how its cutting. And it is a very useful suggestion (plus some people can really get into the full sensory feedback as part of the enjoyment that can be found in shaving).  But after that initial learning curve, music playing (softly) in the background can enhance the shave in a different way.  Use music to set a mood: relax or energize, suggest an environment, or transport you to a different time.

But music selection for a shave should not be random–put some thought into:

  • The goal(s);
  • The tempo or pace of the music;
  • The total time of the playlist.

The goal is the mood you want to be put into.  Want to feel like you’re in a classic barber shop?  Remind yourself of your younger days?  Create a calm, meditative environment to prepare you for the day (or relax for bed)?  Motivate you for getting to work?

The tempo of the music is probably the trickiest aspect of music selection.  Too fast and it could unconsciously rush you through your shave.  Tempo that changes within the song can throw off your shaving pace.  For example I love “Massive Transit” by Cindy Bradley but I can’t shave by it.  Tempo changes between songs is not quite as important but any good radio DJ will tell you that tempo transitions between songs done well feels seamless, while transitions not done well can ruin the desired effect.

The total time of the playlist is probably the easiest to deal with: it should simply be a little shorter than the time you spend for a typical shave.

Of course, no matter what music you select it should be something you enjoy listening to!  Let me suggestion some music genres to consider, with some samples (music for illustrative purposes only and fall under Fair Use).

1) American Classics

This genre has also been referred to as “Rat Pack,” Swing, or Vocal Standards.  Artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Harry Connick Jr., Mel Torme’, or Tony Bennett are often associated with this genre, and this is the music most often thought of when trying to recreate the feel of an old time barbershop.
American Classics Samples

2) Smooth Jazz

This is usually considered as non-vocal, “mainstream” jazz music, also usually associated with the decades of the 50’s and 60’s, although the genre remains vigorous today.  This is another genre often associated with the bygone days of the corner barbershop.
Smooth Jazz Samples

3) “New Age”

Some consider this almost a sub-genre of smooth jazz but it is more “up-to-date,” with instruments and techniques considered non-traditional for jazz.  “New Age” music probably had its hey-day in the 1980’s but is still popular today.
New Age Samples

4) The Music of Your Generation

This is simply a selection of the music you grew up with.

One Genre You Do Not Want To Shave To

Comedy.  Trust me, the last thing you want to be doing while you shave is laugh!
Comedy Sample

Do you shave to music?  What kind of sound do you enjoy?


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

30 thoughts on “4 Kinds of Music To Shave By…And 1 Not To!”

  1. I know this is an older post, but I will comment anyway. I don’t know if anyone else mentioned this, but I recently found the “Music to Shave by” record made by Remington to promote their Roll-a-Matic shaver. The modified jazz (with advertisement inserted) is pretty cheesy, but I made a Rdio playlist with a similar feel and musician list that I listen to when I shave.
    The “Music to Shave by” is on YouTube:
    My playlist is at:

  2. Nighthawks at the Diner by Tom Waits. Absolutely perfect for a Sunday morning shave. You’ll never find a better fit.

  3. Great post as usual Sir! I must tell you though – I shave listening to death metal. Not kidding at all.

  4. Music from my generation? I think it’d be a little tough to shave to Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, or Pantera. Personally, I prefer classic rock or classic country to shave to. I generally have a radio outside the bathroom I listen to while I shower, and since the shower is part of my routine, it gets left on. It goes shower, shave, brush teeth, gargle, rinse. So generally, it’s usually Ted Nugent, Molly Hatchet, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Robin Trower, The Beatles(My favorite band, and I’m only 27), or Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Etc. Usually whatever station I put it on. But I did discover that if you shave while listening to Pink Floyd, it’ll really clear your mind.

  5. Love the site. Contrary to the list, there are some Beastie Boys songs that could be perfect for shaving to. Not all of their music is stereotypical rap, they have some great jazz and blues influenced instrumentals and slow jams with smooth rhythm and flows.

  6. Okay, I’ve been wetshaving for over a year now, and I’ve been thinking about listening to music. But what are some good radios/CD players/mp3 players that will last in a bathroom environment, where there is often high humidity? Anyone have some good ideas? Mark, can you maybe make another post about what kind of players people have in their shave dens? Thanks!

    1. Hmmm, I will have to investigate that. For myself I have been using a CD player that’s in an adjoining room.

  7. I used to listen to a wide variety of music, but lately I have been obsessed with gypsy jazz. Generally Bireli Langrene, Django Reinhart, or a variety of tenor banjo players. Its a little quick, but it helps put me in a good mood right before bed.

  8. Ozzy era Black Sabbath is the best when applying cold steel to your jugular. A very close second is Hank Williams Sr.

  9. i like listening to the Howard Stern show when im shaving but, what ever puts you in a good mood!

    1. I’m surprised you don’t get cut, either from laughing or from yelling back at the radio. 🙂

  10. I usually listen to local news radio or SportsTalk radio. I’ve got to try some tunes though to do it right…

  11. I listen to the Dead Flag Blues by Godspeed You! Black Emperor. There’s something about slow, gravely depressing post-rock that fits with putting a straight razor to your throat.

  12. I love big band and swing music. Generally, I don’t listen to music while shaving, even though its a fantastic idea, because I shave in the evenings, before bed, and the wife retires earlier than I do. I like some jazz too, similar to the flavor of the Ocean’s Eleven (2001) movie soundtracks or the simple background music I use in my videos. Off topic, I love caper movies, anyone else?

      1. O rly? $3,000 bet says I can shave to any Wu-Tang or KRS-One or even some classic tracks from Nas or Talib Kweli .

    1. Not necessarily “caper” movies but my wife loves watching jailbreak movies like “The Great Escape.” Two of my favorite movies are the original “The Italian Job” with Michael Caine and the original “Oceans Eleven” (though the remakes are pretty good too).

  13. Prewar Ellington or other swing. Django, early Satch, or other hot jazz. Hank Williams and Johnny Cash are good. Carter Family or other mountain music.

Comments are closed.