After a few years of shaving, most men realize that there must be a better way to do things. As good as a basic shave is, there are much better and faster ways to get a smooth and clean finish. If you have been wondering the different ways to shave, I have researched and put together 7 of the best advanced techniques for men.
It’s essential to understand the grain of your beard before you try these techniques. If you haven’t got a handle on that, these methods are not for you.
Performing the wrong approach can end up damaging your skin. Many guys think they have sensitive skin when in reality, they have lousy shaving techniques and need to take the time to perfect their basic shaving skills.
This article is full of advanced shaving tips for men. These shaving methods and techniques are for men seasoned in the art of shaving who have already mastered a basic shave and are comfortable around a blade. Some of these techniques are used by barbers to make sure their clients’ faces get the best treatment and the cleanest shave possible.
Also Read: All About Skin Type and Shaving
What Are The Different Ways To Shave?
Here is a list of the 7 best advanced shaving techniques for men.
1. Long circular strokes
The first advanced shaving technique can only be performed with a straight (cut-throat) razor due to the razor’s structure.
The standard way to use a straight razor is to shave with the grain. That usually means moving the blade from top to bottom in small continuous strokes.
With the circular technique, your first few strokes will be standard short strokes. Once you’re a few strokes in, you move the blade in a semi-circular motion that comes naturally to your wrist.
Try this movement to better understand what I mean by semi-circular motion. Hold your forearm perpendicular to the floor and only move your palm at the wrist from left to right like a windshield wiper. You can see that natural semi-circle movement off the wrist is the direction your razor should be moving.
The benefit to this movement is that the broad sweep of your wrist covers a much larger area than short strokes, allowing you to shorten your shave time significantly.
2. Progressive beard shave (shaving against the grain)
If you are a beginner at shaving, it is highly advised that you always shave with the grain, i.e., shave in the direction of your hair growth and not against it.
The best advanced shaving techniques for men to go against the grain is a more advanced method and is best performed with a safety razor. I have another article covering safety razors if you don’t know what they are.
The progressive beard shave is the only way you should be attempting to shave against the grain. As the name suggests, this method happens in progressions.
First, you lather your face and neck with shaving cream and shave with the grain. Once that’s done, rinse your face.
Second, you lather your face again and shave across the grain. The way to do this is instead of moving the blade top to bottom, you hold the razor parallel to your nose and move the blade from your ears towards the direction of your nose. Do not attempt to shave across the grain on your neck as the skin is too uneven. You can shave against the grain instead, but only in the neck region.
Once you have shaved across the grain, the third step is to lather your cheeks with shaving cream one last time. Slightly stretch your skin with your non-dominant hand. Hold the head of the safety razor flat against your skin and tilt it up at a slight angle where the razor’s blade catches the remaining whiskers on your face.
Getting this angle right is crucial to shave against the grain without damaging your skin successfully. Do not tilt the razor up at an aggressive angle where you end up cutting your face. The angle should be slight enough to where it is only slicing your hair.
This best advanced shaving techniques for men is also referred to as the pivot stroke. Just as the name suggests, to perform a j-hook shave, you have to move it the same way you would move a pencil when writing the letter J.
Slide the razor down for the straight part of the letter j, then, as you near the end of that stroke, twist the blade in an upward semi-circle motion to match the curved end of J. Depending on which side you are shaving and what your dominant shaving hand is, you can move the razor in an inverted J motion or an upside-down J motion to address areas like the neck.
This is a great technique to address parts of the beard where the grain of your hair changes direction. As I mentioned above, you must have an in-depth understanding of the hair growth on your neck and face.
4. Skin Stretching
This technique is highly effective and even essential when shaving with a straight (cut-throat) razor that barbers use when shaving their clients. Using a straight razor takes a bit of practice and confidence.
To make it easier, you take two fingers from your non-dominant hand and place them above the area of the skin that you intend to shave. Gently pull the skin away from the direction of the blade stroke to provide an even layer to shave off your hair.
5. Blade buffing
This is a highly effective shaving technique that results in a smooth shave. It requires excellent precision and control of your shaving hand and razor. Blade buffing also referred to as the scrubbing stroke, is when you use very quick and very short strokes in quick succession to shave off your facial hair, almost like you are scrubbing your hair off.
A few things to avoid are buffing the same area for too long. The more you keep stroking directly onto your skin without any shaving cream, the more irritated your skin gets. Therefore, it is essential to invest in a good shaving foam that protects your skin during this technique. It requires the right amount of pressure, so a lot of practice is needed to perform this technique properly.
Avoid using this method to address areas such as under your ears and your neck, as the grain of your hair isn’t one-directional in these locations. This method is most effective and safe when used in areas where the hair grows uniformly.
6. Gillette Slide
Another advanced shaving technique for men with hair growth in different directions became popular due to Gillette ads during the mid to late 1900s.
The way to execute this technique is to hold the razor so that the blade is parallel to the floor. Place the razor against your skin and move it diagonally from your ear to your mouth when shaving. The slanted motion helps make it easier to cut the hair as the blade ends up slicing the hair instead of chopping it.
This method can be highly risky for the unseasoned shaver because the angle at which you move the razor is vital. The razor must be held parallel to the floor, but the stroke should not move parallel to the floor. This important distinction will help prevent you from slicing your cheek open.
It is an excellent technique for addressing thick and coarse hair, but it is also the most dangerous.
7. Short, Short, Long
For the final best advanced shaving techniques for men, this is a method that can be performed with any razor you have but is best performed with a straight razor.
The words’ short, short, long’ refers to your stroke length. Make sure to keep shaving with the grain, which is in the same direction as your hair growth.
The first stroke can start anywhere on your face as long as it is quick and short. The second stroke begins slightly before the point where the first stroke ends. This stroke will also be quick and sharp like the first stroke. The final stroke is the long stroke.
This stroke will originate from where the first stroke started and will continue for approximately 3 times the length of the first two strokes combined. Then, you rinse your blade and repeat.
Which Is The Best Advanced Shaving Techniques For Men?
Finding the best advanced shaving method, the best advanced shaving techniques for men for you will take some practice, but the first step is to see what style of razor you are comfortable with.
If you are comfortable with a straight razor, ‘Short, Short, Long’ and ‘Long circular stroke’ are the advanced shaving techniques best suited for you.
If safety razors are more your style, then ‘J-hooking,’ ‘Gillette Slide,’ ‘Blade Buffing,’ and ‘Progressive beard shave’ are the advanced shaving techniques you should go with.
‘Skin Stretching’ is a universal technique that can be used with any blade.