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Shave Before or After Shower? We Investigate Which Is Better
Which is best: shaving before or after you shower? Learn the pros and cons of each method and find out which one comes out on top.
When it comes to shaving, everyone has their own order of doing things. Some guys shave before they shower, while others say shaving after a shower is the only way to achieve a great shave. Which side is right?
Before we investigate the matter, here are three things guys need to know about shaving before or after they shower:
- Guys with sensitive skin should consider shaving after they shower to minimize razor burn.
- Shaving before you shower can save time and may work best for beard trimming.
- The best way to shave is whichever order works best for you and your skin.
If you struggle with razor bumps and ingrown hairs, there is no contest between wet shaving and dry shaving. A dry shave is just asking for a painful razor burn, especially when it comes to the neck area.
According to a 2012 review article published in the British Journal of Dermatology, the majority of guys who were asked about their shaving habits said that their neck area was where they experienced the most irritation (see claim: “The majority of men report the neck as the area where they are most likely to experience soreness and irritation.”)
Shaving before you shower increases the likelihood of shaving irritation and razor burns because your skin and hair follicles are dry and coarse. This increases the hair follicle’s resistance to the razor blade, which can result in painful red bumps on the face for those who have sensitive skin.
Pre-shave oil, shave cream and moisturizer are all essential grooming products for a painless shave. Showering before or after you shave can make a big difference in how your skin reacts to these products.
Taking a shower before you shave will soften your skin and the hair follicles, loosening up the skin so that it can better soak up hydrating ingredients. Exfoliating in the shower is also more effective and will help clear away dead skin cells that can reduce the overall effect of your moisturizing products.
Just be careful to avoid ruining the pre-shave benefits of showering by taking a scorching hot shower. Warmer water temperatures can be drying to the skin, which is one of the many reasons why following up with a moisturizer after you shower and shave is essential to achieving healthy, hydrated skin.
When it comes to taking care of your beard and the skin underneath, dry shaving may have a slight edge. Trimming your beard with an electric shaver is best done before a shower because the bristly hairs are standing up, making them easier to trim.
Additionally, trimming your beard can leave behind itchy hairs that get into your shirt collar. The simplest solution is to trim your beard first and hop in the shower to rinse off the hair from your shoulders and neck.
When you’re crunched for time, a dry shave is arguably the quickest way to get out the door in a hurry. The main problem with this method is that you’re skipping some of the most important steps in the shaving process, including exfoliating in the shower and applying pre-shave oil prior to your shave.
Skipping these steps can make an enormous difference in your shave results. A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science suggests that guys who often suffer from razor bumps (known medically as pseudofolliculitis barbae) can benefit immensely from pre-shave and post-shave hydration (see claim: “…evidence that a daily shaving regimen, which includes pre-shave hydration and post-shave moisturization, may be beneficial.”)
Taking a shower after your shave makes it easy to wash off shaving cream left on your face. If you accidentally nicked yourself shaving, your shower will also help clean out any lingering debris to help prevent infection.
In fact, a 2006 review published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that healing rates and infection were no different when using tap water or normal sterile saline to clean minor cuts (see claim: “No differences were noted in the rates of infection and healing between the use of tap water and normal sterile saline in the cleansing of acute and chronic wounds.”)
That being said, shaving after you shower is arguably the less messy of the two options. It’s much easier to wash your face and use your exfoliating face scrub in the shower than it is at your sink. Less clean-up at your sink means that you’re more likely to put in the prep work before you shave, which is key to achieving a close shave and avoiding the dreaded beard acne.
Shaving in the Shower—The Best of Both Worlds
Shaving in the shower can save you a lot of time, especially if you are just trimming a beard or cleaning up a five o’clock shadow. Consider getting a shower mirror that you can hang safely around the shower head or adhere to the shower wall with suction cups. A shower-friendly mirror will help you see what you’re doing so you don’t miss any crucial spots while you wash, exfoliate, shave and tidy up your facial hair.
So, Which Method Is Better?
As you can see, there are pros and cons to each method. At the end of the day, it’s not a big deal whether you shave before, during or after you shower. As long as your grooming routine works for you, that’s all that matters.