Shaving With Or Against The Grain? How To Get A Closer Shave?

Getting a closer shave seems to be a much talked about subject. But is it easier to get a closer shave by shaving with or against the grain?

The answer - against the grain will give you the closer shave, but can also cause the most damage to the skin. Shaving against the grain is often the cause of your razor burn or bumps. But there are ways to minimise the risks of this, while also giving you a closer shave.


1. Start by shaving with the grain

If you don't know what with or against the grain is. With is the way that the hair grows, so from root to tip, and against is the opposite direction. Spend a couple of minutes looking in the mirror and figuring out which way your hair grows. It will normally grow in different directions in different areas, most commonly growing downwards in the cheek area and upwards in the neck area. 

When trying to get a closer shave a best tip would be to shave with the grain first. Shaving with the grain will cause less damage to the skin as it is going with the way the hair grows and not tugging or causing friction on the skin.

If you're happy after this and not bothered about a closer shave than this then we'd suggest that you stick with this and don't go against to avoid the risk of damage.


2. Go against afterwards

However if you have shaved with the grain to ensure that you cause less damage, but you still have some stubble left and the shave doesn't feel close enough then follow this up by going against the grain.

By going with then against, rather than straight to against the grain it will allow you to see and feel areas that are potentially more sensitive. This allows you to either not go over these areas again or to be more gentle in these areas.

Against the grain will give you a closer shave, but always make sure you are mindful of damage to your skin and be extra careful when doing this!

Top tip - in sensitive areas like the neck area, just go with the grain or be very gentle when going against if you must go closer. Do a small area at a time, if you start to feel razor burn, then just stop!


3. Use the correct tools

The most important element of a shave are the tools you use whether going with or against the grain, but this becomes even more important when going against. With an increased risk of damage to the skin, you need to ensure that you are using the correct tools.

We know that sometimes that means extra time added to your shave, or more money to be spent, but it is just so important to ensure you don't cause damage to your skin!

That means a pre shave or exfoliator before to prepare the skin, a shaving cream to lift the hairs for the shave, a SHARP razor (perhaps one of the biggest mistakes we make, never use a blunt razor), and a moisturiser or aftershave balm after your shave to protect the skin after shaving!

If you've already shaved with the grain, then re-apply your shaving cream again and ensure that your razor is still sharp before going against the grain!

Top tip - always ensure that these products are suited to your skin, for example have sensitive skin then use shaving products designed for that!


Following these steps should help you to get a closer shave, and also eliminate your risk of razor burn. However, for less risk we'd always suggest staying with the grain. But we do know that some of you gents, just aren't happy with the closeness of this shave!