Shaving for the First Time: A Beginner’s Guide

There comes a time in every man’s life when he needs to add shaving to his morning ritual. Its the unmistakable sign that we are growing up.  However, despite how common it is to shave, we rarely are taught on how to do it properly.

Parents and older brothers are always good reference to start learning about technique and shaving products, but it is very likely that they won’t teach you how to shave the right way (It’s not their fault, back when they were kids I’m pretty sure there was even less information than before!)

In this article you will learn how to shave for the first time.  This is an easy-to-follow guide that will keep things simple for the shaving beginner.  Let’s start by taking a look at what you need.

What Do You Need to Shave – for Beginners

There are two main things you need to start taking away those whiskers growing all over our face: a shaving cream and a razor. Luckily you don’t need specialty products, as I’m pretty sure you don’t have the same beard as Chuck Norris!

If you can, choose the highest quality products you can find, if not it is OK to just find what fits best to your budget.  Just remember that these are products that need to last for several shaving sessions.

If you have dry skin, you might want to add a moisturizer at the end of your shaving session.  It’s an optional step but I highly recommend it to take care of your face since the beginning.

Choosing a Shaving Cream

A good shaving cream is essential to shave comfortably, it softens the facial hair and lubricate the skin for the razor to do its job.  Although it is always good idea to buy a high quality shave cream, you can start out with canned shaving cream or foam for the first time.  Look for creams that have aloe in its formula, to soothe your skin while you shave.

Some foams and creams come with scents, but don’t worry most of them won’t stick on your face for more than an hour, you can use cologne on top normally.

Tips to Use Shaving Cream

  • Don’t simply apply the cream and start shaving.  Instead, massage your face and neck with it to help putting cream under the whiskers and lift them up.  The minute you spend massaging will also allow the cream to work in softening your beard.
  • Avoid super cheap products if you can, they usually only help the razor glide and don’t have extra ingredients to help your skin recover from shaving.
  • Just a small amount of cream will serve you to build lather on your face and neck. Don’t use too much cream or you’ll clog up the razor in each pass.
  • Get to know your skin type, this will narrow down your choices and let you choose a product that will work better for you.

Choosing a Shaving Razor

For the first time you shave it is a good idea to use a quality razor, as it will have a direct impact on your end result.  A bad quality razor will pull and tug your hairs and you will be prone to ending up with nicks and cuts.

I would stay away from shaving with a double edge safety razor or a straight edge razor because they have steeper learning curve, and its better to start with them once you know a few things about how to shave and in which direction your hairs grow. Gillette and Shick are good modern razor brands.

Another option you have are electric razors. These are convenient and cool to use, but don’t provide the close shaving results of using a manual razor. When choosing one, look for an electric razor with a flexible head that accommodates to the curves on your face.

Tips to Use the Razor

A razor must be sharp, so be sure to take care of it after each shaving session by patting the blade dry with a towel. Leaving the razor with water can lead to rust and loss of edge.

Multiple blades doesn’t necessarily mean a better shave, especially if you have sensitive skin.  Technique and proper preparation will yield better results.

If you prefer to use an electric razor be sure to read the manual and find the proper way to use it.  Many men prefer using gel with electric razors but some of them that allow you to dry shave.

Replace blades regularly. When you are starting out this should be about every month. You’ll only get a good shave with a blade in good condition.

Don’t apply too much pressure to the razor unless you want to cut yourself easier.  Applying more pressure hurts your skin and won’t give you a super close shave.

Shaving for the First Time

Now comes the moment of truth.  Relax, set a side some time to start shaving without stress and follow these steps.  Before you start shaving I would recommend taking a hot shower to open up your pores and make shaving an easier experience.  Preparation is very important, so be sure to build the habit and it will stays form years to come.

Alternatively, you can apply a hot towel on your face.

STEP 1: Wet your face.  The water will help the cream spread easily over the face and provide an extra layer of lubrication. Use warm water to keep your pores from closing.

STEP 2: Apply shaving cream.  Start with a small amount of cream and see how far it goes.  You don’t need a lot of shaving cream on your face, as a matter of fact it can clog up your razor, making shaving more difficult.

STEP 3: Start shaving, always following the direction your face grows.  The first times you shave you will need to observe this, but after a week or two, you will know automatically which way to shave.

Some people recommend shaving against the grain to get a close shave, but this can actually hurt your face by passing excessively the razor over and over again. If you have black skin or coarse facial hair, shaving against the grain can lead to ingrown hair, a painful issue that happens when the hair grows curling back into the skin.

STEP 4: Continue shaving taking special care in the area above the lips and the neck, because hair grows in many directions.  Shave, rinse your razor, and continue.  Don’t rush, as rushing is one of the most common causes of accidents while shaving.

STEP 5: Once you’ve finished shaving, take away the excess cream with cool water.  the cool water will close your pores after you finish shaving, and will help toning your skin,

When Should You Start Shaving?

Most men start shaving in their teens, but it depends on how much beard you have, in other words, it depends on your genes.

I personally started shaving when I was 15 and started noticing an incipient mustache and chin beard, but I have friends that are still unable to grow a full beard.  They didn’t start shaving until their 20s.  Everyone is different, and generalizations are to be taken with a grain of salt.

It is a good idea to ask your father or older brothers if it’s a good time to get started with shaving.

How Often Should I Shave?

This varies form person to person, some men grow beard very rapidly while other can go hair-free for days.  Observe your body and it will tell you the answer.  Please don’t shave every day – even if hair hasn’t grown back yet – hoping that hair will grow faster this way. It won’t, but many teens do this, following an advice that has been proven wrong a long time ago.

Shaving too often can be detrimental to your skin’s health, making it prone to developing folliculitis a irritation.  As you grow older and more hair starts to come out, you’ll need to shave more frequently.