How to Get an Irritation-Free Shave in 3 Simple Steps

Written by Mark Blair

How to Get an Irritation-Free Shave in 3 Simple Steps

1. Shave with your beard map

In the shaving community, there are three terms that are used often in conjunction with an excellent shave: shaving with the grainshaving against the grain and shaving across the grain. 

Shaving with the grain is moving the razor in the same direction as the natural growth of your beard. The advantage of shaving with the grain is the minimal chance of razor burn or skin irritation. Sometimes shaving with the grain doesn't give you those extremely close and refreshing shaves you envision. When shaving against the grain, you must use caution and not over do it. Shaving against the grain pulls the hair up and away from the skin, which runs an increased chance of razor burn being left in its path.

We recommend shaving across the grain -- this is the practice shaving perpendicular to your beard growth. This means taking horizontal strokes instead of vertical, for most. This shaving method will get you a closer shave than going with the grain, but won't be as harsh on your skin as shaving against the grain.

2. Ditch the multi-blade razor

Multi-blade razors cause razor burn and ingrown hair because they shave using a process called hysteresis.

Here’s how hysteresis works when you use a multi-blade razor. It doesn’t matter if your razor has 2, 3, 4, or 5 blades. Any multi-blade razor is shaving your hair in a way that damages your skin, causes irritation, and ingrown hairs. Shaving “insiders” call it the tug-and-cut method.

The first blade pulls up on the hair and cuts it. Before your hair has a chance to fall back down to the surface of your skin, the second blade catches it, pulls it up a little more and cuts it even closer. The third, fourth and fifth blade repeat the process until all the blades have passed under the single blade of hair.

The result is more friction with skin and hair cut so short that it can falls beneath the surface of your skin after the last blade makes it's final cut. 

It looks like this:

Hysteresis - tug and cut method in. shaving 

It’s not that they cut so deep, otherwise you would bleed every time you used one. It’s that they pull and cut and pull and cut until the hair is too short.

This is why your skin can feel so smooth after using a multi-blade. That is - unless your cheeks and neck aren’t covered in razor burn or ingrown hairs.

3. Use an Easy-to-Use Safety Razor

The key isn’t adding more blades to your razor. You actually need to subtract blades until you have one extra sharp blade placed at the right angle.

Expert shavers, barbers and your grandpa knew that one blade was more than enough to get a smooth, healthy shave every time. A single blade razor only cuts hair at the surface your skin, allowing the hair to grow back the way it’s supposed to.

It even works if you shave over the same spot multiple times, because there isn’t another blade to catch the hair and cutting it so short that it falls beneath the surface. You are always cutting hair with precision at the surface your skin.

That's exactly what our Single Edge SE and Pro give you. Here's the SE in action: 

If you're looking to upgrade your shave to a single-blade razor we recommend either the Supply SE or Supply Pro. Both razors bring back the vintage single-blade design, but add in modern razor convenience.

Take our short quiz to find the perfect razor for your face.