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Is shaving against the grain OK?

I recently got an email from a friend and loyal blog-follower. In following my weekly shaving tips, he noticed that I have been neglecting men who have fine, thin beards. He wrote to me that, despite his best attempts to avoid irritation, he just can’t shave with the grain because the hairs just don’t get cut.

Some people have ultra-straight hair on their head and on their beards. Some people, despite their best attempts, just can’t grow a full beard (or at least something that most of us would consider to be a real one!).

So, here are suggestions for my fine-bearded buddies, for whom I am going to break all my rules.

  1. It is OK to shave against the grain … if you’re careful. Very straight hair is less likely than curly hair to grow out of the hair follicle in a way that causes ingrown hair, or shaving bumps. When you shave against the grain, you cut the hair very close to the skin, which may be OK when shaving fine, straight hair.
  2. While you may be dismayed by your sparse facial hair, there’s good news: You probably won’t need to shave as frequently as your werewolf friends. For some, this may mean once a week -- for others, every few days. It all depends on you.
  3. Follow the same shaving process regardless of how much or how little hair you have. You should wash, apply shaving cream, take light, short strokes, and then moisturize.

Again, my apologies go out to my fair-haired friends. For every rule there is an exception, and that’s you!


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