Help! I don't think I know how to shave!

So I was reading the thread on the kissability of various levels of unshavenness, and I am beginning to think that I just don’t know how to shave.

See, normally I don’t shave at all and have a full beard (which I generally keep pretty short these days), or if I do I fake shave.

That is, normally I just use a set of electric trimmers to take off my beard. This leaves me with a very sexy (if I do say so myself) 4 day growth. The best part is, that my little stubblies are long enough that they’re soft and no problems. But my little sister is getting married this weekend, and so I have to shave, like, all the way. (ohmigod!) So in preparation for this momentous day, I have begun shaving on, basically, a daily basis. I fear that I may be doing something wrong.

Why do I fear this, my fellow dopers? Why because I have been reading the internet.

I keep seeing things that say that ladies like to kiss clean shaven gents, and I just cannot believe this could be true. I shaved this morning, and while I “looked” clean shaven, it is inconcievable to me that anyone would want to be in contact with my sandpaper cheeks rather than the delightful fuzz I previously sported. So here are my issues, in convenient list format:

  1. When I am in the process of shaving, the razor gets all gummed up with little hairs. This doesn’t just happen when I’m shaving long hairs. For instance, I shaved yesterday morning and this morning, despite doing my best to sort of shake the razor out, I ended up with the silly thing full of hair that I couldn’t dislodge when only about halfway through the process.

  2. When I was shaving every morning for work back when I was in college, I found that I only got about 1 shave out of a razor blade, sometimes less. This clashes dramatically with the Shick people’s claim that a blade should last for 5 to 7 shaves. 5? Yikes! After 2 the thing looks like something you’d threaten people with on Halloween.

  3. As mentioned above, I never get the nice smooth surface thing. It’s sandpaper from the start.

  4. Um… oh, the sandpapery bits are especially bad right under my chin, where it only takes a few hours for things to go from slightly icky to sweetmercifulcrap! Suggestions?

  5. It’s not like I lack knowledge of how to operate a razor. I sprained my wrist and was taping it during the recovery process, and I was able to attain a baby’s butt shave on both of my arms.

Ok, I think that’s it. Any and all help would be appreciated.


I have the ‘clogging’ problem too, even when I’m shaving every day. I’m fairly confident it’s due to the thickness of the hair (which is certainly the case with me). I resort to a crude simple method - have a pin handy, and after every few strokes with the razor, run it along between the blades under running water. Briefer strokes and more frequent rinsing seem to lessen the problem, but don’t seem to remove it.

The only other option is to get up half an hour earlier, and do it with an old-fashioned razor - the ones with removable blades. Can’t beat the shave, you just have to spend ages with it.

You may not be using the right razor. I don’t have that much of a beard (it takes me about two days to get a five o’clock shadow), but I would still have a lot of the same issues you mention.

Since I switched to the Gillette Mach 3, I haven’t had any problems at all. Very close shave, and pretty easy on my face – when I’m growing a beard and just shaving my cheeks and neck, I don’t even have to use shaving cream and there’s no irritation. The space between the blades gets gunked up pretty quickly, but as long as you keep running it under the water after every stroke, it’s not that bad.

When I trim my beard, I usually just do what the OP does and I use an electric trimmer as I don’t mind the stubble (then I wear white, and start singing WHAM! songs. Actually, no). On occasions where I do need to shave smoothly, I find I have to shave down my face, and then back up. If I shave up first, I cut myself to pieces, but if I only shave down, I don’t get a smooth shave.

Some people never try shaving up. A lot of guys need to do this. I would seem to be one of them. I also tend to have to go over the same area multiple times. Get yourself a decent razor though. Those Mach 3 ones are quite good. Don’t use the cheap Bic disposables.

I will also vouch for the Mach 3 razors and Edge gel. These razors are great and they have reduced cuts and nicks. I clean the blade under running water after each swipe and sometimes have to tap it on the side of the sink to get all the residue out but it is much better than the 2 blade razor that I had previously.

Another vote for the Mach 3. Run it under hot water… ah, like a hot knife through butter.

Sounds like you have REALLY tough and thick facial hair. First suggestion, make darn sure the hair is very wet and had time to soak up water and soften. Shave after you shower, or IN the shower with a fogproof mirror. Another option is to put some moisturizer on before the shaving cream, my barber does this when he does a shave, that might help. A hot, wet towel pressed against the face helps get the whiskers softer too. Use the hottest water you can.

The Mach 3 tip may be the key, it does seem to clean out easier than other designs under running water. Perhaps using an old toothbrush when rinsing will help with the clogging problem.

After that rambling mess of suggestions, you’ll be lucky not to slit your throat!

I don’t know the why behind it but most shaving creams changed their formula a couple of years ago. Shaving cream is not supposed to resemble spackling compound. Try loosening up the cream with hot water. If you have an ingrown hair problem then always shave down first and then go back at different angles until your purdy.

I do what TheLoadedDog does… shaving up after shaving down really gives you a baby soft feel. You can’t even tell you had hair there before when you’re done.

Here’s what I recommend:

Wash your face using hot water, then rub in shaving gel (the gel seems to give an easier, smoother shave to me), and don’t be afraid to wash it off and add more when needed.

Get a Mach3 razor, and after each downward stroke, immediately rinse out the hairs from the razor by placing it under HOT running water…the cool thing with the Mach3 is that you can run the water through the back side of the razor…this really helps flush everything out and clean the blade, without destroying the lubricated strip on the front side.

You should always shave in the direction of hair growth first, then you can go sideways to get a better shave. However, I always have to do the sides of my chin sideways first, since the razor will tug too much if I don’t. You should start with the sides of your face, then do your neck, mustache, and finally your chin, so that the thicker hairs have more time to soften.

Make sure you rinse the blade under hot water when you are done. I store my with the blade side facing UP, so that the water will drip AWAY from the sharp side. I read somewhere that mostly water and minerals (not hair) is what causes blades to lose their sharpness, by eating away at the metal like rust. If you have really hard water, you can try rinsing in alcohol or something to make the blade last longer. You should definitely be getting a week or so out of each blade.

Okay, this is further proof on my assumption that men don’t know how to shave. Although I have to agree, Mach 3 razors are cool. I stole the one that came in the mail from my father last winter and won’t give it back. I insist that the only gender difference in razors in what ugly color the plastic is. Anyhow, from my own personal experience shaving (granted, as I’m a girl, feel free to disregard advice as shaving legs is different, or so I’m told), showering first helps a lot. As does shaving on a regular basis. For some reason, Mach 3s don’t clog up as much, either.

I have to jump in with support of the Mach 3. I think the quality of shave is less a function of how many blades the thing has, and more a function of how it’s hinged, namely at the bottom with an exposed back.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your breard moist (I shave in the shower), and to rinse the blade after every pass.

The combination of long, slow passes with the grain, keeping my face moist, and frequent rinsing of the blade, makes my shave clean, close, and relatively cut free. I’m one of those people who gets a five o’clock shadow at one o’clock.

Another good tip, if you’re like me and bleed easily, is to get a shaving gel with plenty of glycerin. I like the purple Edge Gel. I also use one of those after shave gels with a lot of glycerin as well.

I have a van dyke/goatee/whatever but the rest of my face gets the Mach 3 treatment. I like to shave in the shower because I use nothing but the razor. Outside the shower I run hot water and wet my face. I then follow the plan of TLD shaving in different directions until smooth. A quick rub will tell whether you need to shave in another direction as well. I rinse every couple of strokes but because I don’t have cream/gel/foam on my face the bits of hair rinse away immediately. I use cold water as after shave.

I discovered this technique out of laziness and am convinced that there is no reason to use anything to shave other than a good razor.

A great advantage is that I can carry a full shaving kit in my pocket and shave anywhere that has water.

Thanks for the tips, guys… I’ll see what I can do with them.I really feel like if I blow 10 bucks on 10 blades, it should last more than 7 freaking days… Sigh.

Anyway, haven’t tried again yet, because I thought I’d check on the comments here first. I’ll let you know if it helps…

I sort of wish I were just doing my arms/legs. When I was shaving my arms, it was incredibly easy. I mean, you can see what’s going on, the hairs are pretty spread apart. No worries. I got a really close shave using a 12 pack of single blade generic brand disposables I picked up for $1.09 at the drugstore…

And no, I’m not using them on my face. Geez… I’ve watched Queer Eye. :slight_smile:


Tenebras, here’s your solution: just don’t shave! I don’t understand why you have to shave for your sister’s wedding. If you normally wear a beard, why would you have to get rid of it for a wedding?

Grow that baby back post haste and you won’t have to waste your time or money on razor blades. Oh yeah, and, beards are sexy :wink:

Dude, why were you shaving your arms? :confused:

I have pretty thick facial hair, too. I find that I get a closer shave if, after I get out of the shower and before shaving, I use Nivea for Men Deep Cleaning Face Scrub to wash my face. It has those little exfoliating blue bead things, and it seems to soften up the hair before I got at it with my Mach 3.

One thing I’ve been using lately that seems to help is Neutrogena’s Razor Defense lotion. Wash your face and put the lotion on at night before you go to sleep, and you get a smoother shave in the morning.