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How to Shave a Beard

How to Shave a Beard

Shaving your facial hair for the first time is a major milestone in every man’s life. Though you have probably been doing it for years now, there is always room for improvement.

Have you been struggling with razor burn or ingrown hairs following a shave? There are ways to avoid this and ensure that you are left with smooth, glowing skin every time.

What’s Your Skin Type?

Your skin type is determined by genetics. There are five different skin types: normal, sensitive, dry, oily, and combination.

You can identify your skin type by conducting a simple test. Wash your face and wait thirty minutes. Once the time is up, position your face in front of a mirror and examine its traits.

  • Dry skin is usually rough, dull, and occasionally scaly. Dry skin is also prone to itchiness and irritation. With dry skin, it is more likely fine lines on your face will be more visible. If your skin feels tight and has visible dry patches or flaking, your skin type is dry. 
  • Oily skin is caused by overactive sebaceous glands that produce more sebum than any other skin type. This skin type is more prone to blemishes and breakouts. If your skin is oily and appears shiny, your skin type is oily. 
  • Combination skin is a combination of dry and oily skin, meaning that you have features of both. If your skin looks shiny on your T-Zone but is dry everywhere else, your skin type is combination. 
  • Sensitive skin is the most vulnerable. It can be negatively affected by anything from certain fragrances to ingredients in your skincare products. If your skin appears red and you feel burning or itching, your skin type is sensitive.
  • Normal skin is balanced and feels neither oily nor dry. This skin type is not prone to irritation and generally feels comfortable. If your skin has no real distinguishable physical features, your skin type is normal. 

Now that you have identified your skin type, you can select your method of exfoliation. 

Step One: Exfoliate

Before beginning to shave, it can be helpful to exfoliate the skin beneath your facial hair. 

Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells, sebum, and dirt from your epidermis, typically to avoid acne and ingrown hairs and to reveal regenerated skin.

There are two methods of exfoliation that you can choose from: mechanical and chemical.

Mechanical Exfoliation 

Mechanical exfoliation is the act of buffing away dead skin cells and other substances using a tool. Popular tools for mechanical exfoliation include specially made sponges, brushes, and gloves. 

Some of which can be used on dry skin, while others are meant to be used in combination with face scrubs or washes. With the exception of electric brushes, when it comes to mechanical exfoliation, you are largely in charge of how gentle or strong the exfoliating will be since you are in control of the tool you are using. Still, this method is typically considered the stronger of the two in that it has been proven to break through multiple layers of buildup. 

While it does not rely on acids to break through buildup in the way that chemical exfoliants do, it is still considered too rough for acne-prone skin and more likely to spread bacteria.

So, what skin type does mechanical exfoliation work best for? 

Mechanical exfoliation is best for those with oily skin. If you have oily skin, you likely have an additional layer of built-up sebum needing removal, making mechanically exfoliating the better option.

Chemical Exfoliation 

Chemical exfoliation dissolves dead skin cells and other substances from the surface of your skin using a chemical solution containing an acidic component. There are two types of chemical exfoliants, alpha hydroxy acids, and beta hydroxy acids. 

For shaving, consider using chemical exfoliants containing salicylic or glycolic acids as they are known for treating ingrown hairs and increasing cell turnover. You can use a cotton pad or your fingers to apply your chemical exfoliant as directed on the product’s label.

So, what skin type does chemical exfoliation work best for? 

Chemical exfoliation is best for those with dry or sensitive skin. Mechanical exfoliation may cause further dryness, redness, and irritation, so a mild chemical exfoliator is a safer option for you.

Combination skin may require a combination of both chemical and mechanical exfoliating. This may look like alternating between the two or using a chemical exfoliant with your tool of choice. Those with normal skin have the option of using either.

Step Two: Trim

The next step is simple: trim your beard. Trimming down your facial hair as close to your skin as you can without injuring yourself will make shaving your beard all the easier. You are welcome to use clippers, shears, or a beard trimmer to accomplish this.

If you skip this step, your shave will prove to be ineffective. If your beard is long or thick, it will be impossible for your razor to reach the skin without a little support from your scissors. Trimming your beard first will allow your razor to reach and shave your skin easily and effectively.

Step Three: Select Your Razor

Selecting the right tool for the job is an essential part of the process. Choose the razor you are most comfortable using.

That being said, there are several reasons why using an electric razor might be better for shaving your facial hair than a manual one. 

While manual razors are believed to offer you a closer shave, they are also known for causing ingrown hairs. The last thing you want to be dealing with after shaving your beard off is razor burn. In addition to reducing ingrown hairs, electric razors also minimize the chance of nicks and cuts.

Electric razors are also better for convenience. Electric razors force hairs upwards before cutting them, meaning that men do not need to go over the same area more than once and making the shaving process go by much faster.

After selecting your tool, make sure that it is sharp. Another reason you may be forced to shave over the same area twice is if your blade is dull. 

Shaving the same spot multiple times increases the opportunity for cuts and infection.

Step Four: Prep Your Hair

Now that you have your razor of choice, you can prepare your skin and hair to be shaved. To do so, you should soak your facial hair with warm water. You can do this by rinsing your beard or placing a wet washcloth over your facial hair.

Use warm water instead of hot water because warm water will open up your hair follicles without stripping your skin of natural oils. The purpose of soaking your beard in the first place is to minimize the chances of your shaved facial hair growing back with sharp edges that result in ingrown hairs. 

You can shave your beard at the end of a shower to make this even easier since your facial hair and pores will already be softened. In addition to soaking your beard with warm water, you can lather your beard with shaving gel and allow that to sit for a moment, as well.

Step Five: Shave

Finally, you can begin to shave. Once your beard has been soaked with warm water and you have applied your quality shaving cream, you can begin to remove your facial hair.

As you shave, try doing so in the direction that your hair grows. If you must shave against the grain, try shaving in its natural direction first, give your skin a moment to hydrate, and then proceed to shave in the opposite direction. 

Shaving with the grain should minimize the chances of your skin becoming irritated.

Another tip for minimizing irritation is to rinse your razor as often as between every stroke. If your razor is filled with hair, it will increase the chances of its blade becoming dull.

Step Six: Moisturize

Now that you are finished shaving and have rinsed your face clean, you need to moisturize. When shaving, it is common for your skin to lose moisture. For this reason, hydration is essential. Even after taking all the shaving precautions, your skin will still benefit from a soothing moisturizer. 

You must select a product that will support, rather than irritate, your tender skin. For this, we recommend MadeMan’s The Refresher.

The Refresher is a water-based moisturizer containing anti-foaming additives derived from silica which smooths out your skin, retains moisture, and will give your skin a hydrated appearance.

The Refresher contains castor seed oil, which carries the essential and natural fatty acids to help restore the skin’s natural moisture balance, and glycerin, a natural humectant used to help preserve moisture.

In addition to being helpful following a shave, other benefits of using The Refresher include helping to reduce fine lines, protect against free radicals, defeat sun damage, and treat clogged pores.


In conclusion, shaving your beard safely and effectively is a skill that is only acquired with practice and self-discipline. 

Take the necessary time to select the right products, prep your skin and facial hair ahead of time, shave safely, and moisturize afterward. By doing so, you will be left looking handsome and feeling fresh. 

After all, a great face is built with MadeMan. 



How to safely exfoliate at home | AAD

[The sebaceous gland] | PubMed

[Skin hydration and hydrating products] | PubMed

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