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How to Shave Properly: Tips for Smooth, Irritation-Free Grooming in a 6 Step Routine

Discover the steps to shaving properly and master a clean, close shave without irritation.

a man touching his face

Why is it important to learn how to shave properly?

For men, achieving a smooth and irritation-free shave is not just a daily routine; it's a crucial part of personal grooming. Shaving, though seemingly straightforward, demands technique, care, and the right products. Using the correct technique is important for a number of reasons, including:

  • Achieving a close and comfortable shave, leaving skin feeling smooth and irritation-free.
  • Preventing common shaving issues such as razor burn, ingrown hairs, and nicks or cuts.
  • Minimising the risk of post-shave discomfort and maintaining the overall skin health and appearance.


Ultimately, mastering the art of shaving can enhance a grooming routine, boost confidence, and contribute to a polished and well-groomed look. This comprehensive guide explores everything needed for shaving, from pre-shave preparation tailored to specific skin types to the art of using the razor correctly. Whether a novice or an experienced shaver seeking to refine their technique, this guide will aid in achieving a confident and comfortable shave, while keeping skin healthy and looking its best.

Facts Overview

Why proper shaving matters

  1. Achieving a smooth, irritation-free shave
  2. Preventing common issues like razor burns and ingrown hairs
  3. Maintaining overall skin health and appearance

How to shave with a razor

When shaving, it is important to prepare the skin by wetting it. This will help to soften the hairs on the face. Applying a cream or gel to apply on the desired shaving area will also help to reduce friction and ensure a smoother shave. It is then important to shave in the same direction that your hair grows and rinse the razor after each stroke, in order to avoid causing a rash.
young man shaving
Pre-shave preparation

Understanding Your Skin

There are 5 common skin types which may raise challenges when it comes to shaving, which makes it important to acknowledge:

Normal skin: usually the easiest skin to shave

Oily skin: subject to clog pores which can lead to irritation and uneven shave

Dry skin: can be subject to irritation and sensitive to friction

Combination skin: similar to dry skin on the T-Zone, and more oily on the rest of the face.

Sensitive skin: can react negatively to the products, meaning it is better to use products recommended for sensitive skin. 
Pre-shave preparation

Gathering the Right Tools

In order to shave your skin properly, it is important to use the right tools and products. You will need: 

  • A good quality razor (for dry to sensitive skin, don’t use more than 3 blades razors, which could intensify the dryness and over-exfoliate the skin)

  • A shaving cream that suits your skin type 

  • An after-shaving balm or cream that suits your skin type

  • A moisturiser 
young man using Nivea Men Sensitive After Shave Balm
Pre-shave preparation

Pre-Shave Skincare

A well-structured pre-shave skincare routine holds significant importance for those seeking an optimal shaving experience. It acts as a preparatory step, softening the beard and opening the pores, reducing the risk of irritation and ingrown hairs. It also provides an opportunity to address specific skin concerns, ensuring a smoother, closer shave, and promoting overall skin health.

How to Shave Properly

The best way to shave depends on the area that you are focusing on. You won’t use the same products to shave your face as your body.
man using Nivea Men Sensitive Pro Menalist Face and Beard Wash
How to Shave Properly

6 steps beard shaving routine

1. Cleanse

Before shaving, it's crucial to cleanse the skin to remove bacteria that might lead to infection should there be any accidental cuts. Using warm water during cleansing not only relaxes your skin but also opens up your pores, minimising the chances of ingrown hairs and reducing irritation. 

Explore NIVEA range of face wash products to kickstart your pre-shave routine for a refreshed and clean canvas.
2. Exfoliate 

Exfoliating before shaving your beard is important, since it prevents the razor from catching too many dead skin cells which could clog up the blades, making it ineffective. Exfoliation therefore helps to get a close shave. 

The NIVEA MEN Protect & Care Face Scrub is enriched with Aloe Vera and Provitamin B to refine and smooth your skin appearance by lifting off dead skin cells. Adapted to all skin types, you can easily introduce it into your skincare routine to prepare your skin for shaving. 
young man applying Nivea shaving cream

3. Apply shaving cream

Shaving cream can help to prevent your skin from getting irritated, but also to get a clean shave effect. For the best possible application, spread the cream, gel or foam in an upward movement. This will help to lift your hair up to shave it off more easily.

NIVEA MEN offers a wide range of shaving creams and gel, for normal to sensitive skin. 


4. Start to shave

For a close shave, use small strokes and begin with your cheeks, working way down to your neck - which is the most sensitive part. It may be trickier around your lips and jawline because of the angle. To make it easier, you can puff your cheeks out to make the surface more accessible. Remember to rinse the blade in between the strokes and to shave in the direction your hair grows. This will help to avoid irritation and achieve a cleaner shave.
Once done, rinse your face off with warm water and allow it to air dry before moving on to the next step.
Don’t forget to clean and wipe your razor with a clean cloth, and store it in a dry area after each use. Doing this will prevent bacteria and rust from sticking to the blade, which could be a risk if you ever cut yourself with it.

5. Apply after-shave

After-shave balm is beneficial to your skin since it helps reduce irritation, razor burn and bumps that can appear after shaving. Ingredients like Vitamin E and Aloe Vera are ingredients commonly found in after-shave balm, which help maintain the skin healthy and soothe burns and skin damage. It clears the pores of any bacteria and seals them again to prevent additional dirt from getting into it. 

The NIVEA MEN Sensitive Cool Post Shave Balm instantly relieves the skin from 5 signs of irritation (burning, redness, dryness, tightness, itchiness) and provides long-lasting hydration. Its formula is alcohol-free and infused with Chamomile Extract for a non-greasy and fast-absorbing action.

Nivea Men Sensitive Pro Ultra Calming After Shave Balm
6. Apply moisturiser 

It is important to apply moisturiser after shaving your beard. When shaving, not only can hair get caught between the blades, but so too can thin layers of dead skin from the top layer of skin. 
This is not harmful to your skin, but shaving makes it more vulnerable to pollutants and bacteria. Applying moisturiser will therefore help to retain hydration in your skin and add a barrier to your skin.

NIVEA MEN offers a range of moisturisers for different skin types and needs. The NIVEA MEN Sensitive Face Moisturiser SPF 15 is an ideal choice for those who experience skin irritation. It’s enriched with soothing Chamomile Extract and skin-strengthening Vitamin E to relieve the five most common signs of skin irritation. 
7. Apply SPF (AM)

SPF is very important in your daily routine, whatever the circumstances. After shaving, the removal of dead skin cells may mean that your skin is even more sensitive to UV rays.

Applying SPF on your face can help you to offer a level of protection against UV Rays. 

a man in the shower
How to Shave Properly

How do you shave your body?

Humidify your skin: to shave parts of your body, a good first step is to shower with warm water beforehand and exfoliate at the same time. This will help to soften your skin, but also remove dead skin.

Apply shaving cream: you also should use shaving cream, not soap to shave. The latter may have an astringent effect on your skin, drying it out and causing flaky skin.

Shave: contrary to your face, you want to shave against the direction of growth.

Rinse with cool water: when preparing your skin to shave, you want your pores to open, but when it’s done, you want them to close again. Rinsing with cold water will enable the pores to close back up and prevent bacteria from getting in.

Finish with a moisturiser: applying moisturiser will help to avoid the flakiness of your skin. The NIVEA Express Hydration Body Lotion is formulated with NIVEA’s Deep Moisture Serum and sea minerals to protect the skin and provide 48-hour hydration, without leaving behind a greasy appearance.

Choosing the Right Razor

Choosing the right razor for you is important, depending on your skin type, but also the type of shave that you want. When it comes to choosing, there are five primary types of razors, each best suited for different shaving needs:

  1. Disposable Razors: These razors are usually inexpensive and designed for a limited number of uses. They are best for quick, on-the-go shaving but may not provide the smoothest shave. Disposable razors are suitable for individuals with oily or non-sensitive skin.
  2. Cartridge Razors: Cartridge razors have replaceable blade cartridges and are the most popular type. They often utilise multiple blades for a closer shave and are suitable for all skin types. They are versatile and provide a smooth shave, making them a preferred choice for everyday routines. For shaving neck hair, look for one with a pivoting head as this will help in navigating the contours of the neck.
  3. Safety Razors: Safety razors have protective metal pieces that reduce the risk of cuts. They require more care and cleaning but are an excellent option for regular shavers. Safety razors work well for individuals with dry or oily skin, who want a traditional shaving experience.
  4. Electric Razors: Electric razors come in two types: dry and wet. Dry razors are suitable for individuals with oily skin, while wet razors work well for both oily and dry skin types. They offer convenience and a reasonably close shave, and can work well on the neck area.
  5. Straight Razors: Straight razors provide the closest shave but require the most skill and care. They are typically used by experienced shavers and professional barbers. Straight razors can work for various skin types but demand precision and a steady hand.

The choice of razor depends on your skin type, shaving preferences, and skill level. All things considered, it's essential to select the one that aligns with your needs for the best shaving experience.

young man applying Nivea shaving foam on his face
How to trim a beard

Trimming and Shaping

Find the shape of your beard: If your face is round, a thicker beard can make it look better. If your face is slim, a neater beard style is best. This is especially important as you keep growing your beard through the rest of winter.

Make sure your beard hair is shaved in the same direction: Cut the stray hairs and the ones that are too long based on the beard shape and length that suits your face the most. Remember this, especially if you're growing your beard a bit longer than usual.

Trim your sideburns: get rid of any hairs that show up on your cheeks above your beard's natural line.

Define your neckline: use a razor or a very precise beard trimmer to create a clear neckline for your beard.

Neaten up the area around your lips: ensure that no hairs go over them. Afterwards, be precise when trimming your nostrils as well.
Dry Shaving

What Is Dry Shaving?

Dry shaving is a method of shaving that doesn't involve using shaving soap, cream, water, or any lubricant. Typically done with an electric razor, dry shaving is known for its speed compared to traditional wet shaving.
young man with blue eyes
Dry Shaving

Advantages of Dry Shaving

Time and convenience: today's razor technology has made it easy for men to enjoy a speedy shave. You simply need to insert a battery into the electric shaver or remove a disposable cartridge razor from its packaging, and you're ready to start shaving

No need for water or foam: When your hairs are dry, they're stiff, so the razor doesn't touch your skin very closely. This helps prevent ingrown hairs that can turn into razor bumps because the razor doesn't cut the hair beneath your skin.


Dry Shaving

Disadvantages of Dry Shaving

Not very effective: Dry shaving is unlikely to provide you with a close and smooth shave. In fact, when you dry shave, you might find that you need to shave more often because your hair may start showing again by the end of the day.

Skin discomfort:  People with sensitive skin should be cautious about dry shaving. Without any lather to cushion the blade and no water to keep the skin moist, it can become sore and irritated as the blade cuts the hair. Those with dry skin may feel even more discomfort because it won't feel smooth during the entire shaving process.
Dry Shaving

To get the best results while dry shaving:

Avoid shaving as soon as you wake up which could make it harder to get a close shave. Then, wash your skin first to soften the hair and start to shave slowly using gentle strokes. 

Once you are done shaving, make sure to keep your razor clean of any hair and skin debris. Then finish with a moisturiser.

Mastering the Art of Shaving at a Glance

Achieving a successful shave involves careful preparation and consideration of your individual needs. Whether shaving the face or body, understanding skin type is crucial. Choosing the right tools and products, such as razors, shaving cream, and after-shave balm, can greatly enhance your shaving experience.

For a smooth shave, it's essential to follow a proper routine, including cleansing, exfoliating, applying shaving cream, and using small, careful strokes while shaving. After-shave and moisturiser play a significant role in maintaining skin health.

Dry shaving with an electric razor offers convenience but may not provide the closest shave. It's important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages and follow best practices for optimal results.

Remember, the key to successful shaving is personal care and attention to your unique needs and preferences.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is it necessary to use shaving cream or gel, or can I shave without them?

A1: Using shaving cream or gel is highly recommended because they help lubricate the skin and hair, making the shaving process smoother while reducing the risk of irritation and cuts.

Q2: How often should I change the razor blades?

A2: It's recommended to change razor blades regularly, typically after 5-10 uses, depending on the blade's quality and your hair type. Dull blades can lead to irritation and cuts.

Q3: Can I shave against the direction of hair growth for a closer shave?

A3: While shaving against the grain can provide a closer shave, it also increases the risk of irritation and ingrown hairs. It's best to shave in the direction of hair growth, especially on the face and if you have sensitive skin.

Q4: How can I prevent razor burns and irritation?

A4: To prevent razor burns and irritation, ensure your skin is well-prepared with warm water, exfoliate, use a quality shaving cream, and maintain a proper shaving technique. Applying after-shave balm can also help soothe the skin.

Q5: Are there specific products for sensitive skin?

A5: Yes, NIVEA offers shaving products designed for sensitive skin. NIVEA MEN Sensitive products typically contain soothing ingredients such as Chamomile and Hamamelis to minimise irritation.

Q6: Is it fine to shave dry

A6: Dry shaving is not ideal since all the disadvantages of shaving are even more prominent, such as skin irritation, cuts, flaky skin, burning sensation etc. Dry shaving is ok on a very occasional basis, but you should not use this method regularly for the sake of your skin.

Q7: How to shave my moustache?

A7: The face being a sensitive area, you should shave downwards in order to avoid razor burns or ingrown hair. You should therefore use small strokes downward and rinsing your blade in between most of them to optimise the final results. You can puff your cheeks and mouth area to make it easier

Q8: How to shave for the first time?

A8: First hairs on boys usually appear around the age of 13-14, but it varies a lot. Prepare your skin by cleansing using warm water, apply some shaving gel on the areas of your face you want to shave. You can then now use short and slow strokes top to down. Remember to not press too hard, but still press a little bit to let the blade catch the hair. 
Don’t get scared if you cut yourself a little bit, it will happen one day. Just make sure to disinfect the wound afterwards.

Q9: Should I shave before or after a shower?

A9: Shaving after the shower is best since it enables the skin to get softer and pores to open, which is more ideal for sensitive skin. If you have dry skin and shave before showering, it could lead to further irritation.