Should I Shave After Or Before A Shower? What Is The Best Grooming Routine?

There is one old-aged question that has crossed the mind of any man at least once in his life: “Should I shave after or before a shower?”. 

Our grandfathers and fathers were right when saying that the perfect time to set your blades in motion is around the shower. However, one thing they have yet to clarify is the exact timing for the grooming routine. 

Shaving after the shower, for many men, is something they don’t have to put their mind to – it’s a habit, a ritual, and a tradition. 

On the other hand, pre-shower shaving is a modern approach to doing things, while shaving in the shower is even a more adventurous path. However, these two approaches have their own edges to contemplate over. 

So, do you shave after or before shower? When is the best time to shave? Let’s find out!

How Do You Know Which Option Is Right For You?

To determine the optimal time to shave, here are a few things you should be clear of before getting into our comparison:

  • The amount of time at your disposal for shaving?
  • The type of shaver that you use?
  • The level of skin sensitivity 
  • The level of softness/hardness of your facial hair
  • The type of shaving products you prefer to shave with: dry shave or shaving oils and creams

Keep in mind that the perfect shaving time will work in the best interest of you, your facial hair, and your skin. 

Should You Shave Before A Shower? 

The answer depends on your specific situation. 

  • If your skin is not sensitive, you can shave prior to a shower and use post-shave products on your skin when finished. 
  • Do you want to grow your scruffy stubble beard in the most fashionable manner and often use a trimmer for shaping the chin strap’s edges? Then, dry shaving prior to a shower can benefit you the most!

As we gradually have less free time on our hands, a pre-shower shave is a modern approach to getting a clean, sparkling look without stepping into a full shower. 

Also known as a dry shave, shaving before the shower is often associated with electric shavers and beard trimmers. This is simply because these tools work more efficiently with dry facial hair (we’ll explain further below!).

The Advantages Of The Pre-Shower Shave

Ideal For Electric Shavers

Most electric razors in the market work best with dry facial hair. If you want to get a clean-shaven look and prefer dry shave, this razor type is your best bet. 

When your whiskers are standing straight, the blade can pick them up and slice through more easily. Dry hair is usually firmer than wet hair and can easily hold up to the force of a rotating blade. 

On the other hand, it is trickier to control your hair with an electric shaver if it is soft, laying flat, wet, or slightly damp when you’ve just stepped out of the tub. 

Besides, dry whiskers are also less likely to clog the electric shaver for a smooth, uninterrupted, and comfortable shave.

Electric Shavers Works Best For The Pre-Shower Shave
Electric Shavers Works Best For The Pre-Shower Shave

Better For Beard Trimming

A good beard calls for a trim from time to time, and when it comes to beard trimming, dry shaving before the shower slightly gains the upper hand. 

As discussed, the dry, bristly hair that stands upright allows the electric razor to trim more easily. Plus, everything that’s gone stray onto the collar can be spotlessly washed off during the shower. This prevents potential itchiness and irritations in your neck and shoulder.

Trimmer is also suitable for anyone who wants to grow stubble, as trimming can avoid shaving issues such as bumps, cuts, razor burns, and ingrown hair. 

More Time-Efficient

Shaving before the shower can be time-efficient. Once everything is done, you can step into the shower and do a once-and-for-all cleanup. In contrast, if you choose the post-shower shave, you may need to rinse the stray hairs on the face, chin, and neck. 

Furthermore, this is a popular choice among individuals who are pressed for time in the morning and often skip their showers. 

Depending on how quickly you proceed and the amount of time left on your hand, you can decide to shower or not after you finish! After all, shaving is the top priority for most of us!

If you finish shaving and can afford time for anything else in your grooming routine, you can do away with the shower. Make sure to spritz some perfume and deodorant, and you’re good to go!

Many people also prefer shaving before the shower for the ease of cleaning up. You can easily flush away the stray hair strands that fall all over your face, chin, neck, and chest with the running water in the shower. 

However, this is not the case with people who shave after the shower. After getting the job done, they often have to rewash their face and neck with water.

Lower Risks Of Infection

Take a steamy shower once you finish washing away all the stray hairs, debris, and shave cream buildup. This helps prevent infections from plaguing your skin when you accidentally cut yourself! 

The Disadvantages Of The Pre-Shower Shave

Higher Risks Of Skin Irritation, Cuts, And Ingrown Hair

Shaving pre-shower is not recommended for those with sensitive skin. Shaving in any format carries the risk of skin irritation, but dry shaving is one of the easiest ways to irritate your vulnerable skin. 

There Is A Higher Risks Of Irritation If You Shave Before A Shower
There Is A Higher Risks Of Irritation If You Shave Before A Shower

The dry face does not offer the optimal condition for the blade to glide across. Even when you apply shaving cream, it should sit for quite a while to soften the skin. 

More often than not, the exfoliating job is not done sufficiently, or some people even skip it. 

This means that the hair follicles are not soft and small hair trapped underneath is not exposed, which increases the risk of ingrown hair afterward. The hair follicles also resist the blades, and this can cause painful red bumps on the face. 

The instances of cuts and nicks are also more prevalent for those shaving prior to the shower!

Precautions:

Even after you soften and moisturize your skin, there is still a risk of irritation, redness, and razor burn. If your face is prone to suffering from any of these symptoms, we strongly advise you to SKIP pre-shower shaving. 

Hard To Achieve The Closest Shave Possible

You might not get the closest shave possible before a shower. The shower water does a great job prepping your hair and skin for the shave. 

The skin pores are opened up, and facial hairs also protrude further after being extendedly exposed to the water, and this makes for a closer shave. This is not the case with pre-shower shaving, unfortunately. 

Should You Shave After A Shower? 

Yes. Many men swear by shaving after a shower; this is a tried-and-true way of shaving away whiskers that have stood the test of time. 

Compared with the above approach, this old-school choice is usually considered superior. Here is a breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of shaving after the shower:

The Advantages Of The Post-Shower Shave

Best For People Who Suffer From Sensitive Skin And Razor Bumps

The key difference between shaving before and after the shower is what is going with the skin and hair upon contact with water. 

When hairs absorb water, they become softer and swollen, making it easier for the blade to glide through. 

The hot shower water has thoroughly cleansed the skin: it opens up skin pores and washes away the grime and dirt buildup inside. This also contributes to a closer, cleaner, and more comfortable shave.  

There will be fewer passes required for the razor to go over the same skin area, thus lowering the risk of skin irritation and razor burns. This also means that you can boost the shaving efficiency, and you expect a gentler, easier, and smoother shave. 

A certain amount of downward pressure is generated when the razor glides at the skin’s surface. 

With a warm shower, water penetrates the skin and makes it more supple and relaxed. The more supple the skin is, the more easily it can bend under pressure. This translates to a lower likelihood of micro-cuts and nicks happening to the skin. 

But to make the most out of your shave, you should not skip using soap, cream, or pre-shave oil to prep your skin. This further helps the razor glide more effortlessly to minimize nicks and cuts. 

On top of that, the shower has just rinsed off the dirt buildups and dead skin cells, especially if you use a cleanser in the shower. There will be less risk of irritation and even infection if you’re shaving with a clean face. 

The accumulations of dead skin cells can also get caught in the razor blade and interfere with the shaving experience. That’s why removing them beforehand can improve the quality of the shave.

Thanks to the reaction of water with your skin and hair, you can achieve a more comfortable shave with lower risks of irritation, razor burns, and bumps. 

So if your skin is on the more sensitive side, shaving after a nice shower is a better option.

You Can Achieve A Close Shave With Fewer Passes
You Can Achieve A Close Shave With Fewer Passes

Improve The Lifespan Of The Blades And Razor

With fewer passes going through already softened hair follicles, there is less workload for the blades. This means that the blades are slower to get blunt and dull, and you can enjoy more shaving sessions with them.

Normally, the buildups of dead skin between blades can clog up the razor over time. This is not the case with after-the-shower shaves since you already flush them away with the steamy shower. 

Less Mess On The Sink

Another benefit of shaving after the shower is that you will face less mess. 

It’s more convenient to do some prepping during the shower before you get into the thicks of things, such as washing your face with a cleanser or applying the exfoliating face scrub. The sink will be a less messy place once you finish shaving. 

The Disadvantages Of The Post-Shower Shave

Perhaps More Mess On Your Part

You have to hunt down the stray strands that land on the face, chin, neck, and body after the shave. 

It’s not easy to get yourself sparkling clean due to these stray stumbles. The clumsiest guys in this world might even find themselves stepping in the shower again due to the mess they’ve made. 

This is more time-consuming, and it is clear that no one wants to enter the shower once again after they have just stepped out of it. 

Fogged Up Mirror Can Be A Nuisance

If you’re lucky enough to have a mirror placed far away from the shower spot, you can proceed to shave with ease. Otherwise, the steam emanating from the shower can heavily fog up your mirror and reduce the visibility. 

Shaving with a fogged-up mirror allows room for error. You’re prone to miss a spot here and there, and your face will look patchy. Even worse, you might not be able to shave with the right techniques and cut yourself with a poor view. 

Should You Shave In The Shower? 

Let’s buck tradition and examine the benefits and drawbacks of the last option – shaving during the shower. 

Deciding to shave while you’re taking a shower means you have to come to terms with two things: the absolute need for a fogless mirror to counteract the low invisibility caused by the steam. 

The Advantages Of The In-Shower Shave

Better Exfoliating Before Shaving

Experts agree that it is the best practice to exfoliate before shaving, and it is much easier to do the job while you are in the shower. 

The running water warms up and hydrates the skin, and the dead skin cells become easier to scrub off. Therefore, you’re less likely to over-scrub your skin and can save yourself from traumas such as skin irritation, inflammation, and loss of moisture. 

Normally, people will scrub and clean the entire body in-shower. More often than not, they also treat their face the same way. 

The most common way to exfoliate is to use a soft bristle brush or face scrub to eliminate oil, dirt, grime, and dead skin cells. These elements often shroud the facial hair and hinder the razor’s path. 

Exfoliate Your Face With A Face Scrub Before The Shave
Exfoliate Your Face With A Face Scrub Before The Shave

On top of that, the tiny hair that almost embeds under the skin will be exposed due to exfoliating, making it easier for the blade to slice them off and thus, lower the likelihood of ingrown hairs. 

A Close Shave Is More Attainable

As discussed above, the skin becomes more supple when it comes into contact with steam and water in the shower, which makes it more conducive to a close shave. 

The skin pores on your face are also opened up, and the hair is softened up under the exposure to heat and water, giving better access to hair follicles. Therefore, the blades can cut closer and more efficiently.

Less Risk Of Cuts And Razor Burns

The shower is also an ideal place to shave for those with sensitive skin or usually suffering from irritation or razor burns. 

The shower will prep your skin the optimal way. Hydration and moisture prevent razor burn and help the razor glide effortlessly. 

When your skin is properly prepped, fewer passes will be required to achieve the desired closeness. This helps avoid tugging and pulling on the hair root, which might lead to skin irritation and razor bumps). 

Due to the wet condition, you’ll find that the razor will glide more smoothly, even with less shaving cream. 

Therefore, most people can reduce the pressure they exert on the razor in this situation, and the result is the reduced risks of nicks, cuts, and razor burns. 

In-Shower Shaving Is Suitable For Those With Sensitive Skin
In-Shower Shaving Is Suitable For Those With Sensitive Skin

Less Messy

The running water will also wash away all the stray hairs, stubble, or shaving cream, giving you a sparkling look. In-shower shaving requires no cleaning afterward, and you can keep the sink free from falling whiskers. 

The Disadvantages Of The In-Shower Shave

Not Recommended For Straight Razors And Double-Edged Safety Razors

Due to the special condition of such an enclosed and wet place as a shower, shaving during showering can be restricted to some types of razors. Most experts recommend a cartridge razor or an electric shaver for wet use if you decide to go on this route. 

If you’re a big fan of electric shavers and persist in using them at this point, then rotary razors are your best bet. They have a slight edge over other electric shavers when it comes to shaving hair and the ease of cleaning during the shower.

In contrast, we’re strongly against using straight or double-edged razors to shave in the shower for your safety. 

Shaving with these razors calls for mental focus and attention to detail, the right angle of the blade, and more to avoid cutting your skin and stubble. In such a small space as in the shower, things get trickier as you can’t see clearly every stroke of razor you’re making. 

In addition, you’ll need to constantly build a lather with a brush and cream, which can be another bummer when done in the shower. 

Straight or double-edged razors also require more complicated logistics; you’ll have to bring a shaving brush, pre-shave soap, lather bowl, etc., back and forth.

Low Visibility

There will be steam clouds emanating from the shower, which will cloud your judgment on how you swipe the blade each time. The result is that you can miss some spots here and there or over-do some other areas. 

Fortunately, the in-show shave is still possible if you can find a good direct light source and invest in a fogless mirror, which won’t fog during the shower and improve your vision while you’re shaving. 

Damages To The Razor

You’re exposing the razor more to water while shaving in the shower. Even if the razor is meant for wet use, constant contact with moisture will quickly reduce the lifespan of the razor and blunt the blades.

Moisture Can Shorten The Lifespan Of Your Razor
Moisture Can Shorten The Lifespan Of Your Razor

This is even worse if you’re shaving with a cartridge razor because the blades that come with it are typically made from disposable metals. Hence, they are susceptible to rusting and dulling after regularly being on their in-shower duty. 

Which Option Is Better – Before, During, Or After Shower? 

We have stacked up to three common choices against each other – the time-honored after-the-shower ritual, the before-shower shave that offers a break from tradition, and the somewhat new and bold in-shower shave. 

Their benefits and drawbacks have already been carefully examined above, and it’s up to your preferences, needs, tools of choice, and skin conditions to choose the best way to go. Here is a general recommendation on which approach suits you best:

Shave Before The Shower Shave During The Shower Shave After The Shower
Who Is This For?
  • Healthy skin that is not prone to irritation and razor burn
  • Cannot afford time for the shower
  • Do trimming, touches up, or shortening the beard
  • Sensitive skin or those who suffer from irritation, razor burns, and bumps
  • Want a smooth, close, and immaculate shave
Sensitive skin or those who suffer from irritation, razor burns and bumps
Recommended Tools Electric shavers for dry use
  • Electric shavers for wet use (rotary shavers are highly recommended)
  • Cartridge razors
  • Fogless mirror
  • Straight razors
  • Safety razors
  • Shavettes
  • Cartridge razors
  • Disposable razors
  • Electric shavers for wet use

Tips To Achieve A Smooth, Close, And Irritation-Free Shave 

Shave Before A Shower 

Take Care Of Your Tools

While shaving before the shower, the importance of a sharp razor is paramount. Your hair is not only drier but also tougher for the blade to cut, while the skin is not that pliable to deal with the pressure of the blade. 

Therefore, you will need a very sharp blade to slice through things more easily and are less prone to getting caught up by hair follicles. The result is that you shave with fewer passes to achieve a close shave with minimal irritation. 

So, it is advised to sharpen your razors every once in a while. Replace the blunt blades if necessary. In fact, experts recommend replacing your razor blades after 5-7 shaves. 

It’s also important to keep the shaver in a dry place to prevent bacteria from harboring and guarantee their performance every time you shave.

Use A Hot Towel

This is the classic technique used by many barbershops around, and they do so not only to create an amazing feeling on your face. 

Let a hot towel sit on the face for a couple of minutes to mimic the effects that a steamy shower brings, including softening the hairs and making the skin more pliable but in a fraction of the shower time. 

Use A Hot Towel Before Shaving
Use A Hot Towel Before Shaving

Do Not Skip Exfoliating Your Skin

Those shaving in or before the shower will treat their skin well, whether they stick to a thorough washing ritual with a cleanser or simply rinse their face with water. This is not likely to be the case with people who shave pre-shower. 

They often overlook the exfoliating step and head straight to shave with dry, unexfoliated skin. This further increases the risks of irritation and razor burn that often accompany a pre-shower shave. 

It is equally possible and necessary to do the same thing over the sink. Spend a few minutes to wash away the oil, dirt, grime, and dead cells using a gentle cleanser or any exfoliating product to get your skin and hair ready for the blade. 

Apply Shaving Cream Or Pre-Shave Oil

If we were to cut down on the list of shaving supplies, the last thing we would ditch is the classic shaving cream. 

When applied, it acts as a protective, moisturizing barrier between the razor and skin. 

In addition, this tried-and-true product also provides the lubrication that will help the blade glide more smoothly, significantly nicks, cuts, scraping, and skin damage by the friction caused by the blade. 

Shaving Cream Will Prep Your Skin For A Smoother Shave
Shaving Cream Will Prep Your Skin For A Smoother Shave

Pre-shave oil can also make a huge difference in shave quality. For the most part, it offers quite the same benefits as shaving cream. That’s why it can be redundant to combine the two products to prep your skin. 

Use Aftershave Or Moisturizer After The Shave

The main purpose of aftershave is to promote skin recovery after shaving. 

The astringents, such as witch hazel or alcohol in the aftershave, can soothe your irritated skin and halt bleeding. Most importantly, they can help clean and tighten the skin pores, disinfect any minor nicks, and facilitate the healing process. 

It is worth mentioning that astringents are not highly recommended for those with sensitive skin as they tend to dry out the skin. 

When the skin goes through a lot of shaving, it will become tight and dry, and that’s when a moisturizer comes in! This skincare product will further calm irritation, replenish the much-needed moisture, and give your skin a healthy and rejuvenating look!

Shave In A Shower

Invest In A Fogless Shower Mirror

Due to a poor view, you will shave with more guesswork, which often translates to more room for mistakes, and you’re not getting a perfect shave. 

For this reason, you may want to invest in an anti-fog mirror. This is just a small yet worthy investment (a decent fogless mirror costs no more than $50)!

A Fogless Mirror Is A Must-Have Item For In-Shower Shaving
A Fogless Mirror Is A Must-Have Item For In-Shower Shaving

Exfoliate! Never Skip It!

After washing your face with hot water, gently scrub your face with a face scrub in a small circular motion. This way, you can eliminate any dirt, grease, and dead skin cells that potentially get stuck between the blades while you’re shaving. 

Use A Transparent Shave Butter

Shaving can take away much moisture from the skin, so a good moisturizing shaving product is worth investing in. We recommend using clear shaving butter, which lubricates the skin and softens the whiskers without hydrating your face. 

Best of all, it allows for easy navigation, which is a huge plus while you’re shaving with low visibility caused by steam and water. 

You can see where the blades are passing more easily, and there’s no need to wonder if you’ve missed any spot. 

If you have sensitive or overly dry skin, shaving butter is more gentle and healthier for your skin health. 

The product is typically made from fruit or plant-derived ingredients instead of harsh chemicals usually found in other shaving products.

Better still, the thick consistency helps shave butter become more efficient in channeling the moisture and nutrients into the skin, which leaves your skin feeling more rejuvenated after the shave. 

Thanks in large part to this consistency, you’ll notice that the blades can glide more effortlessly and are less likely to get clogged up.

Translucent Shave Butter
Translucent Shave Butter

Shave After A Shower

Choose The Right Temperature

It comes down to personal preferences about the water temperature for shaving. However, if you’re a fan of hot water, you should use warm and steamy water for the task. Too hot water is a big no since it can cause the skin to be overly dry and flake. 

The most important question to ask is: Should you shave with warm or cold water?

The answer depends on your personal preferences! The skin will behave differently according to the water temperature. Yet, overall, we found that cold water outshines hot water when it comes to shaving. 

Briefly speaking, the cold temperature stiffens the hairs and makes them stand straight, allowing the blade to glide across for a closer cut. Shaving with upright-standing hairs also means less pulling, tugging, or incorrect cutting, which can cause razor bumps and irritation. 

Despite sounding uncomfortable at first, shaving with cold water is a better choice for dry and irritation-prone skin. 

Here is an analysis of the two options for your consideration:

Shaving With Hot Water

Pros  Cons
  • Promote the healing of nicks and cuts
  • More comfortable
  • Not ideal for those with acnes
  • Make skin puffy

Shaving With Cold Water

Pros  Cons
  • Less skin irritation
  • Stiffen the hair for a closer, cleaner shave
  • Refresh the skin
  • Less damaging to the blades
  • Might be uncomfortable
  • Not preferred for cold weather

Avoid Spending Too Much Time In The Shower

As comfortable as a warm, steamy show can feel, prolonged exposure to warm water can make skin drier, excessively soft, and more vulnerable against the blades. 

The result is that you’ll get a less effective shave with more irritation waiting ahead. Spend a maximum of 30 minutes in the shower if you’re going to shave afterward. 

Do Not Stay Too Long In The Water
Do Not Stay Too Long In The Water

Get Down To The Business After The Shower

Do not leave much time in between the shower and the shave. Instead, you should dry yourself, head straight to the sink, and pick up the razor. Your skin and hair are perfectly prepped during the shower, so it makes no sense to wait for them to return to their normal state to shave.

The Bottom Line 

Should I shave after or before a shower? We hope you can figure it out at this point. With our detailed comparison of the three approaches, it should be easier to choose the best grooming routine for yourself. 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a pre-shower or post-shower shaver, as long as it works, and you can get a satisfactory shave with little to zero irritation. 

Nevertheless, if it seems something is going wrong, you may want to reconsider your approach and adjust when needed! Whatever you do, prioritize the health of your skin by moisturizing, relaxing it, and giving it sufficient lubrication and cushion while you’re using the blade.

Max Young

Hello, my name is Max Young - the founder of ShaverMap.com, a website dedicated to the shaving community.

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