How To Shave Like A Barber

Monday, 7AM. Already late, I hop into the shower.

After quickly rinsing off, I pat myself dry and head to the sink.

I smear on some shaving cream and grab my razor. Stroke by stroke I remove the cream, and with it my facial hair.

Fuck. I have mauled my neck once again. Blood oozes out and travels downward towards my chest.

My Quest For The Perfect Shave

I need to shave. I was not blessed with facial hair that grows to form a sexy five o’clock shadow. Clean shaven, on the other hand, I am quite sexy. It’s my only option.

So after mauling my own neck more than a handful of times, I decided to find a fix.

My first stop was the electric razor. I scoured amazon until finding an option with solid reviews. It sucked. While it didn’t irritate my skin, I looked like a homeless crackhead with patches of unshaven hair scattered across my face and neck.

Then one day I was getting a haircut, and chatting with my barber. I decided to probe further into his area of expertise.

How To Shave Like A Barber

The following is what he told me. I use this method and consistently have incredible shaves that are quick, effective, and leave my skin intact and feeling refreshed.

1. Shower

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Take a shower and head directly to the sink. The sooner, the better. A warm, steamy shower opens up your pores and softens your skin, so that the razor can smoothly glide across and do its thing.

2. Apply Noxzema

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“This is my secret,” the barber told me.

Yes, women use it to remove makeup. And it has a crazy smell – that I like. Wet your face and neck with warm water and then apply a healthy amount of Noxzema.

It creates a smooth surface for your razor, cleans your skin, and leaves it feeling fresh and tingly.

3. Apply Shave Cream


If you do not have sensitive skin, skip this step. The Noxzema may be enough for you. In my case, I go ahead and apply a layer of cream on top.

4. Grab A Sharp Razor

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This is where I used to make my biggest mistake. Yes, razor heads are expensive, but this is not something you want to skimp on. You should ideally change your razor every 2 weeks.

And don’t worry about how many blades you’re sporting. 3 million dull blades will fuck up your face just as badly as two or three – if not worse.

5. Shave (Across The Grain)

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Long, gentle strokes are key.

Don’t shave with the grain – you won’t get close enough.

Don’t shave against the grain – you will remove skin.

Shave diagonally across it – this insures a close shave that is still gentle on your skin.

6. Rinse Off


Use cold water – it feels refreshing and closes your pores.

Read More: Take The No-Shampoo Challenge

49 thoughts on “How To Shave Like A Barber”

  1. This is horribly wrong! Following your advice many, many guys will get hurt (especially those with sensitive skin) – and it hurts me to just read this. Here’s some help on: 2) Noxzema works, so does any gentle (!) peeling or men’s face wash. If you shower before, that is just fine, too. 3) Always use shaving cream! Some brands have cream for sensitive skin. You can also use soap and brush it up in a mug. 4) Never use a cheap razor like in the pic. Get a decent one that costs. Or buy a traditional safety razor, blades are 10 Cents to 50 cents. 5) Sloppy shaving is for boys, the gentleman understands that shaving takes time and is a celebration of manhood. Shave first with the grain. Rinse. Now shave horizontal with the grain (your beard grows in one horizontal direction from ear to ear, figure it out by stroking your beard). Then, if your skin is not sensitive (!), shave against the grain horizontally, then upwards. The only area where you can shave upwards right away is the area under your lips – it is the toughest skin tissue your entire body has to offer.

    1. I use Proraso for shaving cream. The stuff that comes in a tube. A bit pricey at $11 a tube, but you need just a small dab with a shaving brush.

      1. If you like the Proraso plus brush version, try buying the plastic mug instead of the tube next time. Every morning you open that mug, the fresh smell hits your nose – best thing ever to start a good morning!

    2. I concur barber1950 – a few months ago I ditched the Pro Fusion and transitioned to Proraso, a beaver brush and a Clubman aftershave. Wow what a difference – its old school, but not retro for retro’s sake – it just simply works better and feels great.

  2. Read American Psycho, there’s a 29 page chapter on shaving. And, yeah, your advise is shit.

  3. I recently moved from electric razor to old style double edge razor and started shaving in the shower. It’s so much better, no shaving cream needed, nothing. Just razor, water and fogless shower mirror. Diagonal is definitely way to go.

  4. Under the risk of not sounding masculine enough, I want to mention or rather remind fellow men that shaving with modern electrical shaver is so much safer and better for your skin. It has been pretty much proven that when actual blade meets the skin, the skin dries out and ages much quicker due to having the gentle top skin removed or at least hurt in invisble but significant ways.
    And, considering how good the newest shaving machines are, there are simply no good reason to continue shaving old-school, and there just too many other ways to enhance your masculinity than by shaving with blade.

    1. I am sorry, but this is so wrong and yet so right! Low-quality, cheap blades on dry skin are suicide for your face. You will look like a fucked up middleschooler. Middle-quality blades like the Mach3 (or comparable) will ruin you financially if you exchange them as necessary (hint: more often than you think), but they won’t ruin your skin if proper shaving procedure is observed (moisture is key, see Adam’s comment). To truly worship the fact that god has given you a penis and a beard, you have to use high-quality open blades like the Japenese Feather – your personal Samuri sword. It takes experience (3 months transition from electric by average) but there are so many advantages: cost of blades, cleanliness, perfection of cut, and the fact that it’s the best peeling (aka skin renewal) you can get.
      (I am posting here because this is absolutely a thing I am passionate about, and it just hurts to see so many men struggling or being fucked over by the industry with $200 electric razors that only provide partial value to their bodies.)

      1. Feather blades are excellent. You can buy a 50-pack for under $16 on Amazon, which will last you well over a year, maybe 2. I wouldn’t recommend shaving according to the graphic with a safety razor, especially with Feathers, you’ll cut yourself.

      2. Please tell me more about the Feather blades. I have never used them before. What specific gear should I buy when transitioning from an electric to the whole Feather blade concept. What creams, holders, accessories, etc. do I need?

        1. The video and amazon clue are already great resources. Some additional stuff you need to know: Watch out for fake Feather blades – because noone at Customs knows how real ones look like, you have a 50/50 chance of being sold crap (legit international cover says New Stainless in Yellow, google it). Also, you will cut yourself first – a lot. It’s normal, you’re a beginner. Buy Proraso “Gel Riparatore” – magic against open wounds. And do not (never ever) start with an open blade like the one in the video. Start with a “Mühle” safety razor. You do not “need” a holder or other accessories. Just air dry the razor after every use.

      3. I disagree that this takes long to learn. My very first shave with a DE safety razor was with feather blades. Before that I had been using gilette cartridges, The stupid gimmicks with a vibrator in the handle etc. After getting tired of the gimmicks i started using disposable razors. Finally I lucked out with some green BIC eco double blade razors. They stay sharp, do not clog so easily with beard, and could last 1 or 2 months with a shave 2-3 times a week. But even the BIC pales against the safety razor I a,m now using, I can shave my face with just 2 rinses and 2 shakes, much faster than i could ever di with the 4 and 5 blade razors. A week without shaving you need to first shave with a trimmer, then spend half an hour with the gilette gimmick stuff. Most of that time spent on rinsing the shaving head knocking it off against the sink, blowint on it etc. to unclog the hairs. Can’t believe I was doing that for 30 years…… With my safety razor it’s done in 2 minutes.

    2. Not every guy can use an electric shaver that well. For guys who don’t have thick beards, this might work. For me, my hair is coarse and an electric shaver doesn’t work.
      When I did use an electric shaver more than ten years ago, I used a talcum powder-based shaving stick because the oil or liquid prep, I found, gummed up the blades too much and, consequently, gave me a shitty shave. The powder worked better, but not by much. Remember that an electric razor does nothing but whittle down the hair. Under a microscope, the hair’s end looks like it was chewed up. In contrast, a blade completely slices it off.
      Also, the blades and protectors of some shavers (e.g., Remington) can be expensive. Blades for an old-fashioned safety razor are extremely cheap.

    3. I believe Barber1950 is absolutely right. There is no best between electrical shavers or blades. It depends on the man. Years ago, I purchased one of the most premium electrical shavers available, with three shaving heads. I used it for a few weeks and gave up. It couldn’t handle my rough beard, unless I passed again and again on the same areas, ultimately irritating my skin. With simple clean blades I never have irritation, and afterwards a bit of Nivea cream is enough for hydration. To me, shaving is a ritual, and the feeling afterwards gives me a kick. It’s not the wet shaving that will make your skin age! Crap food, not getting enough rest and lack of exercise, yes, those will ruin you.

    4. What a clown. Electrical razor is fine. If you think burning off your face is your idea of a shave. a tin of kerosrne and a match would do a better job, and be more gentle to your skin.

  5. I can only use an electric shaver due to having barb-wire like hair in conjunction with extraordinarily soft/sensitive skin. Close shaves are not even an option for my kneck unless I inevitably want ingrown hairs; I have even begun plucking the hairs, that commonly grow in, from my neck.

    1. Adam, it will sound weird to you – but especially for someone like you, wet shaving is way better! Your mistakes (and beginner’s solutions) are probably these: a cheap razor (e.g. buy a Mach3 electric), some noname shaving gel (e.g. get some Nivea sensitive foam), use face wash first (ph-neutral soap, even noname brands serve you here), and the utmost thing: your face skin has to be absolutely moist!! With your skin’s condition, just press a hot wet towel with both hands on your face for 5 minutes after using the face wash. Comparison: If you don’t do this, it’s like going down a water slide with no water in it.

      1. He probably also do the beginners mistake of shaving all down or all up below the jaw line, and not shaving with the grain of the hairs. I have not had a single ingrown hair in 30 years, and I always shaved with the grain.

    2. Like I already suggested, try Avene Dermo-K for prevention of ingrown hairs. Rose-water is great for appeasing the skin, and a bottle only costs as much as a beer or two. I don’t give a monkey’s if that’s not cool – it works.

  6. Should have read step 1. apply for dollar shave club to save money on razors. step 2. apply shaving gel. step 3. shave like any 14-45 year old knows how to. (seriously it’s not rocket science). Step 4. take a shower.
    Seriously I’m a fan of most things on this website but this is total shit!

    1. You think we should follow the lead of 14-15 year old boys? Because they’re such paragons of attracting the ladies?
      Umm, yeah. You’ve already discredited yourself.

  7. “You should ideally change your razor every 2 weeks.”
    Two weeks? That’s way too long. I use the green Mach 3 Turbos, which is in my opinion, the best. Don’t even bother with the pro fusion ones. They’re too big to get into the nooks and crannies. Replace your blades every 3 to 4 uses. This is well before the orange moisturizer strip runs out, but you will never deal with a dull blade.
    What? It’s too expensive? You’re a man! You should be out there getting enough bread to support your personal grooming habits. But if you always find yourself short of weed or coke money, there’s a place to get cheaper Mach 3’s; They also have a subscription program that saves you 5 percent. so you spend about $2.00 a blade. Way less than the store.
    Now if you have money to spare, there is a line of shaving products called “The Art of Shaving.” They sell a preshave oil that prevents razor bumps. My brother put me on to it. But it costs $25 a bottle.
    There are a lot of products out there, but always tend to your personal grooming.

    1. Absolutely right on replacing razors regularly. However, that will depend on the guy and the roughness of his beard (and how often he shaves). There’s Asians and Latino’s… Above all, I find “The Art of…” has a great brand ID and marketing. But honestly, more regular products do the job for me. Spend the money on other stuff. A unique, masculine fragrance, a good bottle of wine, or extra flowers for “la donna”.

  8. Let’s be honest. Everyone is different. You have to experiment and find the technique and products that work for YOU, regardless of what barbers do. If you prefer an electric shaver, that’s not less manly. The only thing that matters here is getting result: that great feeling of a freshly shaved face, without cuts and irritations. For a traditional wet shave, this is my routine 1) Hot water, 2) Apply shaving foam or gel, and leaving it “work” on the skin for a couple of minutes. (For a closer shave, I first apply shaving cream, then immediately the foam op top. But closer shaves give me the risk of ingrown hairs.) 3) Sharp, clean razor. Use short, gentle strokes. 4) Cold water. 5) Appease and hydrate: I splash rose-water (this really works for me, go ahead and try, I won’t tell anyone), then if needed I use Avene Dermo-K on my throat for care and prevention of ingrown hairs, and finally apply the good old Nivea creme (cheap+effective) on my jaw. Again, experiment with what works for you, and ditch the rest.

    1. I would not advise using a straight razor. Before the days of the safety razor men would always let a professional shave them at the barbers. Someone who had done thousands of shaves and was experienced with the razor. Besides they don’t really shave any closer than modern razors. Over the past 50 years I’ve used almost every product available, most you’ve never even heard of and after all of that I’m now using Neutrogena shave gel and a Quattrro razor ( I don’t like the 3 blade and the 5 is no better than the 4) Be sure to constantly rinse these razors.
      The most important thing is getting the bristles soft with hot water and in fact you can then even shave with no shave cream if you wanted.
      Use balm afterwards not alcohol which will only irritate. Alcohol was used in the straight razor days due to cuts and they thought it would prevent infection.Nivea replenishing is the best.

  9. Get a double-edge safety razor with some feather blades, a badger-hair brush, and some good shaving soap. All can be purchased on Amazon for under $50. I mix my lather in an old coffee mug. Warm your face with a hot towel before and rinse with cold water after. I promise it will be the best shave of your life.

  10. I am black so this does not apply to me, but i do wish I could shave with a razor in the shower. Damn white male privilege! I am now a white knight, feminist man boob now!

  11. Well, here’s what works for me.
    I have a really thick beard with fast-growing coarse hair, and it all grows in different directions. I have to shave every other day and replace the razor cartridge (Gillette Fusion) after two shaves. I actually shave in the shower. I get the shower really hot, and let it run over my face for a good two minutes, because just splashing my face with hot water isn’t enough to soften the hairs. I then run the blade under the hot water for a minute. I use fancy-ass vegetable oil based soap from Trader Joe’s lathered with hot water. I never use commercial shave cream because its cold coming out of the can, even during a hot summer, and combined with an unheated razor it rips my face to shreds.
    This works better than anything I’ve tried before, but I still get the occasional ingrown hair. Curse my half-Italian descent!!!

    1. I often boil water and pour it in the sink. Then, I mix in some cold water to get the right hot temperature, and apply it on my face with a washcloth. This really softens the hairs. To avoid ingrown hairs, make sure you do not shave too close. This is often the real cause of trouble. And as I have said on this thread, to avoid ingrown hairs on my throat, Aveda Dermo-K works for me.

    2. +1 on shaving in the shower.
      You soften the coarse hair, and open up the skin, much more than shaving at the sink.
      Plus its easier to fully clean the blades after every stroke.
      And, frankly, if your job conditions allow you to wait 2 or even 3 days between shaves, you can improve the quality and look of your shaves significantly.

    3. The commercials fro fusion and similar blade shows the different blades lifting the hair for the next blade up so that it can cut below the tip of the follicles. Sounds like a recipe for ingrown hairs to me,

  12. I use coconut oil, shave with the grain, rise the blade thoroughly, dry it with a hair drier and use some mineral oil to keep the rust off. A blade lasts me two months.

  13. Try out a straight razor. It is a better shave, a straight razor lasts ,2 generations, its a fun skill to pick up, and of course, it is very manly.

  14. Went to the barber yesterday and got my haircut and had a shave – $3. Once a month I’ll get a haircut, shave, have my ears cleaned, nose and ear hairs clipped, get a manicure and pedicure, and have my feet scrubbed. Here in Thailand I can get it all this done for around $30.

  15. I use shaving soap and a brush. I always shower first, and apply shave oil (I’ve used baby oil when I don’t have oil, but I guess Noxema or anything that will create a slick barrier works) with cream on top of that. I’ve been using a safety razor for a while now, but do still use cartridges. They MUST be sharp. I clean the blades after use with a Q-tip and alcohol. Where I disagree is with the direction of my initial pass over my face. I always go with the grain, THEN across. Under my neck I go against on the second pass, after I feel for the spots where it’s still rough.

  16. I would definitely recommend a neutral basic mugsoap and a brush and shaving after shower. Girls find the old school extremely sexy and you are bound to get some immediate morning action afterwards, sometimes even during your shave. That’s why I recommend a double blade, with a straight one you will cut yourself when she grabs your balls.

  17. Well, I use an after shave ith little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face and causes you to look older….

  18. I haven’t used shaving cream for about 5 years. I start with the grain, then across, then against. It would irritate my face to go against at first but my skin has adapted and the money I would have put toward shaving cream is now spent on Mach 5’s or whatever they’re called.
    I use the same method on my head if I’m doing that as well.

  19. Get a fuckin straight razor or a safety razor and shave like a man. You pussy. Disposable razors are for high school kids and women who shave their legs. Also invest in a brush and some Williams mug shave soap for your face. All these fancy 4 blade razors and shit now a days. 23.99 to shave my face? If you’re not shaving your face with a safety razor or a straight razor…you’re shaving your vaginal.

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