Tired of razor bumps under your jawline and the five o’clock shadow on your neck?
Shaving your neck might be, well, a pain in the neck.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Your face shaving technique might be perfect, but that doesn’t mean you should use the same shaving technique for your neck.
Your Neck is Important, Too!
There is perhaps nothing more enjoyable than that clean post-shave feel early in the morning after a nice hot shower. There is perhaps no better way to start your day.
But the chore of shaving can eclipse the enjoy-ability factor, especially when particular aspects of your shave become less-than-perfect trouble spots. The area that is perhaps the most difficult for many a wet shaver is the area around and under the chin.
Despite its difficulty, a little bit of patience and practice will ensure you can master the art of shaving your chin and under your chin–regardless of your weapon of choice (safety razor vs. straight razor).
When it comes to shaving your chin and under your chin, there are several pointers that will become essential to ensuring your shave is as pleasant as possible.
Table of Contents
- Your Neck Hair Grows Differently!
- Quick Tips for Shaving Your Chin
- Shave Your Neck Fuzz
- Shaving the Right Way Means One Less Pain in the Neck
Your Neck Hair Grows Differently!
Firstly, the hair on your neck usually grows in a different direction than facial hair. Secondly, the skin on your neck is just as sensitive as it is on your face. Therefore, it deserves its own shaving technique and care.
Here are some tips and tricks on how to get a closer, smoother, comfortable, and better-looking shave on your neck—without the irritation.
1. Find the Grain
Shaving with or against the grain on your face is easy for most men. This is because facial hair typically grows in the same direction. This isn’t necessarily the case with your neck. In fact, neck hair on some men even grows in a circular pattern. If you tried to shave and follow that hair pattern the same way you shave your face, then you would be in for a hard time—and a not-so-great shave.
So how do you find the grain on your neck? Here are some tips and tricks to start with:
- Find a printable or interactive face map. (You can find plenty of face map examples online.)
- Shave your neck, then allow the stubble to grow out for approximately one day.
- Stand in front of a mirror and use your fingers to manipulate your hair growth in each portion of the face map.
- On the face map, record the direction your hair grows in on each spot. Now you have a handy and completely personalized reference guide.
A face map is made up with many little boxes. Using a face map might seem overwhelming the first time you look at or try to use one. However, if you take your time, and fill in each box as you go, you can ensure that every inch of your neck will be super smooth after your next shave.
2. Ease Into Shaving Against the Grain
You might be tempted to start immediately shaving against the grain in order to get a closer shave, but don’t. Once you’ve completed your face map, spend the next few days shaving with the grain. map out your facial hair growth patternsIn order to understand the your own grain, it is first advised that you.
Chances are that your neck skin is irritated from your previous less-than-optimal shaving technique. Therefore, it’s important to allow your face a little time to heal before you go for a super-close shave. Shaving with the grain leaves some stubble behind, but near-invisible stubble is always better than painful razor bumps and embarrassing redness.
After approximately four or five days of shaving with the grain, assess the response from your skin. If there isn’t any redness or irritation after shaving, then it is likely safe to begin shaving against the grain for a closer neck shave.
3. Get the Right Razor
You simply can’t get a great neck shave with a cheap cartridge razor, so don’t even try. If you’re reading this article, you have probably figured that out already—the hard way.
Cartridge razors have too many blades and parts that pivot, which can increase pressure and friction, leaving irritated and painful razor burn bumps and ingrown hairs behind. Remember, every extra blade on your razor is another sharp edge that can catch on the skin of your neck as you move around the curves of your face and your Adam’s apple.
Instead, consider using a single-blade safety razor. A classic double-edge is usually easy for beginners to get accustomed to, and it is also forgiving enough to minimize irritation around your jawline and other sensitive areas of the neck.
Quick Tips for Shaving Your Chin
The first and most critical component of a good shave on both chin and face is proper shave preparation. The right prep ensures the hairs and skin are soft and supple enough to easily slice with your razor of choice. The easier the hairs are to remove, the better the shave will be. When it comes to preparing your chin and under your chin it is often helpful to prepare the entire face with a nice slick coat of shaving soap or shaving cream and your favorite shaving brush. Then, plan on shaving the chin and under the chin as the last step. This will ensure that area in particular has ample time to absorb the moisture, thereby making it easier to shave.
Whether you are using a cartridge razor, a safety razor or a straight razor, the angle of the shave matters. The benefit of your average cartridge razor is the pivot head which moves as you take large swipes across your face. Contrast this strategy with the pivot-less head of a safety razor and you will note the need to manually adjust the razor to ensure you still maintain a 30-degree with each pass. This means each stroke of the blade will need to be shorter and your wrist will then become the pivot mechanism.
This method of shaving is certainly more manual, but it also will allow you to make your shave much more customized.
Tilt Your Noggin’
When shaving your chin and under your chin tilting your head back does a couple of things. First, it makes the skin under the chin taut, allowing for a more smooth, level surface for cutting the hair.
In some cases (especially when the under-chin is more fleshy), simply tilting the head will not produce the desired tautness for a good cut. If this is the case, simply use your free hand to pull and tighten the skin in the area the razor blade will be gliding, allowing for a more smooth pass as you progress through your shave.
Shave with the Grain
Shaving with the grain–at least for your first pass–ensures less irritation and will make the area more prepared for passes two and three (if you so desire). But, don’t go against the grain on your first pass. Blood and skin irritation are more likely to result.
Apply Little Pressure
Do not apply manual pressure. Get a good heavy-handled safety razor and let the weight of the razor and gravity do the work.
Use Short Strokes
Short strokes will provide you with much more control over the speed, the pressure and the angle especially as the surface of the skin and the direction of the hair changes.
Shaving around, on and under the chin and jawline can take some practice and patience. Before you adequately progress down the wet shaving learning curve, a styptic pencil, antiseptic or alum block may be helpful in alleviating skin irritations and weepers. As with anything that requires skill, the art of shaving will require some practice and patience before you reach true wet shaving perfection. And, as any good wet shaver will attest, even they have bad facial hair days on occasion. But, getting through the difficult problem areas–which include the chin and jawline–will make the rest of the process that much more smooth.
What’s your chin and under the chin shaving methodology? What type of razor do you use?
Shave Your Neck Fuzz
A personal pet peeve of mine is to see people with a well-groomed face, but a neckline that looks like the back of a chimpanzee. You know what I’m talking about.
Barbers will typically create a new, logically-natural break between where the hair grows on the head and where it begins at the neck. On some of the most beastly men, that line might be blurred…a lot. The peeve’s source is from those who groom the head and face by regularly shaving, but who fail to groom their neck.
This is certainly no Cardinal Sin, but it definitely not the most well-rounded method for full maintenance and grooming.
Even if it has been a while since you have visited the barber, you can still take the time to lather up your neck with you shaving brush and chop down the high brush with a single pass (no multiple passes needed). It should be part of one’s regular shave routine. Unfortunately, some men fail in this regard.
Unfortunately, it is most often a failure of those who need it most–those men among us whose head-hair really never stops:
For those among us who do not maintain the neck brush, you can start today by buying a razor online and manscaping that stuff. And, if you know someone with this unfortunate genetic normality that could be tied to the apes, you can buy one for them as a gift. Everyone else will thank you.
Shaving the Right Way Means One Less Pain in the Neck
A smooth shave on your neck is entirely possible, no matter how irritated your skin is today. Take some time to give the skin on your neck a break and time to heal before switching up your shaving technique and the direction in which you shave.
You’ll be back to clear, smooth, healthy skin in no time!