When it comes to growing out a beard for the very first time, many men often wonder when they should start to shave or trim their facial hair.
Whether there is a bit of patchy fuzz or simply a full beard growing in, it really comes down to personal preference and what type of look you are going for.
I would be remiss if I didn’t first touch on just how popular beards are nowadays. Tools of Men recently conducted a poll and found out that women prefer men with a bit of stubble on their face as opposed to a clean shaven look.
But whenever you bring a razor to your face for the very first time there are a lot of myths and just generally bad information that gets spread around on the internet that often leads to even further confusion and ultimately the beginnings of bad habits.
If Your Facial Hair Starts Growing In – Should You Shave It Immediately?
Everyone’s facial hair comes in at different ages in their life – however generally some men may start to experience the beginnings of their beard growth in their mid to late teenage years.
Now when it does start to grow in, it’s completely up to you on whether you want to shave it off.
Typically, when the hairs start to sprout up, they tend to be a bit thinner/finer in diameter and appearance.
But if you are noticing that its patchy initially, some men may try to put minoxidil on their beard in order to fill in the patches. However, if you are in your late teenage years we wouldn’t recommend taking this action until you know for sure that you have a patchy beard permanently (i.e. when you are in your mid or later 20s).
It’s important, especially in your teenage years, to let your beard grow naturally.
Now when it comes to shaving, its largely a personal preference. There is no ‘minimum’ age per se that comes with shaving. If you notice facial hair – it’s completely ok to shave it off.
However, we will say that the types of tools and supporting products that you use to conduct the shave can make a huge difference on the overall performance, effectiveness, and ultimately the comfort of your shave.
We will dive into the details on some recommended tools in just a minute – but first off we need to tackle the classic myth:
Does Shaving Your Hair Make It Grow Back Coarser? Thicker? Faster?
To answer this simply – no.
Shaving your facial hair (or any part of your body) isn’t going to suddenly make it grow back at a faster rate than what it was growing at before.
There are a few reasons for this common misconception.
First and foremost, when most men begin to shave in their latter teenage years, they are still growing in their beard for the very first time.
Therefore, it may seem like shaving is causing hair growth, however this is just a common coincidence.
Secondly, many men feel that their hair seems incredibly coarser or thicker after taking a razor blade over their skin.
And with good reason:
The reason why your hair seems so much thicker or coarse is how it appears on your skin.
You see hair follicles in general tend to be a bit thicker towards the base of the root and thinner at the top.
When you shave your face, you never truly shave beneath the surface of the skin.
Sure there are razor companies that say their blades will ‘lift and cut’ the hair follicle to get a closer shave, but the fact does remain – the root of your hair follicle still remains intact.
When you look at your skin closely, you are looking at the thickest point of the hair follicle (that you can see) making it appear that your hair is now thicker.
I go on to talk about this extensively in this video as well too:
How Do You Achieve That Close (i.e. Clean Shaven) Look?
To achieve that often desired ‘baby butt smooth’ look on your face really depends on the tool that you use.
If you are a first time shaver, chances are you are likely using a cartridge razor. However, with how stacked the competition is out there with razors, we would recommend trying out one of the best ones we reviewed in our comprehensive reviews of cartridge razors.
Now when using a cartridge razor (or disposable razor for that manner), you want to make sure that you always go with the grain.
While it may be incredibly tempting to go against the grain since it will cut the hairs at even a deeper level – which will equate to more of a smooth surface afterwards – when you cut with the grain you will lessen your chances of developing ingrown hairs.
In addition, when you shave with the grain, you will also decrease the chance of developing any post skin irritation or razor bumps.
If it’s your first time shaving, it’s incredibly important to understand how your facial hair is growing in.
What you may have learned from either your dad or favorite YouTuber likely isn’t going to be the best method for you – this took me waaay to long to figure out on myself!
While most men’s facial hair on their cheeks may grow in a downward direction, when it comes to the neck area – it grows in all sorts of different directions.
Therefore, take the time to look in the mirror and examine the general growth pattern – and remember to shave with the grain.
Now this all holds true in some sense for a traditional double edge safety razor.
If you aren’t aware what a double edge safety razor is, we go into great extent on how it plays into all the razor types in this article.
Double edge safety razors have seen a recent resurgence among both young and older men alike. The reason for their sudden popularity is for a couple of reasons.
First and foremost, they are incredibly cheap to own when compared to their more expensive cartridge razor counterpart.
In addition, they provide you with total control over the shaving process – for better or worse.
While your chance of getting nicked with a cartridge razor is nearly impossible, safety razor do require a learning curve that will likely cause a few nasty nicks in the process – even if you purchase the best double edge on the market.
However, with a double edge safety razor, you essentially will make three passes with the blade when you shave.
And they are:
- With the grain – this will be responsible for largely cutting down all the hair to almost skin level.
- Across the grain – this will help to further reduce the hair follicle down to skin level.
- Against the grain – this will cut the hair at just a fraction below the surface of the skin in order to achieve that silky smooth finish.
Now given that safety razors don’t employ the ‘lift and cut’ technology found in cartridge razors – the chances of developing an ingrown hair or skin irritation is drastically reduced.
Lastly, when it comes to frequency, it largely depends on your genetic make-up.
Some men naturally have thicker or coarser hair. Therefore, they will want to shave on a daily basis as your hair follicle is likely way more prominent. Whereas other fairer skin men that may have lighter hair can get away a couple of days without shaving due to their hair follicles simply being not noticeable.
Point is – if your job demands a clean shaven look – then we would recommend shaving either daily or once every couple of days.
Full review of the best cartridge razors on the market.
Full review of the best double edge safety razors.
Going For A Bit of Stubble? Then A Beard Trimmer Is Better
Now if you have the luxury of not being required to shave every day and prefer to have a bit of stubble. Then you simply can’t go wrong with a beard trimmer.
Beard trimmers are great for so many reasons.
First and foremost, its physically impossible to get any sort of skin irritation with a beard trimmer. It’s ability to cut your hair at just a fraction above the surface of the skin allows for the blade to never actually touch your skin.
In addition, in a poll that we conducted, women find men with a bit of stubble incredibly attractive.
Also with a beard trimmer, you can keep it at the exact same length as well with their pre-determined settings for extra convenience.
To boot, they are also pretty competitively priced compared to cartridge razor or electric shavers.
Set Yourself Up For Success: Invest In The Right Routine
Whether it’s your first or hundredth shave, the products that you use on a regular basis can make an enormous impact on how your razor performs along with the comfort you experience post-shave.
When you rely on products that are inferior, chances are that your skin will get incredibly dried out and ultimately leave you with the post shave blues of general skin irritation and razor bumps.
Therefore, its strongly recommended by wet shavers everywhere to invest in some of the right products to get you started:
Pre Shave Oil Will Help Provide The Lubrication
Pre shave oil is a mixture of carrier oils and a few essential oils which acts as a protective barrier for your skin that will help the razor blade to glide effortlessly without any chopping or skipping.
Pre shave oil works in tandem with a shaving cream to keep your skin well-nourished and moisturized throughout the entire shaving process.
Ingredients contained within the pre shave oil typically will be carrier oils like jojoba oil or castor oil which act as natural humectants. Essential oils are also found in pre shave oils and tend to be typically of the sandalwood or tea tree oil variety. These essential oils can be effective at being an antiseptic which in turn lowers the risk for post-shave skin irritation.
Reviews of the best pre shave oils.
Shaving Cream Should Be Finely Crafted
A quality shaving cream can make all the difference when it comes to how your razor blade performs.
Therefore, you never want to get a cheap shaving cream that doesn’t provide a well lubricated cushion for your razor blade.
Instead, you want to go with one that typically is housed in a tube or tub that requires you to whip up a lather. This gives you full control that will bring out the best properties of the shave – just don’t forget the required shaving brush.
Reviews of the best shaving creams.
Aftershave Balms Will Leave Your Skin Feeling Smooth and Nourished
You might have heard of aftershave – typically the association that many men have about this product is that it will sting incessantly when applied to your face.
This is true…
For the cheap aftershave splashes and lotions that rely on alcohol to clean out your pores.
Instead you want to go for the aftershave balm that doesn’t sing. Balms are loaded with great moisturizing agents that will keep your skin feeling smooth long after you left the bathroom – and they smell pretty great too!
Reviews of the best aftershave balms.
Your Tool of Choice Shouldn’t Come In Packs of 10 – Go With a DE Razor or Cartridge Razor
If you are looking to completely clear out all your facial hair effectively, then you simply can’t go wrong with a top notch double edge safety razor (DE Razors).
DE razors are incredibly affordable once you can swallow the initial investment costs. Their cost to refill the blade is only pennies when compared to the couple of dollars that are demanded by more expensive and heavily marketed cartridge razor counterparts.
While DE razors have a low long term cost, they do require some practice. To be perfectly frank, when using a DE razor, the first couple of times you are likely going to cut yourself. However, after about a week or two worth of practice you should have the technique down pat.
To save some money on a DE razor, we do recommend checking out a complete shaving kit that includes all the required gear.
Now if the whole traditional wet shaving with a DE razor isn’t your cup of tea, a cartridge razor like the one we reviewed here will still do a terrific job at getting a close shave. We found when reviewing this particular razor that we never nicked ourselves – not even once!
Of course as well, with the sudden popularity of shave clubs – you can definitely check out a subscription based model if you plan on shaving regularly.