A well-groomed beard or clean-shaven face both look slick and professional, while stubble of any kind can range from rebellious to slothful. It’s one thing if you’ve cultivated your shave, but what if your five o’clock shadow is showing up around lunchtime?
Facial hair grows at different rates for different men, depending on factors such as the color and thickness of the hair follicle itself as well as your testosterone level. If you’re having trouble making your shave last all day, you may need to compensate by prepping your face, using a better quality razor, and improving your overall technique.
Keep reading to learn how long your shave should last and some quick tips for a longer-lasting shave.
How Long Does Your Shave Last on Your Face?
There are several factors that affect when you need to shave – some men seem like they could shave two or three times a day while others only need to pull out the razor once a month – and only some of them are under your control.
No matter how long it takes for your stubble to be obvious, your goal should be for your shave to last throughout the day. Depending on your personal factors, you may have to put in a little more work to make that happen.
Factors affecting your shave that you can’t control:
- Hair color – In general, darker hair tends to be more obvious than lighter hair, even at the same growth level.
- Skin color – The contrast between your skin color and your hair color will also affect how obvious the stubble is. For example, dark hair on a fair skin is much more obvious than ginger hair on the same complexion.
- Hair thickness – Similar to hair color, the thicker hair is more obvious against the skin. This is especially true of thick, dark hair. Thicker hair can also dull a razor faster than fine hair.
- Speed of hair growth – This may seem obvious, but if your facial hair grows quickly, your stubble will be visible sooner than someone whose hair grows slowly.
- Testosterone – These hormones control hair growth, and are determined by your genetics.
- Age – Throughout your life, your hair will continue to change and will probably go through several changes in color, texture, and thickness as you age.
Factors affecting your shave that you can control:
Quality of your shave – There are many elements encompassed in the quality of your shave and those will be discussed in detail later, but the takeaway here is that a better shave is a longer-lasting shave.
How often should a man shave his face?
Even if you have a carefully cultivated beard, it’s not a bad idea to shave your face completely occasionally, but you will probably want to shave your neck stubble once or twice a week.
As a general rule, you should shave as often as necessary. For most men, this will probably be first thing in the morning before work.
Many have such slow growth it could be just once in the morning. But if your facial hair grows at a fast rate, you might want to shave twice a day – and if this is you, you’ll want to know how to make your shave a long-lasting one.
How to make a shave last longer
There’s something very satisfying about a truly close shave. I always get a shave when I’m at the barbershop for a haircut because it’s honestly such a treat.
It may not be exactly the same experience, but you can take these steps toward recreating that smooth, long-lasting shave at home:
- prep your face
- apply a good quality shaving cream
- use a sharp, high-quality razor
- shave with – then against – the grain
- use short strokes
- rinse your razor frequently
- splash your face with cool water
- finish up with an aftershave balm
Prep your face
Is shaving a painful and rushed chore? Why not make shaving an enjoyable part of your morning? It starts with a face well-prepared for a close, comfortable shave.
Soften your facial hair either by taking a nice warm shower before shaving or using a hot towel for the same effect. That towel at the barbershop isn’t just for relaxation – it serves a purpose!
The hot water helps to open your pores, soften your skin, and smooth out the hairs so they are easier to cut.
Apply a good quality shaving cream
Canned shaving cream may be convenient, but it’s not the best option if you’re looking for a close, smooth shave.
There are loads of great shaving creams and gels available these days, but you’ll want to focus on finding one that:
- Doesn’t irritate your skin – Many popular shaving creams have ingredients that may can irritate sensitive skin. Irritated skin isn’t smooth skin.
- Doesn’t foam – A rich, thick cream will give you a better shave than a light foam.
- Hydrates your skin – Many creams have moisturizing oils that will help the blade glide over your skin and help not to dry it out.
If you want your at-home shave to be a relaxing experience, consider investing in a nice shaving kit with a brush and a bar of shaving soap.
To use your kit, just add a little water and stir the brush to lather up the soap. Gather the lather on the brush then dab and brush it all over your stubble. The brush massages your face softening your whiskers even more. The soft bristles feel luxurious and the brush gets the lather to every follicle and pore. Wait two minutes to allow it to soak in before shaving.
Use a sharp, high-quality razor
With the number and styles of razors available, you may be surprised to learn that not all of them provide the kind of shave that is meant to last all day.
Electric razors, inexpensive disposable razors, and even some disposable cartridges will provide a subpar shave if you’re looking for something truly smooth and long-lasting. Instead, consider a safety razor or even a straight razor for the best result.
Despite what you see on TV commercials, it is still best to soften your facial hair before using an electric razor. If you buy one, be sure it works with moisture.
Many models will do a decent job overall, but they are not for those who want a longer-lasting shave.
They just don’t provide that close of a shave.
As they say, you get what you pay for, and this is definitely true with disposable razors.
Even with a softened beard, disposable blades tend to already be dull or get dull quickly and tend not to be made of high-quality materials.
The chief cause of razor burn is a dull blade.
Multi-blade replaceable cartridge razors may seem like a good idea: two to five blades working as one.
The idea here is that the multiple blades are set at slightly different angles creating a faster, closer shave compared to a single blade. Unfortunately, they are also harder to clean and tend to irritate sensitive skin.
A safety razor is a traditional construction that provides the most comfortable, closest shave available at home when used properly.
While the razor may be a little more expensive upfront, even very nice replacement razor blades are fairly affordable and will be more economical in the long run.
These are the razors you see in horror movies.
While they’re not actually that scary when used properly (you’re not scared of your kitchen knife, are you?), they do require serious time and practice to get right.
Typically, these are best left to experienced barbers.
Shave with – then against – the grain
Facial hair usually grows in several different directions so one pass isn’t enough to get a truly close shave.
Gently stroke your blade in the grain of your facial hair, the direction the hair grows. Then draw the razor in the other direction.
Use short strokes
Make short strokes with light pressure to avoid razor burn.
Short, careful strokes going in multiple directions will give you an exceptionally smooth shave.
Rinse your razor frequently
Use hot water to frequently rinse the lather and shaved facial hair from your razor.
This will make your shave much more comfortable and result in fewer nicks.
Splash your face with cool water
Examine your work. If you missed a few places, lather up again and shave a second time concentrating on areas you didn’t get.
Once you’re happy with your shave, splash your face with cool water.
This will remove any remaining shaving cream and help to close your pores.
Finish up with an aftershave balm
Most traditional aftershaves are loaded with alcohol and burn your face when applied. These should be avoided in favor of a nicer, more moisturizing aftershave balm.
A good aftershave balm will help soothe, hydrate, and protect your skin until your next shave.