Should You Shave Before or After a Shower? The Pros & Cons

shave before or after shower

Ah, the age-old question: should I shave before or after my shower?

Some guys swear by one or the other, but the truth is, there are advantages to both. So, if you’re not sure which one is right for you, keep reading, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

In this handy guide, we’ll not only cover the pros and cons of shaving before, after, or in the shower, we’ll also give you some tips on whichever method you choose.

4 Questions to ask for determining when to shave (Before or after shower)

These questions will address some of the top things you need to know when deciding the best time to shave.

Are you shaving or trimming?

One of the first things to consider is whether you’re actually shaving, as in removing the hair completely, down to the skin… or whether you’re just trimming.

Because there are some advantages to shaving after you shower. But if you just want to clean up the edges of your beard or cut it down a little shorter, that’s a before-shower kind of job.

Why?

For starters, when your hair is dry and standing up straight, it’s easier to trim. If you’re trimming the sides of your beard, for instance, the hair is more separated, so you’ll be able to cut the hairs you want to and avoid the ones you don’t.

Meanwhile, you’ll have a better idea of your hair’s true length, so you can shorten it exactly how you want it.

But there’s one other reason – and if you’ve ever found yourself at work, with a bunch of dry, itchy beard hairs driving you crazy under your shirt, you already know what we mean.

A post-trim shower will help deal with all of those loose hairs that are left behind after you touch up your beard.

What kind of razor are you using?

Another big factor to consider is the type of razor you’re using since different razors respond differently to different hair and skin types.

On one hand, more traditional razors, whether it’s a straight razor, safety razor, or just a cheap disposable, tend to do better after a shower.

That’s because the warm water’s effects on your face, which includes relaxing your skin, opening your pores, and softening your hair, are all positives when it comes to traditional razors, giving you a smoother, closer, and less irritating shave.

However, electric razors are something of a different story.

For starters, while there are electric razors that can handle both wet and dry shaving – and even some that are completely waterproof – most are better suited for dry shaving.

It’s actually harder for them to deal with soft, damp post-shower hair, as opposed to your normal, dry pre-shower ‘do.

Plus, electric razors don’t cut quite as close as, say, a straight razor – and they’re designed to be less irritating, too.

Meaning that you don’t really benefit from the relaxed skin and opened pores provided by a warm shower.

What part of your body are you shaving?

For most of this article, we’ll be focusing on shaving your facial hair. After all, that’s the most common place to shave.

But of course, it’s not the only place to shave.

Plenty of guys shave their heads. The more adventurous men, the “smooth operators”, as we’ll call them, shave their naughty bits. And some fellas even shave their backs, chest, armpits, etc.

But we’ll make this easy on you: whether you’re shaving your head, torso, or your plums, post-shower is the way to go.

What is your hair and skin type?

We’ve already touched on the shower’s ability to open pores and soften hair follicles, which often leads to a superior shave.

But here’s the thing:

Not all guys have the same hair or skin type to begin with.

For instance, some bros already have relatively soft hair and/or open pores. For them, a shower may be less necessary… or even make the hair too soft, believe it or not.

On the other hand, there are men who have naturally dry skin and hair or closed pores, for whom a shower becomes that much more beneficial – and even a necessity.

So, it’s definitely worth considering your own hair and skin type when pondering the pre- vs. post-shower conundrum. It’s also worth experimenting a bit, to see which one works best for you personally.

Advantages to shaving before you shower

There are several big advantages to shaving before you shower, which we’ve highlighted for you here.

Takes less time

While plenty of preparation leads to a better shave, it doesn’t lead to a faster shave. In fact, it’s a lot quicker to simply shave first, hop in the shower, and then head out the door.

Creates less mess

No one wants a bunch of random hairs stuck to their face, chin, neck, and chest throughout the day. Fortunately, a post-shave shower will get you sparkling clean, without having to hunt down every rogue strand.

Easier for trimming

Hey, we’re a beard site. We’re all for keeping that mane intact. But a good beard still needs a good trim. And it’s a lot easier to do so when it’s dry.

Better for electric razors

There are various types of electric razor heads and blades out there, but they tend to work better with dry hair that’s standing straight up rather than the wet, soft, laying down hair that a shower leaves you with.

Advantages to shaving after you shower

We’ll cover all the pros and cons of post-shower shaving throughout this guide, but here’s a quick list for easy reference.

Opens skin pores

Open pores create the environment for a clean, smooth, irritation-free shave. And what’s one of the easiest ways to open your pores? That’s right, warm water.

Exfoliates and cleanses the skin

Unfortunately, open pores can pick up all kinds of icky gunk from your skin and the air, creating irritation and breakouts. But of course, a shower will clean your skin off beforehand, so that’s not a problem.

Softens hair follicles

Now, a good razor can cut through pretty much any hair you throw at it, thick or thin, short or long, dry or soft.

But less ideal (thick, long, and/or dry) will take a little more effort – and maybe a few more passes.

When using a traditional razor, you want hair that’s a bit softer, for that smooth and effortless shave.

Less irritation when shaving

All of the above advantages not only lead to a closer, smoother shave, they’ll also help you avoid irritation. That’s a huge benefit, especially if you’re prone to razor burn or bumps.

What about shaving in the shower?

With all this back and forth about shaving before or after a shower, the question is bound to come up: what about shaving in the shower?

After all, it’s kind of the middle ground, right? Perhaps it’s the best of both worlds?

Well, kinda.

First, let’s consider the benefits of shaving in the shower. Because in a lot of ways, it actually combines some of the best advantages from the pre- and post-shower camps.

It’s less messy and time-consuming, while on the other hand properly preparing your skin, including softening hair and washing off any lingering grime.

You can even get away with shaving in the shower with no shaving cream or oil, since your skin is already wet.

On the other hand, it also has some distinct disadvantages that you won’t find when shaving outside of the shower.

Disadvantages of shaving in the shower

Need the right tools

It is possible to shave in the shower completely “blind”, without the aid of a mirror.

But it’s probably not going to turn out that great, and you’ll have to finish the shave once you get out to catch all those random hairs you missed.

So, at the very least, you’ll need a special mirror for your shower, one that won’t fog up with the steam. And you may need other stuff, like a different razor. For instance, most electric razors are a no-go in the shower.

Can cause accidents

If you thought that fancy straight razor of yours was sensitive outside of the shower, now try it with wet hands, water splashing on your shoulders, and more dripping down your face.

Even a disposable can be harder to grip and maneuver in those situations. And that can lead to more shaving “accidents”, including cuts, nicks, and worse.

Too long in the water

As we’ll talk about in more detail later, staying too long under warm or hot water can cause problems for your face and skin, including redness, drying, and irritation.

And well, if you include your actual shower, from washing your body to preparing your face, along with the actual shaving process, it’s really easy to cross that line into “too long” territory.

Unless you rush, which can lead to more cuts or a bad shave. And it’s not that fun either.

Wasted (hot) water

Water doesn’t grow on trees. And neither does money. In other words, water ain’t free.

Plus, most people’s hot water tank ain’t unlimited either.

So, while you’re standing there in the shower shaving, you’re both increasing your water bill and decreasing the amount of hot water the next person to shower will have.

This can be especially troublesome if the person that’s waiting to use the bathroom and the person that pays your water bill are the same. Sorry, mom!

As you can see, there are some definite advantages to shaving in the shower. But it’s still a compromise. It could be a good idea in some situations – and some guys may even prefer it – but it can’t be considered a true “best of both worlds”. It’s a trade-off.

When should you shave before a shower?

Still can’t decide whether to shave before or after your shower? We’ll make it easy on ya, by highlighting a few common situations where shaving before your shower is a good idea.

When you’re in a rush

Crunched for time? Hot date in 30 minutes?

Then shaving before your shower is your best bet. It’ll save you effort and energy on preparation and cleanup, allowing you to get your face baby smooth – and out the door – in record time.

When you want minimal mess

One of the best things about shaving before your shower is how fresh and clean your shower will leave your newly shaved skin.

No random hairs under your chin (or down your shirt), no shaving cream hiding behind your ear. Just oh so well-groomed and sexy.

When you’re just trimming

Should you shave your beard before or after a shower?

If you’re just doing a little trim, a little touch-up, whether it’s shortening your beard or cleaning up the sides, there’s really no reason to shower first. There’s not much benefit.

In fact, you’ll get better results doing your thang pre-shower, especially if you’re using an electric razor. Dry facial hair is easier to manscape to your liking, with just the right style and barber-shop sharp edges.

When you’re using an electric razor

Electric razors have come a long way, and these days, there are even some really nice waterproof ones. But most, if not all, electric shavers still perform better on dry hair and skin. And a decent one shouldn’t cause much irritation anyways.

That goes for foil heads, rotary blades, and everything in between.

Tips for shaving before a shower

If you’re going for the before shower shave, here are a few tips to make sure it’s a good one.

Take care of your razor

take care of your razor

A sharp razor is a good razor. It’s that simple.

But when you’re shaving before your shower, when your skin and hair are less prepared, your razor’s sharpness becomes that much more important.

Because drier, harder hair is more difficult for the blade to cut. And thus, you want a razor that’s better at, well, cutting. Sharper, in other words.

And that sharper razor will also travel more smoothly over the skin, since it’s not getting caught up and stuck on your hair follicles. And that means less irritation.

In short, if you’re gonna join #teamshavebeforeshower, make sure to take proper care of your razors.

Keep your traditional razors sharpened, your electric razors clean, and make sure to actually dispose of your disposable razors – or at least their heads – when they start getting dull.

Use a hot towel

use a hot towel

Even if you’re shaving before your shower, you can still get many of the same benefits of warm water.

How?

By using a warm, wet washcloth or towel and letting it sit on your face for a few minutes. It’ll open your pores, soften your hair, and otherwise prepare your face for a great shave… without the shower.

Cleanse or exfoliate your face

cleanse your face

One of the advantages of the post-shave shower is that your face is pretty much guaranteed to be clean afterward, whether you have a dedicated face washing routine or you just let the running water do its thing.

But of course, it’s not like you can’t wash your face at the sink. It just becomes a more important – but oft-forgotten – step.

If you’re using a hot towel like suggested above, that’ll help, but we’d also recommend using some kind of a facial wash, cleanser, or exfoliating product as well for maximum results.

Use pre-shave oil and/or shaving cream

use pre shave oil

Again, a shower is a great way to prepare your face for a shave.

But it’s not the only way.

A good pre-shave oil will handle the task quite nicely, basically oilin’ your face up like a greased pig. Okay, maybe that’s not the best comparison. But it will give you a smoother, closer shave though, for sure.

Of course, there’s always shaving cream.

This stuff is synonymous with shaving for a reason. It’s the ol’ standby, a real classic. Just be aware that the cheap stuff can cause breakouts, irritation, or other issues, so stick with a quality brand.

You can even combine pre-shave oil and cream if you want, but it’s definitely not necessary.

Apply aftershave and/or moisturizer

use aftershave

Remember all that stuff we said about opening your pores and how good it is for shaving? Well, there’s a reason your pores are closed in the first place.

Once you’re finished shaving, you don’t actually want them to stay open.

You can close them with a bit of cold water, but a top-notch aftershave is even better since it’ll both close your pores and keep any unwanted gunk from getting trapped in them, along with soothing and rejuvenating your skin.

Plus, it smells great. And women love a man who smells good.

You should also consider moisturizing. Yeah, we get it… moisturizing may not be the most masculine-sounding grooming activity out there. But do you want to look and feel good, or not?

A quality moisturizer will not only soothe any irritation and eliminate any drying that may have been caused by shaving, it’ll keep your skin looking better and healthier in the long run.

When should you shave after your shower

If you’re still feeling indecisive or confused, this is the section for you. Here are a few common scenarios when the after-shower shave is the best bet.

When you want the best possible shave

A post-shower shave is the best shave. But there are two meanings to “best” here.

One is referring to a shave that’s close, smooth, and downright immaculate. It’s magazine-cover, boardroom-level clean.

And the other “best” is referring to a shave that’s less irritating, more efficient, and won’t leave behind all kinds of nasty little cuts and nicks.

In short, not only will shaving after a shower give you the nicest looking shave, it’ll give you the nicest feeling shave too.

When you’re using a straight or safety razor

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with an electric razor or even a good disposable.

But for that super sexy, top-notch shave, you really can’t beat a classic straight or safety razor. And man, are they satisfying to use, once you get the hang of one.

That being said, these bad boys thrive in an optimum environment, meaning soft, clean, freshly-washed skin and facial hair.

The last thing you want is that sharp blade scratching against your dry face.

That’s not the way.

So, do yourself a favor and jump in the shower first.

When you have dry or irritation-prone hair or skin

Different guys have different skin types, from oily and tough to dry and sensitive.

If you’re in the oily, tough, or average camp, a drier shave done with less preparation may not be so bad. Sure, you might have a little more irritation than normal, but you don’t usually have much irritation to begin with, so it’s all good.

Those guys whose skin is naturally dry or sensitive don’t really have that luxury. For a decent shave with minimal irritation, they simply need to prepare their face and hair properly.

Now, this can be done at the sink, but it’s a lot easier to do in the shower. Just make sure you follow our tips below about not using water that’s too hot or staying in for too long, since those can be just as problematic.

When you’re shaving your head or body hair

For shaving your head, there are advantages to handling business before or after your bath.

But for shaving your head or body hair (chest, back, pubes, etc.), things become a lot more clear cut. That is, if you’re using a traditional razor, shaving after or possibly in the shower is your best option.

And there are several reasons for that, including the fact that body hair tends to be drier and stiffer than the hair on your head or face, and certain areas – especially “down below” – are very susceptible to razor bumps and burn.

The only exception here would be if you’re using certain types of electrical razors, which may perform better on dry hair.

Tips for shaving after a shower

So, you’ve decided to go for the classic post-shower shave, eh? Here are a few tips to make sure it’s a good one.

Use the right water temperature

When it comes to shaving, warm water good, cold water bad, at least for the most part.

That being said, as the water temperature creeps up from warm to very warm to hot to steaming, the benefits actually start becoming detriments.

Almost all of us have experienced this first hand at least once in our life.

We get a little carried away with our steaming hot shower, and by the time we get out, dry off, and step in front of the bathroom mirror, our skin is red and tender.

And somehow, that excess hot water actually left it drier than before, even to the point of flaking.

Needless to say, this isn’t a good thing for shaving. It’s both less comfortable and less effective, giving you a worse shave and more irritation.

So, yes, warm water is a good thing for shaving, and we know it feels good. But try not to get too carried away with the hot water knob. The water temperature should be warm, even a little steamy, but not scalding.

Don’t spend too long in the shower

The other thing to watch out for is the length of your shower. Because spending too long in a shower that’s in the Goldilocks level of “just right” warm can have the same effects – overly dry, soft, or sensitive skin and hair – like water that’s too hot.

Again, we know that warm water feels good, but don’t spend 30 minutes doing shower karaoke, at least not if you’re planning to shave when you get out.

You just need long enough to wash up, do your thang, and get out and dried off.

Don’t wait too long to start

Okay, at this point, it may seem like we’re guiding you through a recipe for a gourmet dish with all these guidelines on temperature, time, and all the rest.

But we promise it’s not that complicated. However, while you shouldn’t spend too long in the shower, you also shouldn’t wait too long out of the shower before your start shaving.

Because from the moment you step foot on your bathmat and start toweling down, your perfectly prepared skin and hair starts drying out, your pores start closing, and all kinds of less-than-ideal stuff.

So, if you want the optimal shave, you shouldn’t treat your shower and shave session like a day at the spa, where you relax, get a pedicure, and play a little PS5 between stations. In fact, it’s best if you go straight from drying off to your sink and grab your razor.

Conclusion

So, which one is better, shaving before or after a shower?

As we highlighted above, it depends. There are distinct advantages to shaving before, during, or in the shower. Ultimately, it comes down to your situation, tools, and personal preference.

But which one is your favorite? Let us know if you’re a pre-shower or a post-shower shaver in the comments!


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About The Author

Domen Hrovatin
Domen Hrovatin

Domen—a self-confessed facial hair addict—is a grooming professional, style enthusiast, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about male pattern baldness. His work was mentioned in countless notable men's grooming and style publications, including Beardbrand and AskMen.

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