How to wet shave

how to wet shave

Wet shaving is a skill and an art and as such requires a certain amount of practice.  If you are nicking and cutting your face, persevere - a few weeks will do to get the hang of it.

Once there, you can look forward to close and enjoyable shaves.

The ultimate aim is to be able to achieve a "BBS" shave - Baby's Bottom Shave!


Begin by taking a shower or washing your face thoroughly with lots of hot water.  This will cleanse your skin and soften the hairs ready for cutting. Alternatively, hold a steaming hot facecloth or towel to your face for a few minutes.

You may also choose to use a moisturiser or pre-shave product at this point, such as Proraso's Pre and Post Shave Cream.

While preparing your face, soak your shaving brush and mug in hot water to warm them up


Empty out your mug and flick most of the water out of your brush.  Use the brush to work up a lather from your chosen soap or cream in your mug or even your hand.  All soaps and creams are very long lasting - only a little is needed for each shave.  Spend some time working up this lather - it will pay dividends.

Next, apply the lather to your face with the brush, using circular movements in both directions.  This will exfoliate your skin and lift the hairs ready for cutting, as well as providing the necessary lubricant for the razor.  Again, a little time spent on this will be rewarded.

The Shave Itself

how to wet shave

Shave in the direction of hair growth, at least for your first pass, with the razor held at an angle of about 30 degrees to the skin.  It's a good idea to let your beard grow out for a day or two then take a close look in the mirror at each part of your face to see which direction the hair grows in - you may be surprised to find that it doesn't all grow straight down!  Use the razor in short strokes, dividing your face into facets so that you can follow the direction of hair growth and keep the 30 degree angle - remember this is not a pivoting head razor.

While shaving, APPLY NO PRESSURE! The blade is quite sharp enough to cut the hair without help from you. Don't say we didn't warn you!

To begin with, a single pass should suffice.  Once you are more experienced you can try making a second or even third pass for a really close shave.  You can also experiment with shaving ATG (Against The Grain) and XTG (Across the Grain).

Post shaving

After you have finished shaving, rinse your face thoroughly in cold water to clean off the soap and close the pores.  Some shavers like to run an ice cube over their face at this stage.

What you do next, if anything, depends very much on your skin and your personal preference.  Whilst some shavers will benefit from a moisturising and/or cooling lotion, others will prefer to splash on an alcohol based aftershave and "feel the burn".

Next steps

Once you are comfortable with the basics you can experiment with more advanced techniques such as the "J-Hook" and "Blade Buffing".  Try these websites to begin your exploration:

Videos: How to wet shave

Introduction to Traditional Wet Shaving - Part 1

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Introduction to Traditional Wet Shaving - Part 2

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Introduction to Traditional Wet Shaving - Part 3

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View more videos by mantic59's »

Thanks to mantic59 for permission to use these videos for educational purposes. mantic59 is not affiliated with ManCave Grooming Ltd in any way.

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