How to Shave Your Face for the First Time

Boys often learn to shave by watching Dad or an older brother.
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The first shave is a big deal -- a rite of passage on the bridge that leads from boyhood and puberty to full-fledged manhood. Shaving is tricky at first because the human face isn't a flat surface, but like most things, it gets easier with practice. Learn proper shaving techniques from the get go, and most importantly, take your time until you get the hang of things. A face covered with nicks, scrapes and cuts definitely isn't cool.

1 Choosing a Razor

You can shave with an electric razor or a disposable razor -- the choice is totally up to you. An electric razor -- either corded or rechargeable -- is quick and easy, but the shave may not be as close as a disposable razor. If you decide to use an electric razor, look for one with flexible or rotating heads that glide smoothly over your cheeks, chin and neck. Disposable razors come in two styles. Completely disposable razors can be thrown away, in which case the entire razor must be replaced frequently, while razors with detachable, disposable blades have a durable handle, and only the razor blades themselves are discarded.

2 Shaving Products

Start with a good, alcohol-free shaving cream, lotion or gel, which protects your face from the friction of the razor. You create a trail when you shave through the lather, which makes it easy to see where you've already shaved. It makes sense to follow each shave with a moisturizing aftershave product, because shaving, which removes the thin top layer of your epidermis, tends to dry and irritate the skin. Don't skimp on a good sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 after your shave. Sunscreen is always important, especially for sensitive, just-shaved skin.

3 Shaving the Right Way

Soften your face with hot or warm water, or shave shortly after you step out of the shower. Smooth shaving gel or cream over your face, and let the lather soak in for a minute. Shave the relatively smooth areas of the cheeks and sides of the face first. When you shave tricky places like your neck and chin, stretching the skin with the fingers of your non-shaving hand creates a taut, smooth surface and makes shaving easier. Shave with moderate pressure. If you still see hair after you swipe the razor through the lather, press a little harder. Rinse your face with cool water when you're done shaving, then splash on aftershave.

4 Minimizing Nicks and Cuts

A sharp blade is the first line of defense when it comes to minimizing injuries. As a general rule, it's best to replace disposable razors every five to seven days. Replace the blades in electric razors as soon as they feel dull or fail to shave cleanly. Shave in the direction your hair grows, which almost always means you'll be shaving with downward motions. It may be tempting to shave against the grain, but you may end up with rashes and razor burns. Take your time. Shaving safely isn't a rush job.

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.