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Against the grain

Which way do you go?

Against the grain
09 November 2011

Q: Can you provide a definitive answer to that ever-present shaving problem of whether you should shave with the grain on the neck or against it? I've heard so many different answers, one person even suggested shaving sideways because he was so confused by it. Would your answer differ at all for chaps who suffer from ingrown hairs on their neck? Thanks.


Our expert Ahmed Zambarakji answers your questions below:

A: Hi Simon,

Couldn’t agree more: there’s so much contradictory information out there, it can get really confusing. The rule of thumb is to always shave with the grain on the first pass. If that doesn’t get you the closeness you want, re-lather over the area (can’t stress that bit enough) and then try going against the grain or, yes, even sideways.

If you let your beard grow for a couple of days and take a look in the mirror, you’ll notice that the grain grows in all kinds of different directions – downwards, upwards, to the side. Most guys discover that the hairs tend to grow 'upwards' the further down the neck they look. This, of course, makes the area prone to all kinds of irritation, including ingrown hairs.

Some guys have a weird crop circle-type patterns that require shaving in a clockwise pattern. Everyone is different. Study your beard growth and always attempt to shave with the grain, whichever way it is going on that particular area of your face.

As for the ingrown hair issue, shaving with the grain will definitely help. Have a click round the other Q&As to find a topical solution for the ingrown hairs you have already.

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