How to Shave with Soap

How to Shave with Soap
Sometimes you don’t realize that you’re out of shaving cream or lotion until it’s too late! Although shaving your face or body with regular soap isn’t ideal—it can dry out your skin and clog your razor—it’s definitely doable with the proper prep and technique. If you’re shaving facial hair, you can also invest in special shaving soap for a smooth, old-fashioned cut. Whatever option you choose, you can still have a smooth shave with just soap and your razor.

Method One of Two:
Shaving with Regular Soap

Shave in the shower when your skin is warm and clean. Softening your hair in a warm shower and washing it clean of any accumulated dirt will make for a smoother shave.[1]
If you can’t shave in the shower, or shower immediately beforehand, soak a towel in warm water and place it over the area you’re shaving for 1-2 minutes.

Work your soap into a lather. Pour shower gel onto a loofah or washcloth, or lather up a bar soap in your hands. Rub the lather in a thick layer over the area you’re shaving.[2]
Create as much foam as possible to protect your skin.

Use a razor with a moisture bar. Shaving with soap often leaves skin dry and irritated, so look for a razor with a built-in moisture bar at the top. This will help soothe your skin as you’re shaving and give you a smoother shave overall.
Razors will say on the packaging whether they come with a moisture bar. You can also look at the razor itself; the moisture bar will be a thin strip right above the razor blades.
Shave with the grain of the hair if you’re shaving your face or pubic hair. When you’re shaving in sensitive areas without the extra protection of shaving cream, do your best to shave in the same direction that your hair is growing. This will protect against nicks and razor burn.[3]
Always shave with the grain for your facial and pubic area. If you’ve gotten razor burn or irritation in other areas in the past, shave with the grain there as well.
Run your razor against the grain if you’re shaving your legs or body. The hair and skin on your legs, chest, armpits, and elsewhere on your body tends to be less sensitive, so you can shave against the direction of hair growth for a smoother result. Carefully draw your razor up your leg, chest, or other body part, going slowly to avoid nicks.[4]
Keep your skin wet while you shave. If any soap rinses off or loses lather, reapply it well before you shave in that area. The lather provides lubrication that allows the razor to glide smoothly on your skin, reducing razor bumps.
Rinse your razor frequently. Your razor will accumulate hair quickly when you shave with soap, so run it under hot water after every other stroke to ensure a smooth shave. Rinsing will also lessen skin irritation and help your razor last longer.[5]
Dry off and moisturize the area with lotion or aftershave. Rinse your skin with cool water to close your pores and pat the area dry with a towel. Once you’re dry, moisturize with a lotion, oil, or aftershave product to prevent any skin irritation that the soap may have caused.[6]
If you shaved your face, apply an aftershave product. Rub a small amount together in your palms, then rub it onto your cheeks and neck with gentle downward motions.
If you shaved your body, rub on a simple moisturizing lotion or oil.
Method Two of Two:
Using Facial Shaving Soap
Buy shaving soap and a brush online or in most stores. You can buy your shaving soap and brush separately, or opt for a shaving kit that includes them both, and often cleaning products as well. The soap typically comes as a “puck” in a small tin, while the brush is short with soft, thick bristles.
If you’re shopping in a store, look in the men’s grooming aisles. You can also go to specialty shaving stores for a wider selection.
Soak your brush and soap in warm water. Submerge your puck or bar in a bowl of warm water. Place your brush in a separate bowl of warm water, setting it inside so that the bristles are submerged but the handle isn’t. Let both soak for 7-10 minutes.[7]
Soaking your soap makes it easier to lather, while soaking the brush will soften and hydrate the bristles to make for a more comfortable shave.
Take a warm shower and wash your face to prep your skin. Soften your hair and skin by taking a warm shower before shaving. Make sure to wash your face with water and gentle soap.[8]
If you can’t take a shower, splash your face with warm water and wash it with a cleanser, or place a warm, damp towel on it for 1-2 minutes.
Spin your brush around your soap to create a lather. Take your brush out of its bowl and shake it to dry it just a bit. Pour the excess water off of your soap and spin your brush around your soap to load it up with lather, pressing down gently.[9]
When the bristles of your brush start to clump together with soap, you’re ready to apply the lather to your face.
Wet your face slightly. Run your hands under warm water and rub them over your facial hair. Your face may have dried out since you washed it, so you want to make sure it’s slightly damp before you start shaving.
Create a thin lather on your face to lock in moisture. First, apply a thin layer of lather on your cheeks, chin, upper lip, and upper neck by spinning the brush quickly and gently against your skin. This first layer ensures that your skin won’t dry out while you create a thicker lather on each section.[10]
Lather more thickly on each section of your face. Now, go back to the section that you started with and spin your brush more firmly on your skin, spending 20-30 seconds on each section. Work up a thick layer of soap to protect your skin and ensure a smooth, comfortable shave.[11]
If your brush starts to dry out, dip the bristle tips in a bowl of clean water.
Be patient as you lather! You want to work the soap in between each hair for the highest-quality shave.
Use a straight razor or safety razor to shave with the grain. For the best shave with shaving soap, use a straight razor or a safety razor to shave with the grain in light, downward strokes. Go slowly and carefully to avoid nicks.
A straight razor is an old-fashioned razor that’s shaped like a V. You’ll use the sharp leg, which looks like a knife, to carefully shave your cheeks, neck, and chin.
A safety razor is more similar to the modern razor, but uses a curved blade.
You can buy both types of razors online or in shaving stores.
Rinse off your face and tools when you’re done. Rinse your face off with cool water and use a towel to gently pat it dry. To clean your razor, run it under the sink for a few seconds, ensuring that the lather and hair are rinsed clean, then set it out on a towel to dry.
To clean your brush, swish it in a bowl of clean water, then run the bristles under run warm water. Shake out the brush, rub it back and forth on a towel, then set it out on the counter to dry.[12]
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Shaving with just soap can dry out your skin and cause razor burn, so use a moisturizing product or razor whenever you can to help alleviate the dryness.
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About This Article
Co-authors: 10
Updated: May 3, 2018
Views: 8,254
Categories: Shaving
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