How Do You Get a Close Shave?

There’s nothing quite like a close shave. It leaves you feeling refreshed, smart, clean and generally reinvigorated. But, how do you go about achieving a close shave? What are the tips, tricks and techniques that every man needs to know? Keep reading to find out…

Use the right kit

Before you start thinking about having a shave, you should first ensure you’ve got the right shaving kit to hand.

Whilst you don’t have to go overboard and have a massive amount of grooming products, there are at least a few fundamentals you can’t do without.

To achieve a close shave, you’re going to need:

Tip - ensure the blades of your razor are sharp! Blunt or dull razor blades will not produce a close shave.

However, if you want to achieve the very best, closest shave of your life, then there are a few other items we’d recommend adding to your shaving and grooming arsenal:

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Got your grooming tools and products ready? Then it’s time to move on to the next step; preparing your face for shaving.

Below, we’ve set out each stage of preparing your face for a close shave.

Establish a regular, thorough skincare routine

If you want to ensure you can achieve a close shave on a consistent basis, you need to be taking care of your skin and ensuring it is in the best possible condition.

How? By establishing a regular, thorough skincare routine.

So, what does a facial skincare routine look like? Here at Cremo, we’d recommend using a combination of face wash, exfoliating face scrub, and face moisturiser.

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Each morning, when you’re fresh out of the shower, begin by applying your exfoliating face scrub. Add a drop to your fingers and then rub it in gently to your face in small circular motions for approximately 30 seconds.

Once you’ve done that, you should find that you’ve removed dead skin cells, dirt, excess oil and other unwanted elements on your skin.

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To ensure that you clear away all of those unwanted elements, the next step involves using your face wash. Do this by splashing your face with warm water. The next step is to apply a small almond sized amount of face wash cream to your fingers before gently rubbing it into your face. Rub it in using small, circular motions. Ideally, you’ll want to do this for at least 60 seconds.

Finally, use copious amounts of fresh warm water to rinse away any residue of the face wash.

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The third part of your facial skincare regime should be the application of face moisturiser. You should only apply this once your skin has dried following the application of the face wash.

Like the other skincare products above, the best type of application involves squeezing a small pea sized amount onto your fingers and then rubbing it in using small, repeated, circular motions.

To really get maximum results, ensure you are lifting your skin rather than pulling down when rubbing in the moisturiser. This will ensure maximum absorption into the pores of your skin.

Softening your skin

The skin on your face will react to a razor the best if it is soft and warm. Being warm and moist, your skin will be more subtle, softer and less likely to become irritated once you start applying the razor to your face.

The best way to soften the skin on your face is to have a hot shower (for at least 10 minutes).

Alternatively, if taking a shower isn’t an option, then you can use a face cloth which has been moistened in hot water. Take the cloth and place it over your face. Place your fingers on the cloth and slowly massage your face in circles.

Doing this will allow moisture to absorb and penetrate into your skin.

Another alternative approach is to fill your bathroom sink with hot water and then place a towel over your head whilst you lean over - as if you are looking into - the sink. The steam rising from the sink will be trapped by the towel over your head and will circulate around your face, softening your skin and moistening it.

Whichever approach you take, it’s essential that you moisten and soften your skin in some way prior to shaving.

Applying the shaving cream

Now that the skin on your face is moist, softer and more supple, it’s time to reach for your shaving cream.

As we’ve written previously, if you want to achieve the very best shave, then we’d highly recommend using a shaving cream rather than a shaving gel or foam.

This is because, the way shaving creams are formulated, they provide benefits that gels and foams do not.

For example, they nourish the skin, provide a slick surface that aids the cutting action of your razor and help you achieve a close shave by lifting your facial hairs in ways that other shaving products do not.

So, what’s the best way to apply your shaving cream?

Begin by applying a small amount of the cream to your fingers (make sure you have clean hands, otherwise you’ll end up rubbing dirt into your pores, causing spots). How much you should use depends on the amount of facial hair you’re dealing with. If you only have a few days' growth on your face, then a small almond sized amount of shave cream will suffice.

According to experienced barbers, the best way to apply shave cream to your face is to actively massage it into your face, against the grain of your hair growth.

This helps to plump the arrector pili muscles in your face. Also known as hair erector muscles, the arrector pili muscles are small muscles attached to your hair follicles. By massaging in the shave cream, you ‘activate’ these muscles, causing your facial hairs to stand up.

Plus, when you use a rich, thick shave cream - like Cremo’s shave creams - the facial hairs stay standing as they become suspended within the cream. This allows you to cut with your razor very close to the root of each hair.

You’ll know when you’re ready to move onto the next stage once the cream has turned into a lather or emulsion.

In general, it takes longer than many people realise to properly lather up a shave cream. You should spend at least one to three minutes applying the cream, rubbing continuously during this time.

Make sure that you achieve a complete and consistent coverage of your facial hair with the shaving cream - you won’t really be able to go back and re-lather once you’ve started the shaving process. Use a mirror to check your face from multiple angles to ensure you’ve not missed any areas.

Once lathered up, you should allow the cream to sit for one or two minutes. This gives the cream time to really ‘settle’ against your skin. Plus, when it comes to shave creams like Cremo’s, this resting period allows the molecules within the shave cream time to interact with the moisture on your face and ‘activate’, becoming extra slick.

How to Get a Close Shave


Okay, now it’s time for the real action; it’s shaving time…

Ensure you are positioned in front of a mirror, and make sure that your basin is filled with warm water.

If you have a razor with a lubricated strip, then run it under the tap before you start shaving. This will activate the lubricated strip and make your subsequent shave more comfortable and smoother.

For most people, the best approach to achieving a close shave is to shave your face in sections. For example, some people begin with either the left or right side of their face. They’ll then shave their top lip and chin, and will finish by shaving their neck and tidying up the edges of their hairline.

Should I shave against the grain?

It's a commonly held belief amongst many men that if they want to achieve a truly close shave, they should shave against the grain.

What does this mean? In short, your facial hair grows in a particular direction. The direction in which your facial hair grows is known as the grain.

If you let your facial hair grow for a day or two, you’ll be able to see what we mean. Run your fingers down your cheek, and you’ll find that your stubble feels smooth. Run your fingers up your cheek, and you’ll find that your stubble feels prickly - that’s because you’re running your fingers against the grain.

With that in mind, is it appropriate to shave against the grain?

The consensus is that for at least the first one or two passes of your razor, you should shave with the grain of your facial hair. For some men, they like to do a final third pass of the razor against the grain of their facial hair.

However - this isn’t recommended for everyone. Some men find that shaving against the grain always results in irritation, redness and cuts. If that’s the case for you, then stick to shaving in line with the grain.

Angling your razor

The angle at which you hold your razor when shaving can also have an impact on how close a shave you can achieve.

It’s widely recognised that holding your razor at an angle of approximately 30 degrees is the best angle. At this angle, you’ll find that the razor will flow through your facial hair. At too steep an angle, the razor will get caught up in your facial hair.

In short, holding your razor at around 30 degrees will generally allow most men to achieve the closest possible shave.

Rinsing your razor

It’s important to keep on rinsing your razor throughout your shave. In between every two or three pulls of the razor, run it under the tap. This will remove any freshly cut hairs and shaving cream that will have built up on the razor blades.

Failure to do this will result in the razor blades becoming clogged up. If they’re clogged up, they’re not going to cut as well, and you won’t get the close shave you’re aiming for.

Tip - once you’ve run your razor under the tap, use a flicking motion with your wrist to get rid of any excess water and prevent it from running down your arm.

Finishing up

As you reach the end of your shave, it’s time to check the awkward nooks and crannies of your face for any hairs you may have missed.

Start by checking around your nose and mouth. Depending on the shape and size of your face, you may find that the corners of your mouth or under your nose are areas that have been missed during your initial round of shaving.

Likewise, check along your jawline, by your ears, and along your hairline (e.g. by your sideburns).

We’d recommend doing this whilst you’re close to the mirror, so you can properly inspect every angle of your face.


Satisfied that you’ve shaved as much as possible and you’ve hit every angle? Then it’s time to move into ‘post-shave mode’.

Rinse and dry off

Now that you’ve finished shaving, it’s likely that you’ve got some remnants of shave cream still clinging to your face. Well, it’s time for it to go.

Rinse your face with copious amounts of fresh cold water, being sure to rinse every part of your face. It’s important that you use cold water, as this will constrict the pores in your skin.

Now that you’ve washed away any remaining shaving cream, use a fresh, clean and dry towel to dry off your face. Use a gentle patting motion rather than rubbing, as rubbing can irritate your freshly-shaved skin.

Apply post-shave balm

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For that truly fresh, close shave feel, you should finish things off by applying some post-shave balm.

Adding a post-shave balm to your skin has the benefit of hydrating and cooling your skin. It helps to counteract the irritation and redness that may have developed during the shaving process.

Here at Cremo our post-shave balm is formulated to offer a cooling sensation, further helping to constrict your pores and leave your skin feeling clean, fresh and - most importantly - closely shaved.

Groom with greatness with Cremo UK

For a superior grooming and shaving experience, use Cremo’s range of shaving products.

From barber-grade razors through to a range of shave creams and post-shave balms, we’ve got everything you need to achieve the perfect shave every day.

Explore Cremo’s range of shaving products now

For more shaving, skincare and grooming advice and info, explore the Cremo blog