Should You Exfoliate Before or After Shaving?

Should You Exfoliate Before or After Shaving?

Matteo Mendoza
3 minute read

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Exfoliating is an important part of skincare that often gets overlooked, even for the seasoned shaving enthusiast. If you're reading this, you're probably a bit of a shaving nerd, and that's great! It means you care. You care about the tools you use, the ways in which you use them, and getting the best quality shave for yourself. Simply, you care about taking care of yourself. Which, is why, gentlemen, I am going to be reviewing what exfoliating is, how to exfoliate, and if you should do it before or after shaving. 

I am by no means a dermatologist or a skin care expert, just someone that is a fan of wet shaving and passionate about helping men look good and feel good. That being said, let's get into it!

What is exfoliating?

Your skin replaces its top layer around every 30 days or so. Sometimes, however, it doesn't do its job very well, leaving flakes, clogged pores, and blemishes.  

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin. This allows the new layer to come in fully, and consistent, long-term exfoliation can actually improve collagen in the skin. 

There are two different types of exfoliation—mechanical and chemical. Take your skin type into consideration before checking out which option is best for you, as different skin types can react differently to each method. 

Read here for information regarding this. 

Now we have established that exfoliating should be a part of your care routine, let's get into whether you should exfoliate before or after shaving. 

Exfoliate before

One of the great benefits of wet shaving is that using a brush to build a lather on your face actually gently exfoliates the skin before you shave. As you apply lather to the area, you're gently picking up dirt, oils, and dead skin that may accumulate in your facial hair area. 

When you use a brush, soap, and warm water, you are allowing the skin to open its pores, soften, and allow the beard hair to soften, which creates less resistance to the blade of your razor and in turn, a smoother shave.

So, part of the great feeling of that baby butt smooth shave can be attributed to the prep work, using the brush and soap, not solely the razor!


Exfoliate after

I would not recommend exfoliating immediately after shaving, as shaving is already a somewhat harsh experience that provides exfoliation in it. You will probably do more harm than good if you immediately turn to exfoliating post-shave. 

After shaving, you should wash your face, close the pores using some form of astringent, and then moisturize. Replenish the skin of oils and allow it to heal.

After your skin has calmed down post-shave, I would follow the guidelines for your skin type that the AAD laid out regarding exfoliating method, however you should continue to wash your face and moisturize, gentlemen! 


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