Different people are going to have different opinions on this topic, but I’m inclined to think from my personal experience that shaving across the grain is a waste of time. In fact, I don’t know if I have ever shaved across the grain. I might have done once when I first started out but that’s about it.
I had a discussion with a blogger one time who had posted about straight razor shaving and he seemed to think that shaving across the grain was “critical” to getting a really close shave. I think this is one of those subjects where you are going to find people in favor of it and people opposed to it.
My typical shave is I’ll shave my entire face with the grain. Some areas like the sides of my chin would actually be considered across the grain on my face, but I that’s how I shave the sides of my chin running along the jaw line on my first pass.
On my second pass I will go against the grain. This usually will give me a bbs shave without the need for doing a pass across the grain before doing an against the grain pass.
The only benefit I can really think of for doing across the grain is that maybe it will reduce irritation? I’m not 100% sure on that, it’s just conjecture.
My advice would be to base it on your experience. On one day shave with the grain, then across the grain, and then against the grain. Feel how smooth your face is. Then see how long it takes for your “5 o’clock” shadow to form.
On another day do a pass with the grain and then one against the grain. Compare the results to your previous shave. Does it feel like you got a closer shave? Does your 5 o’clock shadow grow in faster? Do you have any irritation?
If the answers to all those questions are “no” then you can probably skip shaving across the grain. Why spend the extra time if you don’t get a benefit out of it? If one of those questions is a “yes” then you have to determine if skipping the pass across the grain is worth it.
Ultimately, you are going to determine whether or not shaving across the grain is a waste of time for you. Everyone has different skin and hair types. As a result, everyone’s shave is going o be different. You can find good rules of thumb from advice, but ultimately you are going to have to take that advice and adapt it to your life and see if it works for you.
If it works for you and you like it, keep doing it. If it doesn’t work for you or you don’t like, skip it.
Questions/comments leave them below. 🙂