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Should You Exfoliate Before or After Shaving? Unlock the Secret for Smooth Skin (2024)

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should you exfoliate before or after shavingYou should exfoliate before shaving to reveal the secret for smooth skin. Exfoliating removes dead cells, unclogs pores, and prevents razor clogging, allowing your razor to glide effortlessly.

Gently scrub in circular motions 1-3 times weekly prior to shaving.

After shaving, exfoliating helps reduce ingrown hairs and keeps follicles clean – just be gentle on freshly-shaved skin.

With diligent pre and post-shave exfoliation, you’ll bid farewell to irritation and ingrowns while achieving a sublimely close shave.

Want to elevate your shaving ritual to expert levels? Keep reading to learn the pro techniques.

Key Takeaways

  • Listen up, folks – the secret to a heavenly shave is in the pre-game routine! Exfoliating before you lather up helps clear the way for your razor to glide like a hot knife through butter.
  • But don’t ditch the post-shave scrub-down either! Giving your freshly shaved skin some exfoliating love helps keep those pesky ingrown hairs at bay and your pores breathing easy.
  • Finding the sweet spot with exfoliation frequency is key. Too little and you’re inviting razor burn to the party. Too much and you risk irritating your skin into a full-on tantrum. The magic number? Two or three times a week, my friend!
  • And remember, don’t just go all willy-nilly with the exfoliating! Tailor your techniques to your skin type – dry, oily, sensitive, you name it. A little tender loving care goes a long way in achieving that baby-smooth finish we’re all after.

Should You Exfoliate Before or After Shaving?

Should you exfoliate before or after shaving? For desirable results, it’s advisable to exfoliate before shaving to remove dead skin cells and prevent razor clogging, and then exfoliate again after shaving to reduce ingrown hairs and keep follicles clean.

Exfoliation Benefits

Exfoliation Benefits
Exfoliating your skin offers multiple benefits: it sloughs off dead cells to reveal smoother, brighter skin while simultaneously preventing ingrown hairs and unclogging follicles for easier hair removal. By incorporating exfoliation into your grooming routine, you gain access to the secret to achieving a close, comfortable shave and maintaining healthy, radiant skin.

Smoother Skin

Exfoliating benefits your skin by removing dead skin cells, giving you smoother skin. It enhances your shaving preparation, ensuring a closer shave and reducing post-shave irritation. Use a gentle exfoliating cleanser before shaving to achieve ideal results and improve your overall shaving experience.

Prevent Ingrowns

To prevent ingrown hairs, you should exfoliate frequently using both chemical and physical exfoliants. This removes dead skin cells and unblocks follicles before shaving. Follow up with proper shaving direction and hydration to minimize razor burn. Always exfoliate gently after waxing and shaving.

Unblock Follicles

Exfoliating also unblocks follicles, prepping your skin for a smooth shave. This prevents ingrown hairs and allows for new hair growth.

  • Exfoliate dry skin with gentle chemical exfoliants.
  • Exfoliate oily skin using salicylic acid.
  • Exfoliate sensitive skin cautiously.
  • Exfoliate razor burn to reduce inflammation.
  • Exfoliate body using glycolic acid.

Shaving Preparation

Shaving Preparation
To get the best shave, start by softening your hair with warm water and applying shaving products to protect your skin and reduce irritation. Don’t forget to exfoliate beforehand to remove dead skin cells and prevent razor clogging for a closer shave (Source).

Softening Hair

Softening hair is essential for a smooth shave. Start by wetting the area with warm water to relax and open the pores, making hair removal easier (Source).

Soak for a few minutes, allowing the hair to soften further.

Using a body scrub with chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid exfoliates dry skin and oily skin effectively (Source).

Daily exfoliation ensures smooth legs and reduces irritation.

Applying Shaving Products

To start shaving, first, soften your hair with warm water.

Apply a quality shaving cream or gel using a shaving brush to create a rich lather. This lubricates and protects your skin, minimizing cuts and nicks.

For enhanced results, consider using a shaving lotion.

Immediately after exfoliating with products like the ExfoliKate Resurfacing Body Scrub, you’ll achieve baby soft skin.

Don’t wait to shave; begin right after exfoliating.

Exfoliation Techniques

Exfoliation Techniques
You should consider using both physical and chemical exfoliants to effectively prepare your skin for shaving. Physical exfoliants like scrubs clear away dead skin cells, while chemical exfoliants such as salicylic acid penetrate deeper to clean pores and reduce the risk of ingrown hairs.

Physical Exfoliants

You’ve got physical exfoliants like body scrubs, loofahs, and synthetic bath scrubbers. They slough off dead skin cells, prepping your skin for a smoother shave.

Be gentle – overdoing it can irritate. Aim for 2-3 times weekly before shaving or waxing. But after shaving, wait a couple of days before exfoliating again with physical exfoliants like ZO Skin Health’s magnesium crystal polish.

Chemical Exfoliants

For chemical exfoliation, consider using:

  1. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic or lactic acid
  2. Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid
  3. Enzyme exfoliants from fruits like pineapple or papaya

These gently dissolve dead skin cells, unclog pores, and reduce ingrown hairs. However, be cautious with sensitive skin to avoid irritation. Introduce chemical exfoliants gradually and follow product instructions for best results.

Exfoliate Before Shaving

Exfoliate Before Shaving
Exfoliating before shaving is a vital step to remove dead skin cells and prevent the razor from becoming clogged. By buffing away these surface impurities, you’ll guarantee a smoother, more efficient shave that minimizes irritation and razor drag.

Removing Dead Skin

To achieve a smooth shave, exfoliate beforehand to slough off dead skin cells. This important step unclogs pores and removes debris, allowing your razor to glide effortlessly. Consider these exfoliation methods:

Physical Chemical
Scrubs AHAs
Brushes BHAs
Loofahs Enzymes

Go gently, using small, circular motions, and stick to 1-3 times weekly for best results. Proper exfoliation preps your skin for a superior shave every time.

Preventing Razor Clogging

Exfoliating before shaving is essential to prevent your razor from clogging with dead skin cells and debris. This buildup can quickly dull your blade, reducing its effectiveness and leaving you with an uneven shave.

Exfoliate After Shaving

Exfoliate After Shaving
Exfoliating after shaving helps reduce the risk of ingrown hairs by keeping the hair follicles clean and unobstructed as new hair growth emerges. This step is essential for achieving smooth, blemish-free skin in the days following a shave.

Reducing Ingrown Hairs

Along with preventing razor clogging, exfoliating after shaving helps combat ingrown hair formation. As new hair grows, a gentle exfoliant clears away dead skin to keep follicles unblocked and reduce inflammation. Aim to exfoliate a day or two post-shave for ideal results. Strike a balance with exfoliation frequency—overdoing it can irritate skin further.

Keeping Follicles Clean

Furthermore, exfoliating after shaving not only aids in reducing ingrown hairs, but it also maintains the cleanliness of your follicles to promote new growth. By eliminating dead skin cells and debris, you:

  • Prevent clogged pores
  • Reduce follicle irritation
  • Allow hair to grow without obstruction
  • Maintain clear, healthy follicles

Just remember, it’s best to wait a day or two after shaving before exfoliating to avoid further irritation. A gentle scrub with ingredients like salicylic acid or glycolic acid can work wonders for follicle health.

Exfoliation Frequency

Exfoliation Frequency
You should exfoliate both before and after shaving for the best results. Experts recommend exfoliating 2-3 times per week, including before shaving to remove dead skin and prevent razor clogging, and a day or two after shaving to keep follicles clean and minimize ingrown hairs.

Before Shaving

Exfoliating before shaving is critical. It sloughs off dead skin cells, preventing the razor from clogging and resulting in a closer, smoother shave.

Opt for gentle physical exfoliants or chemical exfoliants with glycolic or salicylic acid.

Timing is key – exfoliate right before shaving to minimize skin irritation and sensitivity.

Carefully select exfoliants that won’t aggravate your skin type to avoid razor burn.

After Shaving

Exfoliate a day or two after shaving to maintain follicle health. Use gentle exfoliating products like salicylic acid scrubs or glycolic acid cleansers. Proper after-shave exfoliation keeps follicles clear, preventing ingrown hairs and ensuring smooth new growth. Pair with a rich moisturizer to soothe and nourish newly exfoliated skin.

Shaving Technique

Shaving Technique
Regarding shaving, the direction in which you move the razor can greatly affect your results. Glide the razor with the grain (in the direction of hair growth) for longer hair, then reverse the motion against the grain for an ultra-smooth finish, being mindful not to apply excessive pressure to minimize irritation.

Shaving Direction

For the smoothest shave, pay attention to shaving direction. You’ll want to:

  • Shave with the grain initially to avoid irritation
  • Shave across the grain for a closer shave
  • Shave against the grain carefully for ultimate closeness

The blade angle and razor pressure are key. Proper skin tension during your shaving stroke helps the blade glide effortlessly.

Minimizing Irritation

To minimize irritation, shave with the grain first, then across it.

For sensitive areas, shave in the direction of hair growth to avoid ingrown hairs.

Exfoliate before waxing to prevent dead skin buildup, which causes irritation.

Exfoliate gently after waxing to combat ingrown hairs.

Maintain an exfoliation frequency of 2-3 times weekly for ideal results.

Follow with a soothing moisturizer to calm skin.

Post-Shave Care

Post-Shave Care
Post-shave moisturization is essential to soothe and nourish your skin after exfoliating and shaving. Immediately after patting your skin dry, apply a rich, hydrating cream or lotion to lock in moisture, replenish oils, and promote a smooth, healthy complexion.


Immediately after shaving, lock in moisture with a rich moisturizer. Select a gentle, fragrance-free formula to avoid irritation. Lotions with shea butter or ceramides deeply hydrate dry skin. Pat on a quarter-sized amount while skin is still damp:

  • Nourish with oils like argan or jojoba
  • Cocoon skin in butters and creams
  • Look for humectants like glycerin
  • Seal in hydration with squalane or dimethicone

The right moisturizer is key to post-shave nourishment.

Soothing Skin

After shaving, soothe and restore your skin with gentle, nourishing products.

Tackle post-shave irritation, sensitivity, dryness, redness, and inflammation by applying a calming, hydrating moisturizer or serum enriched with soothing ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, or green tea.

Massage it in gently, letting your skin drink in the nourishment.

This post-shave TLC guarantees your skin feels pampered and looks its radiant best.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should you exfoliate or shave first?

Now, isn’t that the paradox of grooming? You’d think exfoliating before shaving makes sense, but the experts recommend doing it after for the best possible results. Go figure!

Are you supposed to exfoliate before or after cleansing?

You should cleanse first, then exfoliate. Exfoliating after cleansing helps remove dead skin cells and impurities more effectively for smoother, brighter skin.

How to exfoliate the pubic area?

As the saying goes, "Cleanliness is next to godliness." Gently exfoliate the pubic area using a soft washcloth and a mild exfoliating cleanser 1-2 times per week to prevent ingrown hairs and keep the skin smooth.

How to exfoliate to avoid ingrown hairs?

To avoid ingrown hairs, gently exfoliate before shaving to remove dead skin cells and hair debris. Use a soft exfoliating tool like a dry brush or washcloth. Follow with a hydrating moisturizer post-shave.

How soon can you exfoliate after waxing?

You should wait at least 24-48 hours after waxing before exfoliating. This gives your skin time to heal and prevents irritation. Use a gentle exfoliant and avoid harsh scrubbing to reduce ingrown hairs.

Can exfoliation cause ingrown hairs to worsen?

Exfoliating improperly or too vigorously can damage your skin and worsen ingrown hairs. Be gentle, use quality products, and maintain consistency for smoother, healthier skin.

Is exfoliating necessary for electric razor users?

Exfoliating before using an electric razor helps prevent razor clogging and irritation. It removes dead cells, ensuring a smoother, closer shave. Regularly exfoliating is beneficial for electric razor users.

Are physical or chemical exfoliants better pre-shave?

For pre-shave exfoliation, physical scrubs offer gentler sloughing while chemical exfoliants more effectively decongest pores. You’d do well combining both – scrub first, then apply a salicylic toner to prep skin adequately.


At the end of the day, you should exfoliate before and after shaving to achieve unparalleled smoothness. Pre-shave exfoliation dislodges dead cells for a closer shave, while post-shave exfoliation prevents ingrowns by clearing follicles. With diligent exfoliation, your shave ritual will transform, leaving you with a polished, irritation-free complexion.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.