How to Successfully Shave Off Your Beard

How to Successfully Shave Off Your Beard

Posted by Otis Skincare on

As magnificent as a beard can be, sometimes it’s just time for it to go!

But shaving off your beard, and exposing your vulnerable baby skin, is not as easy as it might seem.

To help you emerge looking smooth and handsome here is our step-by-step guide to successfully take you from full beard to clean-shaven – and reveal clear, beautiful skin underneath.


Handsome young man shaving his beard with happy expression


So you’ve decided to take the plunge and shave off your beard.

But before you get started… step away from the razor!

Because there's a right way and a wrong way to go from a full beard to clean-shaven, and we want you to do it the right way.

Shave the whole beard off in one go and you risk your face becoming an irritated mess!

Follow our guide to make sure that your post-beard complexion is smooth, calm and even-toned.


Get the timing right 

If it’s been a while since you last shaved, the skin under your beard may be a bit lighter than the rest of your face.

Your beard has provided protection from the elements, so your skin underneath will be a bit more sensitive when you first shave it. This can lead to razor burn and ingrown hairs.

Best to choose a weekend, or a vacation, when you’re more relaxed and not rushing for work.

This will give your skin a few days to adapt and get some color. And it gives you time to get used to your new look before seeing work colleagues again.


Don’t rush it 

The most important thing is to relax and take your time.

And if it’s been a while since your last shave you might want to check out ”SHAVE: 9 tips for a pain free shave” first.


ACTION PLAN: A step-by-step guide to successfully shave off your beard 

Step 1: Take your beard to stubble first 

Trying to shave a full beard in one go is not going to work. A standard razor won't be able to get close enough to your skin to give you a smooth enough shave.

So trim your beard down to short stubble first - using a beard trimmer, or set of clippers.

Then leave it for a few days before going completely clean shaven.


Step 2: Prep your skin

You want to reveal smooth, healthy skin when it all comes off, so …

During these days of stubble, prepare your skin.

This will reduce painful ingrown hairs and irritation, making your skin smoother, and your beard softer and easier to cut.

Follow this routine morning and evening - for at least a week beforehand - to prepare your face for the big reveal.


Clean & Exfoliate 

The secret to a smooth shave is to have smooth skin to start with. So you want to get your skin really clean and free from any gunk.

Cleaning away the oil and exfoliating dead skin cells means less friction for your blade, and the closer and less painful your shave will be. Exfoliation will also prevent ingrown hairs that can turn into angry red bumps and become infected when you shave over them.

When it comes to cleaning and exfoliating your skin (especially just before you shave), the product you use makes all the difference.

You need a good quality, non-drying face wash that includes a chemical exfoliator. Definitely do not use a bar of soap - we explain why here: "Face Wash vs Soap".

Then it will gently clean and exfoliate at the same time - but won't make your face feel tight and dry. This is especially important when you’re about to shave for the first time in a while. Shaving over rough, dry skin is guaranteed to lead to soreness, irritation and razor rash!

Look for a men’s face wash that includes a gentle Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), like Lactic Acid, and moisturizing and soothing ingredients like  Glycerin, Aloe Vera and Allantoin. All of these can be found in our Daily Face Wash.

A face wash like this will clear away oil and grime, but it won’t dry out your skin like a bar of soap will.





One of the keys to reducing sensitivity is to keep your skin well-hydrated. So it’s good to moisturize your face every morning and evening. As well as after your shave.

As a men’s face cream , our Hydrating Daily Moisturiser is tough to beat! 

It includes Hyaluronic Acid (the gold standard of moisturizing agents) to provide long-term hydration and keep your freshly-shaved skin smooth. At the same time it reduces fine lines and wrinkles, restores elasticity and improves skin texture - leaving you with a smooth, even-toned complexion.

Plus it’s super-light, absorbs instantly and will leave your face looking matt.




Soften Hair 

    Applying a beard oil to the stubble for a few days before you shave will soften the hair as much as possible and make it a lot easier to cut.

    The result of all this prep will not only be a clean and smooth surface for you to start shaving, but it also brightens your complexion, letting the natural glow of your clean-shaven face shine through once your beard is off.



    Step 3: Choose the right shaving products 

    Using a sharp razor and a nourishing, protective shaving cream, will make all the difference!


    Whatever type of razor you prefer, remember to change the blades often. The dull, damaged edge of an over-used razor blade will pull against your skin, causing painful redness and razor burn.

    Shaving cream

    A nourishing, protective shave cream is essential.

    Your skin will be very sensitive having been hidden by your beard so you want to use a product that’s designed to effectively protect your skin during your shave. And for that you need a rich, protective shave cream.

    It will create a barrier between your face and the razor, protecting your skin from razor burn. It also provides lubrication for the shaving process itself, softening your beard and helping maintain your skin’s hydration level.

    Our Protective Shave Cream is based on moisturizing Glycerin and enriched with Shea Butter to nourish and protect your skin and Apricot Stone Oil to soften your beard for easier shaving. We’ve also added Aloe Vera to soothe your skin and purifying Tea Tree Oil to help reduce any redness or irritation.


    Best Shaving Cream for the Smoothest Shave



    Step 4: Soften the stubble 

    The best time to shave is just after taking a hot shower. Your skin will stay warm and relaxed throughout the shaving process, and the steam will soften the stubble.  

    Warmth opens up your pores and allows your hair follicles to relax, letting hair protrude out from the skin, and so making your beard easier to cut.

    This is the reason that a barber will apply a hot towel to your face before a professional shave. You can use the same principal yourself at home. Just use a warm wrung out washcloth to gently heat your skin.

    The main thing to remember is that we are trying to keep your skin warm, moist and relaxed.

    Next apply your shave cream.

    Apply a small amount of the cream to your face with your fingers, or with a shaving brush, using a circular motion.

    Let the cream sit for two to three minutes, particularly if you have thicker facial hair. This helps the shaving cream really penetrate the hairs and soften them.


    Step 5: Up your razor game

    Shaving is a skill, and if it’s a long time since you last shaved you may have gotten a little rusty!

    Practicing the correct shaving technique and using the razor in a way that won’t irritate your skin, will help to avoid redness and razor burn.

    • Stretch your skin as you shave

    Use your free hand to pull your skin taut as you shave. You’re far less likely to get nicks and cuts this way.

    • Always shave WITH the grain 

    Your skin will be super sensitive so shave very carefully, and always WITH the direction of hair growth.

    Whilst it’s tempting we know to shave against the grain because it seems to give you a closer shave it’s really not worth the razor burn! It will aggravate your skin and can distort the hair follicles causing ingrown hairs to form.

    • Use light, easy strokes 

    Try to apply minimal pressure. Hold your razor at the very end of the handle, gripping it lightly. Then let the razor do the work. The only pressure applied should come from the weight of the razor.

    Use short, confident shaving strokes. 

    And make sure to rinse the razor every so often.


    Step 6: Rinse and gently pat dry 

    When you’re done, rinse your face with a splash of cool water.

    Then gently pat dry. Your skin will be a little traumatized, so no rubbing or pulling.

    Try to use a soft, clean towel that you keep only for you to use (and only on your face!)

     OTIS SKINCARE Protective Shave Cream with soft grey towel, chrome razor and cup of morning coffee


    Step 7: Moisturize and soothe 

    It’s totally normal to feel some discomfort after the initial shave.

    It can take up to 48 hours for your freshly-shaven face to fully heal, and keeping your skin moisturized during that time is the best defence against irritation and dryness.

    While most moisturizers will immediately hydrate your skin, you can up the ante by seeking out those containing ingredients that will soothe, relieve and repair your post-shave skin at the same time. There are many healing ingredients to choose from but Aloe VeraAllantoin, Vitamin E and D-Panthenol are all excellent examples.

    To nourish and soothe your skin after shaving, our Hydrating Daily Moisturiser includes all of these.

    You can put it in the fridge before you shave so that it’s nice and cooling for your skin when applied afterwards.


    Step 8: Take it easy 

    Be good to your skin and let it rest. Try to limit shaving to every other day so that your face has a chance to get used to this new routine. 

    And remember to check in the mirror regularly to enjoy your freshly clean-shaven face!



    Everyday maintenance 

    Keeping your newly smooth face looking healthy and handsome is all about regular maintenance - and tons of moisture.

    Going forward, a simple skincare routine is best.

    And using the best men’s skincare products will ensure your face stays smooth, clear and even-toned.

    AM & PM

    CLEAN using an exfoliating face wash

    HYDRATE your face (and around your eyes) with a hydrating anti aging moisturizer

    And to maintain your clean shaven look:

    SHAVE using a protective shaving cream to avoid any irritation.



    Do I shave my beard up or down? 

    Always shave WITH the direction of hair growth.

    It seems as though if you shave against the grain it gives you a closer shave. But it will aggravate your skin and can distort the hair follicles causing ingrown hairs to form. It’s really not worth the razor burn!


    How can I avoid irritation when I shave off my beard? 

    Shaving off your beard is a big change. So prep your skin first using an exfoliating face wash and a moisturizer designed for a man's skin. Follow this routine twice a day for at least a week beforehand.

    When it comes to the actual shave, good shaving prep, the best skincare products and correct razor technique go a long way to ensuring you have a smooth, irritation-free shave.



    The Takeaway 

    To help you emerge from a full beard looking smooth and handsome, follow our step-by-step guide. We’ll successfully take you to clean-shaven – and make sure that your post-beard complexion is smooth, calm and even-toned.

    Step 1: Take your beard to stubble first

    Step 2: Prep your skin

    • Exfoliate
    • Moisturize

    Step 3: Choose the right shaving products

    Step 4: Soften the stubble

    Step 5: Up your razor game

    • Stretch your skin
    • Go WITH the grain
    • Use light, short strokes

    Step 6: Rinse and gently pat dry

    Step 7: Moisturize and Soothe

    Step 8: Take it easy

    Shaving off your beard is a big change and can be a bit of a shock at first. Make sure you take really good care of your skin afterwards.


    All you need to stay looking handsome. 





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