Can I Shave Against the Grain?

by Jay Kang | Updated on February 8th, 2023
shaving decision

Shaving against the grain can give you a smoother, closer shave, but it also comes with its fair share of risks.

Whether you’re new to wet shaving or have been using a safety razor for years, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of shaving against the grain before taking the plunge.

In this blog post, we will explore whether or not you should be shaving against the grain and what precautions should be taken if you decide to do so.

What is Shaving Against the Grain (ATG)?

ATG is an abbreviation that stands for against the grain. It refers to a shaving stroke in which one shaves in a direction opposite that of the grain of facial hair growth. Shaving against the grain can give you a closer shave but is often associated with irritation, razor burn, and ingrown hairs.

Can I Shave Against the Grain?

Yes, you can. Shaving against the grain can give you a much closer shave but can also cause skin irritation and discomfort. It is important to always shave with the grain first, and then you can try going against the grain if necessary.

In any case, be careful when shaving against the grain to avoid skin irritation, as going against the grain can be too abrasive for some people’s skin. Applying shaving gel or soap and re-lathering can reduce friction and makes it easier to go against the grain.

If you choose to go against the grain, remember to take your time and use caution to get the best results.

Is it Better to Shave With or Against the Grain?

There has long been debate over whether it is better to shave with or against the grain, like in politics.

Yes, shaving with the grain can provide a less irritating shave and protect you from razor burn and ingrown hairs; shaving against the grain, however, can give you a closer shave. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference, but if you do choose to shave against the grain, there are some

Should You Shave Against the Grain?

When it comes to shaving, everyone has their preferences. Some people prefer to shave with the grain, while others prefer shaving against the grain (ATG). You may be wondering if ATG shaving is right for you.

The answer depends on your skin type and the desired results. Shaving against the grain will almost always result in a much closer shave than shaving with the grain, but it also carries a greater risk of irritation and ingrown hairs. If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to stick to shaving with the grain.

However, if you’re looking for an ultra-close shave and are willing to take the necessary precautions, then ATG shaving may be your best bet. Be sure to properly prepare your skin before attempting an ATG shave, choose the right razor and blades for your skin type, and follow up with aftercare for the best results.

Why Shaving with the Grain is Better for Your Skin

Shaving with the grain is a popular technique that offers several benefits. It reduces the risk of razor burn or skin irritation from your shave and provides the closest shave possible. Additionally, when you shave with the grain, you are not lifting the hair, which can reduce irritation and razor bumps on the skin.

Therefore, many people find that using light strokes and first shaving in the direction of hair growth is better for their skin in the long run.

The Pros and Cons of Shaving against the Grain

The pros and cons of shaving against the grain are worth considering before you start your shave. While this technique can give you a closer shave, it also comes with risks such as razor burn, ingrown hairs, and skin irritation.

While shaving against the grain can be beneficial in achieving a closer shave, it should be done with caution as the risks may outweigh the benefits. To get the best of both worlds, some recommend shaving with the grain first and then going against the grain for a closer shave. This approach helps ensure you get the closest shave possible without sacrificing your skin health.

How to Shave Against the Grain Safely

The three-pass method is the most popular way to shave against the grain and provides the closest and most comfortable shave. However, it’s important to remember that shaving against the grain can result in razor burn, nicks, and cuts, so it’s essential to take certain steps to ensure your skin remains safe and healthy while you shave.

Prepare Properly for an ATG Shave

Before shaving against the grain, it is important to prepare your skin properly. This means using warm water and a good shave gel or foam to help soften the hair and protect your skin. Using a sharp razor blade is also important to get a close shave. Reapplying shave gel or foam before going ATG also helps ensure a smoother shave.

Choose the Right Razor and Blades

Choosing the right razor and blade is essential for a successful ATG shave.

Safety razors are usually better for ATG shaving since they are sharper and heavier than disposable razors. These steps help you get the closest and most comfortable ATG to shave.

Check the blade before each shave and replace it as soon as it dulls. The blade’s angle should also be considered when deciding which razor to use for an ATG shave.

It is also important to select a razor with a handle that fits comfortably in your hand. This will make it easier to maneuver the razor and ensure that you can maintain the correct angle for an effective shave.

Once the razor is ready, it is important to shave with the grain first.

This will help protect the skin from irritation and nicks. After that, it is time to move on to shaving against the grain. For this, use small, downward strokes until the hair growth changes direction.

Execute the Shave Properly

Before shaving, hydrate and soften your hair with a hot shower or towel, finally, use small downward strokes when you shave against the grain and follow the direction of your neck hair growth.

When executing the shave against the grain, it is important to take your time and be gentle. Take short strokes rather than long ones, and be sure to stretch the skin taut. This will help to ensure that you get a close shave without irritating your skin.

Razor blades should always be sharp and clean, so switch blades if you feel any tugging or pulling. Applying shaving cream or gel beforehand is also recommended to help the blade glide smoothly over your skin. Remember to use light pressure when shaving ATG, as too much pressure can result in cuts or skin irritation.

Rinse the razor after each stroke to avoid razor burn or ingrown hairs. Following these simple steps can help ensure a safe and pleasant shaving experience.

To start, make sure you use a quality shaving soap, cream, oil, or gel, like Art of Shaving soap, which will help protect your skin against irritation and razor burn.

You will also need a proper shaving brush providing even lather, pre-shave oil, or shave balm to help prevent any issues

Follow Up with Aftercare

After a successful shave against the grain, taking proper aftercare steps is essential for maintaining smooth skin. Aftershave lotion should be used to cool and soothe the skin. Applying an aftershave balm with moisturizing properties is also recommended to help replenish and repair damaged skin.

Lastly, applying a gentle moisturizer or oil can help protect the skin from drying out and reduce any irritation from the shave. All these steps will help ensure that you have a comfortable and irritation-free shave against the grain.


Shaving with the grain may not get as close to shaving against the grain, but it is gentler on the skin. This can help avoid irritation, razor burn, and ingrown hairs. The benefit of shaving with the grain is that it can provide a comfortable and close shave without damaging your skin.

For those looking to get a close shave without the fuss and irritation associated with going against the grain, the shortcut is to go with the grain first, then across it, and finally against it.

This method ensures you achieve a close shave without tugging on your skin or risking razor burn or ingrown hairs. Using a fresh blade and running it under hot water before your shave can also help reduce friction and make for an even smoother experience.

Last update on 2024-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

Jay Kang

Just because i'm asian does not mean I don't need shaving. I always wanted to grow a beard when I was young, now I need to shave because hair growth for me is a problem. I'm going through what every man will and has gone through before.

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