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How to Shave Off a Beard

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Man shaving
Caroline von Tuempling/Iconica/Getty Images

So, you’ve grown a bit tired of the fuzzy face and have decided to take the plunge and shave off the beard. Sounds simple -- just lather up the beard and shave it off! Wait a minute. It’s not as easy as it seems. To properly shave a beard and make sure you don’t leave your face an irritated mess, it’s important to do it the right way. Follow these easy steps to shave off your beard.

1) Choose a Good Time.
Any time is appropriate for shaving a beard, right? Nope. If it’s been awhile since you’ve had a beard, the skin under the beard may be a bit lighter than the skin on the rest of your face. Nothing quite as embarrassing as showing up with the white silhouette of a beard on your face. Your skin may also be a bit more sensitive since it hasn’t been shaved in awhile. This can lead to razor burn or ingrown hairs. It’s best to shave the beard at the start of the weekend so you give your skin a few days to adapt and get some color. This will also give you a chance to get used to your new look before you reveal it to your friends and co-workers.

2) Buzz It Down.
Before you shave your beard, it’s best to mow it down as closely as possible with a beard trimmer or set of clippers. Trying to shave a full beard with a razor can be difficult and time consuming. If you don’t have a set of clippers, go have your local barber buzz it off for you. Better yet, take this opportunity to treat yourself to a professional shave and let the barber give you a full hot-lather face shave. This is certainly one of the best things a guy can do for himself and I recommend having it done frequently. Hey, women can get manicures, pedicures, and facials on a regular basis, so why can’t we treat ourselves to a little pampering once in awhile. Once you have the beard cut down nice and close, you can then shave it off using proper shaving techniques.

3) Shave.
It’s always best to shave at the end of a shower to soften the beard and open the pores. Use a high quality shaving cream and sharp razor. Lather the face and, using your free hand, stretch the skin tight. Shave carefully with the grain (the direction of the hair growth). Rinse the face and visually check for any rough spots -- if everything looks smooth, stop. If you need to touch up any spots, apply some additional lather and shave with the grain. Since it’s been awhile since you’ve shaved, avoid shaving against the grain and trying to get too close. Once you’ve finished, rinse the face with a splash of cool water to close the pores.

4) Moisturize.
This is critical even if you’re not shaving the beard. Always use a good after-shave moisturizer to promote healing and moisturize the skin. Using a moisturizer with a built-in SPF is also a great idea to help protect your skin from the sun.

The beauty of facial hair is that it is a quick and inexpensive way to change up your look and keep it fresh. If, after you’ve shaved your beard, you decide that you prefer a little facial hair, you can always grow your beard back. If you do, I recommend making sure you choose the right beard for your face shape and then grown something back that’s a little different than the beard you had. Take a look at our men’s facial hair galleries for some inspiration on your next venture into the world of the bearded.

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