against the grain

When you shave, do you move the razor downward or upward? The former is often referred to as “with the grain” while the latter is “against the grain.” In the movie Lethal Weapon 4, Roger Murtaugh tells his son that he should shave with the grain.

For me, shaving in this way results in almost no effect. If I’m not moving the razor (either electric or bladed) upward, the hair doesn’t come off. I’m curious about other people’s experiences with this.

By elyograg

Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy with the proof. -- J.K. Galbraith


  1. With the grain for me.

    It doesn’t get my skin completely smooth but it doesn’t leave any visible hair and I’m getting better at suppressing the obsessive-compulsive rationale of, I’m shaving and when finished should be f-ing shaved. When I shave with the grain my skin gets irritated, splotchy, and raw (never tried the electric). I tried sticking it out with the against-the-grain irritation when I first started shaving, thinking my skin would toughen up, but it never happened.

    If it’s been more than a couple days since I shaved last I usually have to preceed the exercise with a quick beard-trimmer-without-the-guard shave though.

  2. I shave with the grain to begin and then clean up against the grain. If I shave against the grain to start I usually get cut.

  3. I always shave with the grain as shaving against always results in cuts. On time, in high school, I tried shaving sideways, meaning moving the blads sideways just to see what would happen. What happens is that skin gets channeled between the blades and slices you nicely to or three times depending on the number of blades.

    I use an electric razor, myself, because I have mostly no facial hair. I have discovered, however, that if I don’t shave for several days, it is too painful to shave with a blade and I have to use the electric razor first, then follow up with a blade for that “baby bottom” smooth.

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