It’s very possible that you’ve never heard of a multi-pass shave, most people haven’t. A single pass shaving routine is usually the way you shave with a multi-blade cartridge razor.
However, a multi-pass or three pass shave (as its also known) is the best way to achieve a close clean shave. This happens by gradually reducing the hair using multiple controlled passes.
It can be used by both men and women to achieve a clean shave on areas such as the face, legs, armpits and other areas. Also, to be kind to your skin and the environment you should use a Safety Razor rather then a plastic disposable razor, click here to find out more.
There are many benefits to using the multi-pass technique including:
- A closer shave without irritating the skin.
- There is less possibly of receiving a nick or cut.
- Greatly reduces the chance of developing ingrown hairs.
The multi-pass technique involves shaving the hair using two or three passes:
- Pass 1 – Shave ‘with the grain’. Meaning in the direction of the hair growth.
- Pass 2 – Shave ‘across the grain’. Meaning just that, to shave across from one side to the other.
- Pass 3 – Shave ‘against the grain’. Meaning to shave in the opposite direction to what the hair grows.
(To make it easier these passes will be abbreviated to WTG, XTG & ATG)
To achieve the best results from a multi-pass shave, it is important to know the mapping of your hair. Generally the hair growth is down or as the compass points would put it, north to south. If your hair grows in several directions then the multi-pass technique will help to capture every hair.
- You start by shaving WTG, which generally is from North to South. You want to hold the blade at a 30 degree angle and use short stokes to reduce the risk of nicks and cuts.
- Shaving XTG involves shaving from East to West or vice-versa. This pass normally targets the stubble that remains after the first pass. For this pass you should hold the razor at a 15 degree angle for effective results.
- When shaving ATG you want to shave from South to North. This pass targets any hairs left by passes 1 & 2. Since this pass is aimed at removing the remaining stubbles, the blade should lie almost on the skin at a 5 degree angle.
Some people only use two passes, WTG and XTG. However, the third pass ATG, helps to offer a clean smooth finish.
Prepare your skin
First you need to prepare your skin by exfoliating. Over time you accumulate dead skin. Removing this layer of dead skin will result in a better shave. The best way to do this is in the shower using a scrub to remove any skin cells. Also the hot water will help to open the pores, making it easier to shave.
The two most important things to remember when using a safety razor are to maintain zero pressure and to hold the razor at the correct angle.
- Using a shaving soap applied ideally with a shaving brush (as it also helps to exfoliate the skin), lather up the area of skin you are going to shave.
You should hold the safety razor at the correct angle for which ever pass you are using.
- Shave using short, gentle strokes and little pressure. Instead, rely on the weight of the razor handle to do the work. Applying extra pressure will increase your chances of cutting yourself.
- When shaving around awkward areas like the knees/ankles or throat/chin, there can be more chance of nicking the skin. It is best to use short strokes and take your time.
- It is very important to not go over the same area more than once. After the first stroke the skin will no longer have any protection from a lather and going over the same area again will lead to irritation.
- To prevent hair or shaving soap building up on your razor, continuously clean and rinse the blade under running water.
- After shaving, wash the shaved area thoroughly with warm water to remove all traces of shaving soap.
When you have finished shaving, make sure you take the razor apart before thoroughly rinsing it. Then ensure you dry it well with a towel. It is important to remove all the moisture from the razor and blade but be careful not to cut yourself.
Try to store your safety razor in a dry place so it’s not exposed to moisture. If possible, you should remove it from your bathroom so the steam and humidity in the air don’t corrode the blade. However, if this isn’t possible you could always keep it in the bathroom cupboard.
If you used a shaving brush, be sure to rinse this out well and if possible hang it upside down as this is the best way to dry it. You should be sure to dry your brush out fully before storing it away in a cupboard to reduce the chance of mould growing on it.
You should always apply a moisturiser or lotion to your skin after shaving. This helps to keep your skin soft and hydrated.