Thinking about taking the plunge and shaving your head? Before attempting to go bare for the first time, you might want to consult your barber or stylist who can help determine if the style will work well with your face shape and show you the appropriate way to shave your head. You'll also want to determine beforehand whether you want to wet shave your head or merely clip it down to the skin with a good balding clipper. Allow a good half hour for the first shave. After a few days of shaving, you should have the routine down to five minutes or less.
Meet the Expert
Gretchen Friese is a BosleyMD Certified Trichologist and salon director of Foushee Salon Spa.
Once you've done this and are ready to proceed, the easy steps below will help you get the best result possible. We also spoke with certified trichologist Gretchen Friese to give us more tips on how to safely shave your head. Keep reading below for more tips!
Prep Your Skin and Hair
Prior to shaving, it's important to take the necessary steps to prep your hair and skin. A good tip is to shave your head at the end of a warm shower, which will help to soften the hair, clean the skin, and open the pores. During showering, rub a soapy washcloth with slight pressure against the growth pattern of the hair to lift the hair for easier shaving. Next, apply a shave cream like Duke Cannon Superior Shave Cream ($14) and allow to stand for a few minutes to further soften the hair. Stay away from gels or products that contain menthol, which will close the pores and desensitize the skin. You'll want to be able to feel the razor glide over your scalp. Never skimp on preparation, as this is vital to a good shave.
If this is your first time shaving your head, use a hair clipper with no guard to remove as much hair as possible and exfoliate the scalp with a facial scrub prior to shaving. Friese recommends using using a good set of clippers like the Wahl or Oster brands.
Shave Your Head
First, if you have long hair, Friese recommends to cut it first. "You want to make sure the hair isn’t too long. If it is more than approximately three inches long you will want to cut off some length first. Long hair can get caught in the clippers if you aren’t careful.
To begin shaving, use a clean, sharp razor (a three-blade razor works best) and start by shaving with the grain (the direction the hair grows). This will help minimize cuts, irritation, and ingrown hairs. Glide the razor gently down the sides and back, then from back to front on top. Avoid applying pressure, rinse the razor often, and take it slow. If this is your first time, do not shave against the grain for a few weeks to give your scalp time to adjust to being shaved.
After completing the shave, apply a small amount of lather to your hands and rub your entire head, checking for rough spots that need to be re-shaved. Pay special attention to the areas behind the ears and the back of the neck. If you cut yourself, apply a moist alum block like the Gentleman Jon Alum Block ($8) to stop the bleeding. Follow the shave with a splash of cool water to close the pores.
It is helpful to have a hand mirror available while shaving, so you can check your work from all angles and not miss anything. It's also important to shave in a room with bright lighting.
Repair and Protect Your Scalp
After shaving, Friese recommends to rinse the head well and apply an antimicrobial or after shave type product, like The Art of Shaving's Unscented After Shave Balm ($15).
We recommend the using products that are alcohol free, which can cause unnecessary drying of the skin. The right aftershave balm will help promote quicker healing and moisturize the skin. Before going out in the sun, apply sunscreen to prevent burning.
If you want to decrease the chances of scalp irritation after you've shaved Friese says, "Make sure you still clean the scalp just like you would when there was hair there. I recommend still using a shampoo like the Bosley BosRevive Non Color-Treated Hair Nourishing Shampoo ($42) because it is gentle enough and still cleansing. You want to think of your scalp as an extension of your face. Treat that skin well!