How Do I Wet Shave?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2019
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To wet shave, wet the area you plan to shave and allow it to soak for several minutes. Despite the prevalence of modern dry shavers, many women often wet shave their legs, and quite a few men still prefer to wet shave their faces as well. Wet shaving reduces the risk of irritation, and prevents dry skin cells from dulling the razor.

Wet shaving provides a smooth, even shave when done correctly. Start by moistening the skin with warm water to soften the hairs. More is not better; soaking for an extended period of time will actually cause the skin to plump around the hair follicles, making it difficult to get a close shave.

Once the hairs have softened, continue the wet shave by spreading some shaving cream or hair conditioner on the area to be shaved. Next take a razor and begin shaving. For the closest wet shave, shave opposite the direction of hair shafts. Shaving in this manner does increase the risk of ingrown hairs, however, which develop when the hair curls back under the skin as it grows back. Individuals who tend to get ingrown hairs should shave with the direction of hair growth, the shave will not be as close, but it reduces the risk of this painful condition.


While shaving, it is important to run the razor across each section of skin one time. Continually passing the razor over the same sections of skin increases the risk of irritation, which can lead to unsightly red bumps and itchy skin. Rinse the skin off after shaving to remove any remaining shaving lotion.

Once the wet shave is complete, pat the skin dry to remove excess moisture. Smooth lotion over the skin to reduce the risk of irritation, and moisturize the skin. Individuals who are prone to ingrown hair may want to select a lotion that contains glycolic acid. Glycolic acid exfoliates the skin, reducing the risk of developing ingrown hairs.

A wet shave will provide a closer, smoother shave with less irritation than a dry shave, but there are other factors to take into consideration while shaving. A sharp, clean razor will provide better results than an older, dull razor. Extend the life of the razor by setting it upright so water can drain off the blades while not in use.

Irritation and redness can develop, even when using a sharp razor on softened skin and hair, and some people just have more sensitive skin than others. It may help to soak the razor in witch hazel or alcohol between uses, and store on the sink, rather than in the shower enclosure if irritation is a problem. The razor may be carrying bacteria that multiplies in the damp, moist environment of the shower area.


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