Last updated on November 29th, 2018 by Garrick Dee
What do Bruce Willis, Michael Jordan, Vin Diesel, Dwayne (the rock) Johnson and Jason Statham have in common?
All of them went to the bald look at one point in their lives and never looked back.
Perhaps you’re in the same boat. There are a myriad of reasons why you want to go bald. It could be the thinning hair or the growing bald spot or maybe the increasing hairline.
Whatever your reason, don’t worry, shaving it all off isn’t hard.
I’ll share with you some practical tips on how to shave your head using a razor.
My brother went the bald route because of his receding hair line that didn’t look good.
Having no hair on your mug also is low maintenance.
You don’t need to worry about dandruff or buy any shampoo.
Whatever your motivation here are some tips to get you started.
1. First things first, cut off all that hair
If you’re starting from scratch and have a full head of hair. You need to use an electric razor without the guard to trim off excess hair down to stubble.
The less hair left the better because this minimizes the chances of unsightly cut marks or skin irritation caused by razor burns.
Using a razor on a full head of hair isn’t recommended and can be dangerous – it could cause cuts or razor burns if you’re not experienced enough.
2. Prep, prep, prep – do not skip this step
In a lot of ways shaving scalp hair is similar to shaving facial hair so start off by prepping with a hot shower, as hot as you can bear it. Remember to give it a good scrub to remove any excess oil or dead skin that can clog the blades.
You could shave while showering but if you want the best results read along.
Pre-shave oil is essential
After drying the scalp, apply pre-shave oil on your head and massage it. This will add lubrication and help hair follicles stand up.
The next step is putting a hot towel on your head. Steam from hot towel will further soften hair which makes it easier to cut.
This lessens the chance of getting the dreaded razor burn and ingrown hair which causes a lot of discomfort and irritation.
Next step would be applying shaving cream on your scalp. This will add moisture and lubrication to both hair and skin that will help the blade “glide” over the scalp while minimizing the chances of cuts or irritation.
Dave Alexander, a hair expert from about.com recommends buying a cream that does not contain any menthol because this closes the pores and desensitizes the skin.
You’ll want to be able to “feel” the razor on your scalp.
Optional step: To help spread shaving cream evenly, use a shaving brush so that cream will coat every strand of hair evenly. This will help seal in moisture and warmth.
This step is crucial especially if you have curly or coarse hair because these types of hair are tougher to cut and more prone to ingrown hair and razor bumps.
3. Have the right tools
Always remember this – never shave your head with a dull razor! This is the perfect way to ruin your scalp with cuts and irritation.
Most will opt for a disposable razor because it’s cheap right off the shelf. But if you’re shaving often like every day or every other day, a safety razor might be more cost effective because refills won’t be as expensive.
Straight razors are for really hardcore shaving enthusiasts who know what they are doing.
4. It’s time to shave
After prepping your head and applying shaving cream it’s time to shave, another rule of thumb to remember when shaving hair off your scalp is to go with the grain.
Start by going with the grain
To go with the grain means to shave in the direction your hair is growing.
How do you determine that?
Well get a credit card or a piece of index card and rub it across your head.
If you feel a lot of resistance then that means you’re “going against the grain”. But if there is less friction and resistance that means you’re “going with the grain”.
Don’t use a disposable
If you ask hobbyists, using a multi-blade cartridge type razor (or disposable ones you buy in the grocery) is largely frowned upon because the multi blade system eat up too much of the skin.
This makes it more prone to ingrown hair and irritation. You can try it a few times and see your scalp reacts.
5. How to shave your head with a safety razor
Outside the straight razor, using a safety razor is the next cheapest option because double edge blades are so cheap.
However, the fixed head of a safety razor will pose some challenges if you’re a beginner. I suggest master the proper technique first on the face before shaving your head.
Watch this video to see how it’s done…
Some important points to remember
1. What you do before shaving is very important.
3. Leave shaving cream on one hand so you can re-apply on the go
4. Opt for a razor with a lot of knurling as this has better grip
5. Find the correct angle – that would be 30 degrees on most safety razors.
6. Start by going with the grain. Assuming you don’t have sensitive skin go across then against it.
7. Don’t apply pressure on the razor, let it glide and let the blade do the work
8. Use short, slow strokes and do not rush.
9. Never shave on bare skin, make sure to have some sort of lubrication.
10. If you have bumps on the head like a mole, apply extra shaving cream and go slowly or use a finger to cover so you’ll avoid that area
11. When shaving the back of the head, look down and try to stretch the skin with the off hand
6. Shaving with your head with a cartridge razor
Using a cartridge razor is the easiest way to get a nice close shave. In the video you’ll see below, a Gillette Fusion ProGlide was used. This is a nice option because of the pivoting head that’s quite flexible.
Having this features makes it easy to move the razor around even if around tough to shave areas like the ears.
Some takeaways from the video
1. Always start by wetting your head with hot water. You can either shower or just use hot tap water. Either way the goal of this is to hydrate hair so it’s easier for the blades to cut.
2. Apply shaving cream.
3. Use smooth, light strokes when shaving. Avoid applying too much pressure on the razor because it’ll just gauze the skin.
4. Rinse the blades often to prevent it from clogging up.
5. Pull your ear down when shaving near it.
6. Use the backhand grip when shaving behind your head.
7. Shaving with a straight razor
Do not use a straight razor if you do not have experience with it. Practice the proper technique on your face first before moving on the head. Failure to do this will result in lot of cuts and blood loss.
Here are some key takeaways
1. If you’re a beginner practice using a straight razor on your face first so you’ll get to practice the correct way of holding the blade.
2. Make sure the straight razor you buy is sharp because some factory-honed razors aren’t as sharp as they need to be.
3. One way around the sharpness issue is buying a shavette because you’ll know that every new blade you put in there is sharp. But the downside is it’ll be easier to cut yourself using a shavette because the blades are really sharp.
4. Use a light touch let the razor do the work.
5. First timers will have lots nicks and cuts, there is no way around it.
6. Always have a mirror on hand when shaving the back part of your head.
7. Make sure to hold the razor at a correct angle.
8. If you’re not comfortable – stop, it is a learning process.
9. Always start with a shallow angle. This means that the edge of the blade is almost parallel to the angle of your head. When you get used to it start adjusting the steepness if you feel the blade ins’t cutting. This lessens the risk of nicks.
Post-shave routine and protection
After shaving make sure to rinse your head to wash off all excess shaving cream. Always rinse with cold water to close the pores then pat dry with a clean towel.
In some salons/barbershops they’ll even put on a cold towel on your head which will help sooth any irritation or help close out cuts (if you happen to cut yourself).
The skin on our head is much more sensitive so make sure to apply some aftershave balm to re-hydrate and protect the scalp. Avoid products that contain alcohol because it will dry out the skin faster.
An optional step would be adding moisturizer if you have dry skin.
If you plan on going outdoors, don’t forget to put on sunscreen lotion to protect your scalp from sun burn and irritation. Remember that skin over here is much thinner particularly on the crown.
Have you tried shaving your head with a safety or straight razor? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below. Please do share your experience both good and bad.
Garrick spends his days researching and writing about grooming. When he’s not in front of his computer, you can find him hanging around with his wife and son.