The Rise of the 3 Pass Shave

A modern double-edge safety razor.

A modern double-edge safety razor.

For years while I used a cartridge razor I would only make one pass while shaving: against the grain.  It was quick, it was simple, and it got the job done.

Since switching to a safety razor I have almost completely abandoned that method.  If I’m really rushing I might try it, but for day to day shaving I largely adopted a two pass method: lather, shave with the grain, lather again (with what remains on the brush), shave against the grain.

This has been my daily routine shave for months.  Starting in April, however, things began to change.  Right around the time I was testing the Feather blades I decided to try out using a three pass method, which I had seen numerous blogs and websites recommend. 

The method is simple: lather, shave with the grain (WTG), lather, shave across the grain at a right angle (XTG), lather, shave against the grain (ATG).  You can reload your brush for lathers, or you can just load it once if the soap will last you all three lathers.  When shaving across the grain, I start at the ear/sideburn and shave toward the nose, then work my way down the neck, leaving the mustache area for last.

It’s taken some getting used to, but it is slowly replacing my two pass method of shaving.  I still use two passes for most daily shaving, it saves a bit on time and gives a very nice shave.  But for special days, like Sundays, date night, etc, I’m using three passes almost exclusively.  It leaves my face just a bit smoother, gives a more even shave (perhaps simply because the extra pass is another chance to catch stray hairs), and the shave lasts noticeably longer. 

And if you’re enjoying shaving, it gives you a few more minutes before you start the day, something I won’t complain about!



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