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Should You Wet a Razor Before Shaving? 

In this article we answer the question "Should you wet your razor before shaving?" This is a common question for anyone new to wet shaving.

Quick Answer

You should wet your razor before shaving especially if it is a safety razor, a cutthroat, a disposable, or a cartridge razor. It is not necessary to wet an electric wet and dry shaver.

That is the simple and fast answer for those readers who don't have the time to read our full explanation. If you have a little longer then below we explain the importance of wetting the razor before shaving.

Wet shaving is of course a process where you wash the area to be shaved with hot water. For men this is usually the face, but the same applies to shaving any area of the body.

This process lifts the hairs and also softens them. You than apply a lubricant to the area to be shaved. This can be a soap, cream, gel or foam. This helps protect the skin from the blade, and also hydrates and nourishes the skin.

Finally you pick your chosen razor, and begin to shave.

wetting a razor before having a shave

Why Wet the Razor Before Shaving?

There are a few good reasons why wetting the razor before having a shave is just a great habit to develop. We have listed those below:

  • Helps make the razor glide over the skin
  • Removes any hairs caught there from the previous use
  • It is simply a good hygienic practise
  • Removes any tiny metal particles from a razor blade

We shall look at each one of these in a little more detail just below.

Razor Glide

This is the main reason that you should always wet the razor before shaving. If you think about a safety razor it is actually a very simple construction. The only part that comes into contact with your skin is the head of the razor.

That is an all metal construction consisting of the head of the razor and the blade. If that is dry it will tend to dig into or cut into the skin. However if it is wet, and comes into contact with the lather first, then that helps it glide easily over the skin, taking only the hairs with it and no skin.

The same rule applies to a straight razor that uses razor blades. For a straight razor with a fixed blade, it is of course important to keep that blade well honed, and wetting the blade before shaving will also make that very smooth on your face.

Most disposable razors and most cartridge razors use a mixture of metal blades and plastic spacers in their heads. It is even more important to keep that type of head wet before shaving. Ideally the metal blade should contact the hairs first, but depending on the angle of the razor, that plastic may also be in contact with the skin.

You want to make sure that plastic is wet. So after each pass of the razor, dip that into some hot water, and tap against the side of the sink to dislodge any lather and hairs, and re-wet the blade.

Old Hair Removal

When you use a disposable, a cartridge or a safety razor there are a couple of small areas between the blade and the head of the shaver. Hairs can get stuck in there quite easily.

It is worthwhile remembering though that a blade should be changed in a safety or cutthroat razor that uses razor blades every 5 shaves approximately. That in itself would prevent the risk of any old hairs clogging up the blades.

With disposable and cartridge razors, it is worthwhile cleaning the blades out by rinsing and tapping the razor to dislodge any old hairs.

wet shaving with a razor blade

Good Hygiene

Wetting and cleaning your razor is simply a good hygienic practise. You want to keep your razor as clean as possible to avoid getting any spots or rashes.

In addition to that, if you do happen to pick up the odd nick or cut, at least you know the blade that caused that is clean and will not affect the cut by contamination.

Rinsing the razor before and after use is the best practise and only takes a few seconds to do. It is worth doing this properly though as many guys simply do a couple of token taps against the side of the sink, and leave it at that.

We would recommend making sure the water is hot and then tapping it hard to make sure nothing is stuck in there. A quick look at the blades and between the blades is worth your time.

Metal Particles

Similar to the old hair problem, small pieces of metal do get stuck in the blade and head areas of any razor that uses a metal blade. These are very fine particles so hard to see with the naked eye.

Those particles are simply caused by friction, so it does no harm to pop the blade out when cleaning your razor and carefully rinsing all the parts under a hot tap, before reassembling the razor. At the end of the day this only takes a few seconds to have a clean razor.

Conclusion on Wetting the Razor Before Shaving

It just makes sense when you are having a "wet shave" to apply some water to the razor before using that blade to shave your face. It is all about protecting your skin with a good lather, and then removing that lather, along with the hair, for a nice clean shave.

Enda McLarnon


Thanks for visiting the Shaving Emporium website. This is a shaving website aimed at readers in the UK and Ireland. We have included lots of information about shaving and grooming, and we have also completed detailed research that helps us write our product reviews. We like to have our information as up to date as possible.

Enda McLarnon

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